Students discover ‘footprint’

first_imgIt takes a lot to outfit a Notre Dame student — clothes, electronics and other various school supplies. Ever wonder who made all of those things?   On Wednesday, ND8 hosted an event in the Dooley Room of LaFortune where students could look up their “slavery footprint,” an estimation of the number of modern-day slaves involved with the production of the items they use. This event was the second in a month-long series focusing on the problems of human trafficking and modern day slavery.   Sophomore John Gibbons, co-president of ND8, said the goal is to take a holistic look at the issues so the various aspects of these global problems are brought to the attention of a larger audience. “A fair amount of the population knows so little about these problems,” Gibbons said. “Our main goal is to raise awareness about them so that it inspires people to think about it more and what they can do to help.”   All of the groups involved were motivated by a desire to increase awareness of these issues, inspiring students to help those affected and giving those students ways to respond. Rosie McDowell, director of International Community Based Learning and Outreach at the CSC, said the Center’s focus in the series was to help student groups to collaborate in order to better address social issues through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching.   “One of the things we try to do at the Center is to encourage collaboration among student groups, and to give them support and resources to move forward with educational events about social issues for the campus and in the community,” McDowell said. The series kicked off on Nov. 3 with a showing of the Invisible Children documentary “Tony,” which documented the struggle to end the use of child soldiers by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.   The St. Mary’s Invisible Children club and the Notre Dame club Inspire were heavily involved in bringing the film screening to campus.   Olevia Boykin, president of Inspire, said Invisible Children contacted her over the summer about doing a screening of “Tony” on Notre Dame’s campus. “We paired up with the CSC to bring this event to Notre Dame, and Rosie McDowell thought that the Invisible Children event could be a part of a larger conversation on human trafficking and modern day slavery,” Boykin said. Senior Sarah Commiskey, president of the Invisible Children club at Saint Mary’s, also focused her efforts at showing this documentary on campus.   “I wanted to spread the word, just really to advocate for Invisible Children, and in the best case scenario, turn apathy into action,” Commiskey said.  “I want to really get people so fired up that they do something about it.” Sophomore Erin Hattler, co-president of ND8, said students can get involved in the cause by donating to organizations Catholic Relief Services and by pressuring lawmakers to enact legislation protecting victims and to not cut the budget allotted for international aid.   “The bill [the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011], originally passed in 2000, is currently making its way through the House and the Senate because it is due to expire at the end of this year,” she said. “We want to mobilize students to contact their representatives to encourage them to pass this bill.” Hattler said the bill provides crucial funding for programs aiding the victims of sexual trafficking, and is crucial in its ability to set the standard internationally for nations attempting to combat the problem. The goal of the groups involved with this series is not only to raise awareness, Gibbons said, but also to provide tangible ways for students to act.  “While we want to bring these harsh realities to life, at the same time we want to show that there are ways to work toward changing them,” he said. “We want to show people that there is hope and that there are ways to address these daunting problems.”last_img read more

HHS compromise leaves questions for University

first_imgThe revised contraception mandate, which shifts responsibility for funding contraception from religiously affiliated institutions to insurance companies, will apply to self-insured employers like Notre Dame, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last week. However, Notre Dame professors say the Obama administration has not specified how this exemption would work for institutions like the University. “The problem is that, it’s not clear how this compromise is going to be handled for firms that self-insure, which are the majority of large firms,” economics professor William Evans said. Law professor Carter Snead called last week’s announcement a “vague, unenforceable promise.” “[The Obama administration] promised to try to ‘work it out’ for self-insurers,” Snead said. “No elaboration.” University Spokesman Dennis Brown said finding a solution for self-insured employers is among the “unresolved” issues University President Fr. John Jenkins and other religious leaders are working with the Obama administration to sort out. Evans said it would not be financially feasible for Notre Dame to buy health insurance from a provider as a way for the University to not directly fund contraception. “I think the costs would be prohibitive,” Evans said. “If it were a cost-efficient way to be providing health insurance, they’d be doing it right now and they’re not.” Evans said most large firms self-insure so risks are spread out among a large pool of employees. “It is a lot cheaper for them to be their own insurance company than to pay someone else,” he said. “You want a large risk pool. If you have some fairly high expenses, that’s going to be averaged out by people who have low expenses.” Brown said it would be “feasible, but very expensive” for Notre Dame to switch from self-insurance to an outside insurance company, adding this option was a “moot point” based on Sebelius’ announcement last week. Though the University is self-insured, Notre Dame works with Meritain Health, a third-party administrator that processes insurance claims and provides administrative services to the University. Donna Hofmeister, director of marketing for Meritain, said the company is “still evaluating” if and how the latest policy changes will affect Meritain. However, she said if the law requires Meritain to pay for contraception for Notre Dame employees, the company plans to do so. “We intend to fully comply with any obligations that result from this change,” she said. As it stands, Evans said the Obama administration has not figured out how to accommodate religiously affiliated employers that self-insure. “I have no idea what their path is going to be and how to get out of this box,” he said. “There is no easy solution to this.”last_img read more

Experts address candidates’ health care plans

first_imgAlthough the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this summer, the debate over the future of American health care continues to be a major issue, especially as the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election could potentially change the trajectory set by the ACA. If President Barack Obama wins reelection, he will focus on the implementation of fundamental elements of the ACA beginning in 2014, including affordable insurance exchanges and a significant expansion of Medicaid, according to Dr. Aaron Carroll, the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. But Jim Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of “Why Obamacare is Wrong for America,” said the ACA will lead the country down the road to ineffective, expensive health care reform due to a large-scale centralization of power by the federal government, a move Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney opposes. “It’s indisputable that the main aim of the ACA is to use the federal government’s regulatory, taxing and spending authority to reshape the health care system and move massive amounts of political power out of the hands of employers and private citizens and states to the federal government,” he said. “The government is now in the driver’s seat of the health care system … where it can direct what people do in terms of health care.” Capretta said he thinks that shift in power could prove treacherous in its future consequences. “Anyone who’s worked around the political process knows that things like this have a certain inevitable trajectory. First of all, bureaucracies never cede power,” he said. “Once power is moved to the federal government, it will only expand over time. “The federal government is a one-size-fits-all structure that doesn’t have the authority to be nimble in managing a big enterprise like the health care system, and it will dictate terms … that don’t recognize the diverse nature of the country and very different views on quality health care.” Rather than dictating every health care decision Americans make, Carroll said the ACA sets a standard of universal coverage and gives people options to expand that coverage if desired. “The idea that the federal government is taking over everything is a bit overblown in the sense that they’re just setting baselines. They’re absolutely not saying, ‘You can’t get this or that coverage.’ They’re just saying, ‘You can’t have less coverage than this,’” Carroll said. “Individual states can do as much as they like above that baseline.” In terms of state power in health care reform, Capretta said decentralizing power from the federal government to state governments, as Romney has proposed, would promote freedom of choice among consumers and help strengthen the market for private health care. “Romney wants to push the health care system towards a market-driven approach instead of centralizing power at the federal level and do so in a way where the federal and state governments oversee the marketplace, ensure that it operates fairly on behalf of consumers and then try to empower people to make choices for themselves,” he said. More specifically, the issue of entitlement reform has come into heavy questioning in the context of increased government influence on the health care system. “Throughout the campaign, Romney has signaled that he will take entitlement reform very seriously as president,” Capretta said. “Obama has signaled that he doesn’t want to make structural changes to either of the major health entitlement programs, so there’s a big difference between the two candidates in this regard.” But Carroll said Obama actually prioritized Medicare and Medicaid reform in the ACA. Although Medicare often takes the national spotlight in presidential and other political debates, Carroll said the differences in the two candidates’ policies on Medicaid are actually “much sharper,” with Obama and the ACA stipulating a “massive expansion” of Medicaid to include 16 million additional people beginning in 2014 and Romney proposing to change Medicaid into a block grant program that provides funds to states to pay for care. “[The block grant program] saves money by severely restricting how quickly the size of the block grant goes up. A low cap will be set, so the amount of money spent on Medicaid under Romney will be much lower than otherwise predicted,” Carroll said. “Unless there’s some magic, that means there will have to be fewer people covered or the benefits will be far less.” Critics of the ACA often point to the Medicaid expansion as a huge drain on government and taxpayer resources, but Carroll said the program’s insurance plans cost less per person than providing subsidies to people to buy private insurance. “If it was cheaper to give people subsidies, that’s what the ACA would have done because no one wants to spend more than they need to on care,” he said. “The reason we have Medicaid is because certain groups of people can’t afford private insurance.” Contrary to the common perception of Medicaid beneficiaries as people who choose not to work, Carroll said the program mostly covers the most vulnerable Americans who are generally unable to work: children, pregnant women, the elderly, the blind and the disabled. “It’s not as if they’re people who should be working and are not. They’re people who can’t work for some reason, so insurance is incredibly expensive for them,” he said. “The amount of Medicaid funds spent on the blind and the disabled is huge, much higher than what’s spent on kids, and private insurance would cost a fortune because anyone rating them would see that their care is vastly more expensive than the average person.” Thus, considering Medicaid funding cuts or a repeal of the program’s expansion under the ACA brings up a fundamental ethical question, Carroll said. “If you’re thinking about cutting Medicaid severely, you have to ask yourself which of those groups you think should be working harder,” he said. “Which should be getting off their butts and earning more money and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps?” Although critics may view Obamacare and its call for expanded coverage as a violation of individual decision-making in health care, Carroll said the problems in the American health care system are not individualized. “It’s logically consistent to take the libertarian view and say everybody makes individual choices about health care,” Carroll said. “But the problem arises when people get sick, go to the emergency room and are charged for care they can’t afford. When people can’t pay, the rest of society has to pick up the bill. It’s not individualized, and eventually we’re all responsible for the millions of dollars in uncompensated care that gets spread out among people.” More than shared responsibility, Capretta said the American health care system needs an injection of free-market sensibility to operate more efficiently. “What’s needed most in health care is the discipline that comes from a functioning marketplace, a point Romney made in the first debate,” Capretta said. “That doesn’t mean the discipline from market forces can’t also be coupled with a proposal that provides relatively stable and relatively universal insurance.” Based on the example of uncompensated care being paid for by taxpayers, Carroll said he is not convinced of the power of free-market economics to solve the country’s health care reform issues. “You can let the free market try to take care of [health care reform], but it doesn’t work, and the same argument can be made for states,” Carroll said. “States have been free to act on health care reform – Massachusetts did several years ago – but the vast majority of states are not controlling this problem, so when the problem isn’t controlled, the public has to pick up the bill, and that’s when government often steps in.” On both sides of the political spectrum, Carroll said, the power of the free market and the private insurance system has certain limitations. “Because [Americans] will eventually take care of [uncompensated care], the next-best solution is to get people into the government health system because it’s not being controlled by market forces,” he said. “Even the right will acknowledge that the government should step in when the free market and private insurance can’t or won’t get the job done.” Romney has come under fire for not specifying what he would do after threatening to repeal the entire ACA if elected, but Capretta said the lack of a detailed plan creates flexibility. “Obviously, Romney’s plan is more of a vision than a detailed legislative proposal at this point, and I don’t discount the notion that a lot of details are being left out. But I think his broad vision is relatively clear,” he said. “His framework leaves lots of room for some details to be filled in later.” But Carroll said the alternative to the ACA might not be as perfect as Romney may consider his theory to be. “It’s not as if you have the choice between the ACA and some awesome free market utopia,” he said. “It’s the ACA or what we had before, which wasn’t working and hasn’t been working for a long time.”last_img read more

ND Glee Club tours internationally over fall break

first_imgThe Glee Club took its talents on tour this fall break when they performed in two concerts in Michigan, two in western New York and one in Toronto. The all-male a capella group will also give its annual fall concert Friday at 8 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Stuart Streit, a sophomore member of Glee Club, said the concert in Rochester, New York, was his favorite of the five performances. “A huge crowd turned out for [the Rochester concert], and I thought we had done a really good job,” Streit said. “It was one of our first times off-book, which means we weren’t reading our music while singing, which led us to engage the audience a little bit more and keep our eyes on our director, which led to us singing better.” Streit said the wide range of music in the group’s concert repertoire contributed to the tour’s success. “We had some Canadian folk songs and a lot from our regular repertoire, so a lot of spirituals, some sacred music, [and] we had some Russian and German songs on this one,” he said. In addition to the Fall Tour, the group performs during spring break and travels internationally every other year, junior and Glee Club secretary Michael Shakour said. The club gives brief concerts on football weekends at the reflecting pool in front of Hesburgh Library, and it also performs longer concerts on campus.   “We perform … main concerts [four times] a year: fall, three at Christmas, spring and then a commencement concert,” Shakour said. “We’ll perform anything from classical music to spiritual to jazz. … Anything that has the words ‘Notre Dame’ in it we’ll sing. “We perform at least once a year with generally an orchestra and another singing group around campus or at Saint Mary’s.” Senior and Glee Club vice president Tim Kenney said the fall concert program will contain much of the same music the group performed on its recent tour. “In addition [to the tour music], for our second half we’ll have a couple small groups.” Kenney said. “There’s one quartet that a couple of the guys organized, … and then the Undertones do a set. “It’s a lot of fun. We’ve all spent a lot of time working on the music, been working on it the entire semester so far, put in a lot of rehearsal hours. It’s a really strong set of music that’s going to be really well-done.” Though the Glee Club has a vigorous, four-days-a-week practice schedule, Kenney said the singers don’t mind because they’re like a family now. “The community has been really exciting and really just wonderful,” Kenney said. “It’s such a tight-knit group of guys. We really do consider ourselves a brothership. Being able to have that close of interaction … having 80 best friends on campus, it’s really just awesome.” tThe Glee Clubssells CDs,at,and at the Hammes Notre Dame bookstore. CDs will also bedavailable at Friday’s concert, which costs $10 for general admission, $6 for seniors and $5 for students. Contact Emma Borne at [email protected]last_img read more

Best Buddies hosts fashion show

first_imgThe Notre Dame Best Buddies club, a club serving people with intellectual disabilities, will host a fashion show as part of Disabilities Awareness Month on Wednesday in Legends.“The event is meant to gain awareness for disabilities, but is also just a fun night,” President of Best Buddies and senior Kelly Keenan said. “Our buddies are people in South Bend who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the event will be a chance for them to get dressed up and have fun.”The fashion show is part of a yearly initiative formed several yearsw ago on campus by Notre Dame graduate Soeren Palumbo to end the use of the R-word.  This year, Best Buddies is collaborating with Special Olympics and the Super Sibs club to hold the event, Keenan said.“The [fashion] show was a vision of another member of Best Buddies,” she said. “She had a friend on campus that is a Vineyard Vines representative, so they are supplying our men’s clothing. A boutique in Granger, Ind., called Sorella is supplying the women’s clothing, and we also have clothing from adidas and Dress Barn.”Keenan said planning the show has been an organizational process.“When we knew we wanted to hold a fashion show, we spoke to Legends because they had done fashion shows before, so they already had the whole event set up for us,” Keenan said. “There has also been a lot of communication to find clothing to borrow.”Keenan said she hopes the event will open the eyes of the Notre Dame community to disabilities.“The main thing we would love is to get a lot of people there and show them what disabilities awareness is really about,” Keenan said. “We want to show the Notre Dame community what this is all about and what our three clubs do.”In addition to the fashion show, members of the Best Buddies club will be in the LaFortune Student Center, North and South dining halls and the Hesburgh Library on Wednesday as part of a pledge campaign.“We will station ourselves around campus to gather pledges to end the hateful use of the R-word,” Keenan said.Keenan said an important component of the event is to make sure everyone has a good time.“Our buddies are so excited about walking the runway in awesome clothes,” Keenan said. “We want to make it a fun event for everyone involved.”Contact Katie McCarty at   [email protected]: best buddies, disabilities awareness, fashion show, NDlast_img read more

GreeND hosts marchers for climate action

first_imgIn conjunction with the arrival of forty marchers, who stopped at Notre Dame on Saturday as part of the Great March for Climate Action, GreeND hosted a panel discussion and film screening in the Hesburgh Auditorium.Garrett Blad, president of GreeND, said the movie, titled “Disruption,” was great in describing the history and science of climate change.“It really goes into the interconnectedness of the issue and how the People’s Climate March is really trying to get a broad array of groups involved,” he said.Following the screening of the film, two professors and one marcher discussed the short- and long-term implications of climate change.“The film is very impressive, in the historical sweep of the view that it’s giving and looking back at previous attempts to engage issues that can really be so punishing … as well as the attention to the emotional component and how they kind of mobilize the grassroots here to build towards a global movement, which leads to an impressive intersectional approach,” sociology and peace studies professor Ann Mische said.Saint Mary’s political science professor Sonalini Sapra organized a screening of “Disruption” last week at the College in preparation for this week’s event.“The focus on not just a climate treaty, but a just climate treaty is really something the documentary seems to emphasize,” she said. “And so what does a just climate treaty look like? Who gets to be part of those conversations? I mean, I know that India and China, their leaders, have already said they are not going to come to the climate meetings on Sept. 23 that [United Nations Secretary General] Ban Ki-Moon has organized. So one of my questions is what would a just climate treaty even really look like?”The Great March for Climate Action began in March, when forty people from all over the United States left Los Angeles, hoping to arrive in Washington, D.C. by November 1st.“One of the reasons I’m doing this, and I think we’re all doing this, is because climate change really is one of the largest issues facing our world today,” marcher Jimmy Betts said.Born in South Korea and raised in Nebraska, Betts has walked with the march since it started in Los Angeles and was included as one of the speakers on the panel.“This is a huge mobilization that will officially last,” he said. “But the real work is going to come after the march. That’s where all this uniting is going to really come to this political will, this power that we essentially created, and we have to take it.”All of the marchers shared the similar sentiment of an increasingly pressing need for climate change reform.“We have to do this as a collective society, it can’t just be two outspoken environmental organizations, that’s way too narrow,” he said. “It affects far more people than just environmentalists, but unfortunately that’s sort of how it’s been polarized in the past.”Tags: Climate change, climate treaty, Disruption, environment, Great March for Climate Action, GreeND, People’s Climate March, reformlast_img read more

ND, ESPN deliver oral arguments in Indiana Supreme Court

first_imgThe Supreme Court of Indiana heard arguments from attorneys representing Notre Dame and ESPN on Tuesday, the latest development in an ongoing case hinging on the status of Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) as a public or private agency.Like police departments across the state, NDSP responds to, investigates, interrogates and arrests individuals for crimes such as robbery, rape and assault, ESPN attorney Maggie Smith said, according to an audio recording of the oral arguments available on the Indiana Judicial Branch’s website.Lindsey Meyers “But unlike all the other police departments in the state, including those at public universities, Notre Dame wants to keep all the records of their police department secret and insulated from the public accountability that all of the other police departments in the state have,” Smith said.Notre Dame attorney Peter Rusthoven said when examining the “plain and ordinary” language of Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA), the law applies only to governmental agencies and departments.“There is not a single reference to anything other than public’s right to know what their elected representatives and agencies do,” Rusthoven said. “And whatever else Notre Dame may be, it is not the elected representatives of government.”ESPN filed the lawsuit against the University in January 2015 after NDSP refused to release incident reports related to student-athletes on two separate occasions.The St. Joseph County Superior Court issued a ruling in Notre Dame’s favor in April 2015. After ESPN appealed the decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s ruling in March 2016.Since October 2014, two state officials — Public Access Counselor Luke Britt and Attorney General Greg Zoeller — have said they believe Notre Dame to be subject to APRA.Both attorneys discussed Indiana House Bill 1022, a bill to change the public record requirements for private universities, that was vetoed by Gov. Mike Pence last March. The bill would have required police departments at private colleges and universities to only release information about incidents that result in arrests or incarcerations, exempting a large number of the cases that occur on college campuses.“I think this court has to look at that as an express recognition by the legislature that the existing law — which governs this dispute — did not do what Notre Dame wanted it to do,” Smith said. “It had to come in and change the law to accomplish what they wanted.”The law would not have affected the case in question, Smith added, for it would only apply to future incidences.Rusthoven argued that when the legislature wants to say something, it knows how to say it clearly, noting that no additional attempts at legislation have been made to address the issue.“This has been out there for a long time,” he said. “If the legislature wants to change it, they have to do it.”The Indiana Supreme Court granted Notre Dame’s appeal on June 30, agreeing to hear the case. There is no schedule for when the decision will be announced.last_img read more

University prepares for Notre Dame Day fundraiser

first_imgThe University will host Olympians, Super Bowl champions and two members of the “Hamilton” Chicago Company — in addition to other notable guests — this weekend as part of the fourth annual Notre Dame Day, which will take place Sunday and Monday.The event — a 29-hour fundraiser for almost every aspect of student life at Notre Dame, including residence halls, student groups and financial aid — gives community members who donate to the University the opportunity to cast votes to determine how money raised through Notre Dame Day will be distributed. Michael Yu | The Observer A Notre Dame Day team member speaks during the 29-hour live broadcast during the 2016 Notre Dame Day. Last year’s event broke a fundraising record with 21,478 gifts contributed throughout the day.For the first minimum $10 gift to the University community members make through Notre Dame Day, they receive five votes to cast for whichever registered area of the University they choose. With each subsequent minimum $10 gift, community members will receive one vote. Pablo Martinez, program director of Notre Dame Day, and member of the class of 2011, said this strategy — which was implemented in the event’s second year — allows every person who donates to make a significant impact on the University.“Notre Dame Day is different in that it allows anyone to have the same impact,” he said. “So even if you make a $1,000 gift on Notre Dame Day, you only get five votes — unless you decide to divvy up that $1,000 gift into multiple gifts. So the $10 gifts prove just as valuable in terms of the votes you get, and how you get to say who gets the Challenge Fund and who comes out on top at the end of the leaderboard. It’s equitable in that way.”The recipient of the Challenge Fund is determined by the percentage of votes a certain organization receives, tracked by the Notre Dame Day leaderboard. Community members receive updates about the leaderboard standings throughout a live broadcast taped in the LaFortune Student Center. Martinez said this broadcast ensures Notre Dame Day includes every member of the community in some way.“Notre Dame Day kind of divides out into two things,” he said. “It’s a celebration for all of our alumni, parents and friends. They celebrate by watching the broadcast and giving to and voting for what they love the most. But for students, it’s an opportunity for them to take advantage of, one, a little bit of extra funding, but also showcase the amazing work that they’re doing.”Students have responded so well to this opportunity, Martinez said, that the Notre Dame Day team is adding a Facebook Live stream to the event in order to accommodate more interviews with students.“We can usually fit about … 200 spotlights of students and interviews and stories, but the demand was so high that we decided to shift over to Facebook Live and have that as another option,” he said. “So what you see on the broadcast for 29 hours will be its own content, and then we’re going to have unique content that will accommodate all sorts of student groups to come in and talk about what they’re doing — or what they need funding for — during our Facebook Live segments. And that will all air on the Proud to be ND Facebook page.”Martinez is happy to see students respond to Notre Dame Day in an increasingly engaging manner, and said the Notre Dame Day team has come up with additional ways of including the student body this year, such as a Notre Dame Day Snapchat filter.“We’ve also gotten better at involving students,” he said. “I think the first year we did this we had like 500 groups, the next year we had 600, last year we had 800 [and] this year we had — when I first grabbed the list, there were like 940.”The limited availability for interview spots during the broadcast is largely due to the enthusiastic response from University alumni, something associate director of student philanthropy and 2015 graduate Ellen Roof said is valuable when reaching out to guests for the broadcast.“It’s a pretty good spot to be in,” she said. “ … [Often] you think of a backup option being less good, but here we’re never in that scenario because everyone we invite has a really compelling story and such a passion for Notre Dame that the way they say it and what they bring to the broadcast is really awesome. So it is great to know that we’re going to have phenomenal guests no matter what.”This involvement is possible, Martinez said, thanks to the hard work that goes into producing the broadcast each year.“The fact that [NBC News correspondent and member of the class of 1979] Anne Thompson was invited the very first year and she came in from New York to do this, and then was [so] blown away that she was like, ‘sign me up every year’ … just shows how people want to be involved,” he said. “ … But then even the local community that we bring in — and they do all the broadcasts for us, and they do a lot of the anchoring and interviews — they’re just blown away by the way that we set everything up and the way everything works.”Notre Dame Day also provides students with valuable experience in fundraising for various causes with the help of the University, Roof said.“I think it’s pretty great,” she said. “ … We’re pretty much saying this is your time for your campaign, these are some of the best practices that we can kind of highlight for you and help you as you’re thinking through what you want to tell the alumni and parents and friends, and what you want this money for, and everything like that.”As Notre Dame Day’s tagline emphasizes, Martinez said, the ultimate goal of the event is to ensure that “every gift counts, every vote matters and every student benefits.”“When I’m able to meet with students, I always tell them this is a chance for you guys to maximize your resources and tell people what you do at the University,” he said. “ … I think we do a really good job of that with Notre Dame Day.”Tags: Fundraising Campaign, Notre Dame Day, Notre Dame Day 2017last_img read more

Student-built ‘Mustrd’ app simplifies informal gatherings between students

first_imgThomas Murphy | The Observer Sophomore John Kling interacts with the ‘Mustrd’ app. Designed by a Notre Dame computer science major, the app has received almost 500 downloads since its initial release on the App Store on March 8.While the idea for Mustrd drew from other existing social media apps, Dingens added Mustrd is really designed to fill a need for organization for a certain kind of specifically casual event that other apps fail to effectively address.“I was just really frustrated with the way that current social organization works on a moral casual level,” he said. “Obviously, you have Facebook events, but those are for birthday parties or even just party parties. I don’t really know what else Facebook events are used for, honestly. Leggings protests? Dorm events? Not getting dinner or rock climbing with a group of friends or bowling off-campus.”Nate Myklebust, a senior at the University of Wisconsin who worked with Dingens as the app’s designer, said in an email that central to Mustrd’s purpose is a informality rooted in cultural and social norms.“[We] wanted to harness the low commitment, casualness of everyday social events and empower people to easily organize them on the fly,” Myklebust said. “It’s supposed to be casual and simple, but also organized and therefore empowering.”Mustrd is not Dingens’ first attempt at creating an app, however, as he said he worked on a similar project during his junior year.“I actually created a version of this application last year and it was really bad,” he said. “ … That was before I had any professional iOS development experience, and luckily just randomly my internship this summer they placed me on an iOS team application and so I got professional experience developing iPhone apps.”It was also at this internship where Dingens first met and began working on projects with Myklebust, Dingens said.“I recruited [Myklebust] because he and I were on the same project over the summer,” Dingens said. “He’s very much a design stickler, which I really like about him, and he thinks beyond just colors and shapes, more to the user experience, and he’s helped me incorporate design thinking into my app.”With Dingens programming the app and Myklebust designing features of the user interface, the project slowly evolved into Mustrd. Dingens said that despite his background as a computer science major, much of his early work on the project was spent studying and learning how to design an application for iOS.“The process for me has been very much learning intensive and reading intensive,” Dingens said. “ … I have been the only one developing this application, so I’m the only one who’s ever touched any of the code. I saw it go from a blank screen to where it is now.”While designing the app, Dingens reached out to his friends to help test beta versions of Mustrd. One such friend was senior Moira Griffith, who said the release of Mustrd marks a milestone in Dingens’ long process of building the app.“I feel like it’s been a multiple year process of him showing us different versions of it to test out what works best or what we thought would be the most successful thing,” Griffith said. “ … I don’t think I ever recognized how official it was going to get, I thought it was just his creative little side project that he was exploring, but I’m sure he always had a goal in mind.”Another friend called on to help test Mustrd was senior Sarah Stillpass, who said Mustrd is especially remarkable considering it was built while Dingens also had to deal with the work of a college student.“You don’t expect when you’re a full-time student to have enough time to make a full-blown app on the side and he just made it,” Stillpass said. “There’s no school project associated with it or anything which makes it that much more impressive.”While working on Mustrd, Dingens said he designed the app to differentiate itself from other social media platforms in the way it acts as an impetus for in-person social interaction rather than a replacement.“I hate social media and I think technology is really bad for us as a society, and so this is also a way to remedy that for myself because one of the reasons why I like this app is the endgame is not the app itself,” Dingens said. “You look at Facebook and their endgame is your feed, they want you on the app and that’s a success for them when you’re scrolling. But for me, success with the app is the physical community of people that come together because of the app and not the app itself.”Even the design of the application is geared towards personal interactions, Myklebust said.“Our focus with the UI is always on simplicity and ease of us,” he said. “Our goal with the app isn’t that users are stuck in it for hours, but rather quickly reference it from time to time for planning and connecting sake.”Now, less than a month after the initial launch and only two weeks after Dingens began publicizing the app, Mustrd has received nearly 500 downloads on the App Store. Dingens said the more people use the app, the more they come to appreciate its usefulness.“The response is pretty awesome,” Dingens said. “A lot of people don’t really understand the need for it at first, but then once they use it and understand the differences are subtle and more cultural than functional, they’ve really enjoyed it.”Dingens’ work on Mustrd over the course of his time at Notre Dame reveals an intellectual and creative curiosity that should be encouraged on college campuses, Griffith said.“Seeing people actually take advantage of the time and resources that they have at school is really incredible in a lot of ways, and I think that it should be promoted at a lot of schools and celebrated because he is doing something that is pretty unique,” Griffith said. “He’s taking advantage of what Notre Dame has to offer to support him in that, and I think that is something that people shouldn’t be afraid to do and take risks and exploring their potential.”Tags: App Store, apps, Computer science, design, Mustrd, social media, technology From the fog of social media, group chats and phone notifications, a new app called “Mustrd” has recently gained visibility on Notre Dame’s campus. Created by senior Kevin Dingens and first released on March 9, the app has been building momentum since bright-yellow Mustrd merchandise first appeared at student parties, bars and across social media two weekends ago.Dingens said Mustrd may not seem unique on its surface, but a closer look reveals how the app fills the need for casual event planning with friends.“Mustrd is just another social media app, which doesn’t sound very exciting, but essentially what makes it different is its event-based group chats,” Dingens said. “ … My quick elevator pitch is that it optimizes casual social gatherings using spontaneous event-based group chats.”A combination of GroupMe, Snapchat and Facebook, Mustrd puts a time, location, description and an invite list on a group chat that disappears when the event ends. Each of these social media platforms had a hand an inspiring Mustrd, Dingens said.“I kind of got the idea for this from a giant GroupMe that I have that has existed since my freshmen year. We essentially post who wants to go to dinner, sand volleyball, anyone driving back to Chicago, that kind of thing,” Dingens said. “It worked well, but I just thought that it was a really inefficient way of organizing casual events.”last_img read more

Rape reported on Notre Dame campus

first_imgA rape was reported to the University Title IX Office, according to Wednesday’s University crime log.According to the crime log, the alleged rape happened before March 1, 2019 and was reported Tuesday. While the alleged incident happened on campus, the precise location is unknown.Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault are available online from the NDPD and Title IX office websites.Tags: crime log, rape, Title IX Officelast_img