According to Darrell Paulsen, Campus Ministry assistant director of retreats and national programs, Rebuilding Together needs about 500 students to refurbish 25 homes in the Marquette Park area of South Bend. “At the end of the day, I saw a retired gentleman, must have been in his 70’s, out watering his flowers that just got planted on a cold, sunny afternoon,” Paulsen said. “The pride that they can take in their homes after this is an amazing transformation to watch.” Paulsen also recognized positive responses from homeowners. The annual effort is part of Rebuilding Together — a non-profit partnership of volunteers from local businesses, government and other non-profits organizations. The project, which will take place April 17, will revitalize homes and neighborhoods across the county, the organization’s Web site said. Through donations, the project collects the necessary construction tools and stores them in a warehouse provided by the City of South Bend. Notre Dame Catering will also be offering food for volunteers throughout the day. Rebuilding Together selects an area to offer its assistance based on income levels, ages within the population and other available data. Students can sign up for the event via Campus Ministry’s Web site. The event will last from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. According to Paulsen’s estimates, homes previously valued at $30,000 are now worth $90,000 following improvements by Rebuilding Together. “All students need to do is show up wearing work clothes and dress for the weather and everything else is provided,” Paulsen said. For Paulsen, students enjoy interactions with homeowners during the one-day event. Hundreds of Notre Dame students will put on their work clothes to paint and landscape local homes in April. “Students who have done this in the past love having conversations with the homeowners and seeing the great humility of having someone come into your home and work on it and also the great joy that it gives them at the end of the day,” Paulsen said. The week before students and non-skilled volunteers participate in the project, carpenters, plumbers and other skilled laborers make repairs at no cost to the homeowner. Paulsen said the need fluctuates depending on involvement from Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Indiana University-South Bend campuses. This year will see greater participation from Notre Dame’s athletic teams, including men’s and women’s fencing, swimming and diving, cheerleading and men’s golf.
The Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir will conclude its spring tour where it began, on the College’s campus tonight at 7:30 p.m., in the Church of Loretto. Dr. Nancy Menk, director of the Women’s Choir, said the group is made up of 41 students. Sophomore Claire Stewart said the group enjoys performing for an audience, which pushes them through the physical demands of singing and touring. “We love to perform,” Stewart said. “We live for that intimate interaction with the audience. It brings us tremendous joy and keeps us going through sickness, exhaustion and sore vocal chords.” Stewart said the songs in tonight’s concert will span a variety of genres and even languages. “We sing in four languages – English, Latin, Spanish and Korean, and the songs are about everything from war to spiritual Gospel messages to heartbreak,” she said. “So, no matter what style of music you like, we are bound to sing something that you’ll enjoy.” The group’s performance tonight will feature choral music by both American and international composers, including Spain’s Eva Ugalde, Korea’s Tae Kyun Ham and Americans Guy Forbes and Gwyneth Walker, Menk said. Menk said the choir recently returned from a tour of the southeastern United States, traveling to Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville and Atlanta, and finishing the trip in Fort Lauderdale. The group visited various female high school and church choirs and also performed its tour songs for these choirs, she said. Sophomore Nia Parillo said after traveling around the Southeast, she is glad the choir will be singing for the Saint Mary’s campus and the South Bend community. “Since we were able to show people across the country all of our hard work and how dedicated we are to our talents, we would love to show the students, the staff, and the families of our community what the choir is all about,” Parillo said. “Music means a lot to all of us, and it would be awesome if we could share that with others right here in South Bend.” Parillo said she could tell they became role-models in the eyes of the girls they visited. “We were seen as role models for the girls we visited, and it was a great feeling to know that you may have changed a girl’s life by furthering her interest in women’s choirs and music in general. All of the choirs welcomed us with open arms, and it was an amazing experience,” Parillo said. The choir stayed with host families during the tour, many of which had Saint Mary’s College alumnae or Notre Dame alumni among them, Menk said. She said the choir members enjoyed sharing stories of their college experiences, especially their experiences with the choir. Freshman Nina Martinez said the trip was full of music and brought the group closer together. “The trip was a non-stop adventure,” Martinez said. “Whether we were on the bus belting out the latest hits from ‘Pitch Perfect’ or serenading the audiences with our sentimental a cappella arrangement of the Irish Blessing, our mutual love of music brought us closer together with each other, with our audiences and with the host families.” Menk said the group visited the headquarters of CNN, the Florida Everglades, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Derby Museum. The choir began rehearsing their tour songs in the beginning of the fall semester, Menk said. Stewart said after the tour they reached a point where they knew their songs backward and forward. Parillo said because of the year-long rehearsals, she and other choir members who were abroad in the fall had to work hard to catch up with the rest of the group when they returned in January. “Some of the women, like myself, were abroad last semester, so we had to put in extra hours of work to make sure the songs were ready for performances,” she said. Parillo said the group as a whole was pleased with its tour performances. “We are very proud of the results of all of our hard-work and especially thankful for Dr. Menk’s dedication to making sure our songs are spotless,” she said. The Saint Mary’s College Bellacappella group will also perform at the concert, Menk said. Bellacappella is a smaller group than the Women’s Choir and the only a cappella group at Saint Mary’s. Menk said tickets for Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students are free with a College or University ID, and tickets for both faculty and staff are discounted.
Carolyn Hutyra | The Observer Acclaimed author, critic and poet Margaret Atwood delivered the 2014 Yusko Ward-Phillips lecture “We Are What We Tell: Stories As Human” on Wednesday evening in McKenna Hall.The lecture was sponsored by the Yusko Endowment for Excellence in English, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Provost’s Distinguished Women Lecture Series, the Department of American Studies, the Ph.D. in Literature Program, the College of Science’s Minor in Sustainability, the Gender Studies Program and the English Department.Although always subject to the interpretation of the reader, writing is a transmission device that allows a voice to carry through time and space, Atwood said.“The next time somebody asks you why you write, the short answer is, ‘Because I’m human,’” she said. “All humans are storytellers by nature. Writers who write stories down are story transmitters as well as storytellers.”These stories can be a source of instruction or entertainment, Atwood said.“Do nothing but entertain, and it’s a one-time read, soon discarded at the beach,” she said. “But do nothing but instruct and you will annoy most readers very quickly.”Atwood said stories are understood in two senses, in the first sense as a true and factual account.“Sense two – what Huckleberry Finn called a stretcher, what your mother may have meant when she warned you not to tell stories – that is, a tell that is more than somewhat decorated, which may extend all the way to the palpable non-truth,” she said. “The second kind of story comes in two forms, an outright whopper meant to deceive or a fiction labeled as such on the outside of the book, thus a license to lie.”Readers understand that a work of fiction isn’t true, but they enter into the work anyway if the writer is skilled, Atwood said. This is where novelists specialize.“There is a caveat,” she said. “In our ironic modern age, those writing autobiographies and memoirs are routinely suspected of making things up, whereas novelists are thought to be telling scandalous truths about themselves or others disguised by fake names.“We are the stories we tell, we have told and have written. … And yes, the stories we write, write us in their turn,” she said. “And we are also the stories that are told about us, and eventually not much more.“But writing down a story is always a gesture of hope. Why? Because you are assuming there will be someone alive who will be interested in it and who will read it later in time. That’s a truly hopeful thing.”Tags: Margaret Atwood, Yusko Ward-Phillips lecture
Assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University Paromita Sanyal spoke to an audience packed in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies on Tuesday afternoon in a lecture entitled “Credit to Capabilities: Microcredit through a Sociological Lens.” The lecture centered on Sanyal’s sociological research on the microcredit industry, which provides minimal loans to impoverished people, and its impact on women in developing nations.“Economists and anthropologists have already produced a great amount of literature on this subject, but sociology can help ask and answer a whole new host of questions” Sanyal said. “Microcredit, if you look at it sociologically, is a paradox of continuity and change.”Sociology can help determine the mechanism by which women are given agency, academic jargon for control, by the microcredit and loan process, Sanyal said. Specifically, she investigated whether women are empowered by the purely financial consequences of microloans or if the effect of association in microcredit groups leads to greater female agency.“SHGs, or self help groups, are a group-based lending model and the focus of my research” Sanyal said. “The components of SHGs include membership of between 10 and 20 people, weekly meetings and peer assessment and monitoring.”In conducting her research, Sanyal interviewed 400 female members of various SHGs in West Bengal, India.“I found that 49 percent of them gained agency by mechanisms of association, 9 percent via financial mechanisms and 42 percent gained no agency” Sanyal said.In order for financial mechanisms to increase agency, a number of preconditions must be met, including that the recipient women must maintain sole control over the loans, live in nuclear households and have husbands with weak incomes, Sanyal said.“The preconditions for success of associational mechanism are face-to-face group meetings, regular participation and strong leadership,” she said. “… Suppressing factors are household structure, cultural ideology within the community and rigid masculinity.”Sanyal said many social benefits spring from increased agency for women.“Civic participation, collective action, awareness, physical mobility and domestic power all follow from agency,” Sanyal said.Sanyal also noted a growing dichotomy in the microcredit industry between commercialized and philanthropic microloans.“Commercialized microcredit has run away from the SHG structure by treating women as individual clients with less group meetings and consequently less associational benefits,” Sanyal said.“Entrepreneurship and bargaining work for a negligible minority … but associational mechanisms are the predominant pathway to women’s agency,” she said. “Microcredit in this way can be a preventative policy for descents into poverty.”Tags: civics, International Development, Kellogg Institute, lecture, microcredit
Annie Smierciak| The Observer Students sign up for club email lists at the activities night. The event, which was sponsored by the Student Activities Office featured over 450 clubs.Already-established groups hope to attract students by presenting the best opportunities their groups have to offer. Senior and co-captain of Notre Dame men’s boxing Patrick Lawler said the group intentionally brought two students who have traveled to Bangladesh to experience the service aspect of the group at the event.“We have two guys here who actually went on the [international summer service learning] trip to Bangladesh, so we’re really trying to put our best foot forward to let the guys who are interested in the club know what we’re trying to do, and what we actually do,” Lawler said.In addition to student clubs and organizations on campus, Devon Sanchez-Ossorio, assistant director of student activities, said SAO invites other campus partners to speak to students at activities night.“There are community partners, as well as campus partners, that we do have, that we invite as well,” he said. “So there are a few tables that we dedicate strictly to those groups so that we can utilize the student base that we have to do good within our community, as well as on our campus.”For some of these partners, disseminating information can be just as valuable as raising membership can be for clubs, senior Tommy Yemc — who represented the Career Center at activities night — said.“We’re one of the campus partners, so we are here really just as a knowledge resource — we’re not an activity, per se,” he said. “We don’t have sign-up sheets, we don’t have people sign up for our services. We’re more of an informative experience for mostly freshman, because mostly freshman come to this thing. … We talk about what we do, we talk about all the different services we offer as the Career Center.”Sedlacek said the event opens students up to groups they may not have considered prior to encountering their tables at activities night. “It’s kind of essential for us, because although we are affiliated with [Film, Television and Theatre], we want our club to be open to all majors and all grades,” she said. “ … So we’re hoping that this event will kind of appeal to people.”Tags: Activities Night, clubs, Student Activities Office Over 450 student clubs, organizations and campus partners gathered in the Notre Dame Stadium concourse Tuesday night to offer new students the opportunity to become more involved in activities on and off campus.Activities night, an annual event hosted by the Student Activities Office (SAO), is a chance for old groups to recruit new members and new clubs to inform students about the organization. Senior Emily Sedlacek, co-president of the Media Industry Club, said she was excited to use the event as a forum to advertise her new club.“This is our first official time at the activities fair, so it’s exciting for us to be here and kind of share our new club mission with Notre Dame students,” Sedlacek said.
Rev. Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, will be the keynote speaker at a March 2018 conference, according to a University press release.The conference, titled “Cultures of Formation: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” is sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life. It will focus on the the themes of the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: youth, the Catholic faith and discernment. The Synod will take place in Rome in October 2018.The conference will take place from March 5–7, 2018 and the cost is $125. Those interested in attending can register by visiting icl.nd.edu/synod.Tags: Bishop Robert Barron, McGrath Institute for Church Life, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
With the launch of two electric transportation products, LimeBike is taking the legwork out of biking. On Feb. 12, the company rolled out the Lime-E, an electric-assist bike, and the Lime-S, an electric scooter.According to LimeBike’s website, both the bike and scooter have 250-watt motors that power each product forward and cost $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute to ride. This is more expensive than the standard LimeBikes currently populating Notre Dame and South Bend, which are $1 per 30 minutes for the general public and $0.50 per 30 minutes for those who sign up with a .edu email address.The Lime-S and the Lime-E can each reach speeds of up to 14.8 miles per hour, the LimeBike website states, and the Lime-E’s motor alters the bike’s speed depending on how much force the rider applies to the pedals.The Lime-E formally launched with 500 units in Seattle on Feb. 12, which LimeBike touted on their website as the “largest fleet of electric-assist bikes in the country,” and is now — along with the Lime-S — also available in some of LimeBike’s Bay Area markets.LimeBike has made its other cities aware of their new products, LimeBike spokesperson Emma Green said, and is exploring where they will bring their electric offerings next.“We’re in almost 50 markets now with our normal LimeBikes, so we’re looking at those cities as well as new cities to launch,” Green said.When asked about the possibility of LimeBike scooters coming to Notre Dame, however, University spokesperson Dennis Brown said in an email “there is no plan for scooters on campus.”“It’s very much up in the air,” Green said. “We’ve been in conversation with Notre Dame and South Bend about our new models, and that includes Lime-E and Lime-S, definitely making sure that they’re aware, but as of right now we just don’t have any updates of when they would be on campus.”Although a specific date for the Lime-E and Lime-S to arrive in South Bend has not been set, South Bend operations manager Nathan Hasse said as with the regular pedal bikes, local LimeBike operations teams will monitor individual scooters and electric-assist bikes to ensure that they are maintained and parked appropriately.“We patrol, and every bike is touched on a daily or bi-daily basis by our specialists,” Hasse said.According to the LimeBike website, the Lime-E can travel 62 miles before its battery runs out and the Lime-S has a maximum range of 37 miles. LimeBike operations teams can monitor the charge level of each unit, and Hasse said they aim to get to each bike and recharge it before the battery can run out in the middle of a ride.Hasse said South Bend residents should call LimeBike if they notice a pedal bike that is in need of maintenance.“We always try to ask the public for help,” Hasse said. “If they do notice one that we haven’t noticed, just make sure to call and let us know and we’ll get to it right away.”Tags: Electric scooter, electric-assist bike, Lime-E, Lime-S, LimeBike
University President Fr. John Jenkins released a statement Friday condemning South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s decision to veto a measure that would allow for the construction of a Women’s Care Center facility near a proposed Whole Women’s Health Alliance clinic in South Bend.“The Women’s Care Center, on whose board I serve, gives women in crisis the support they need for themselves and their babies before and after birth,” Jenkins said in the statement. “It doesn’t engage in political advocacy, but provides compassionate, non-judgmental loving care to women most in need. I am saddened by Mayor Buttigieg’s decision to veto a bill that would have allowed the Women’s Care Center to build a facility near one that seeks to provide abortions.“The mayor’s decision excludes an important presence from that neighborhood and thwarts plans that had met the criteria for rezoning and had been approved by the Common Council. Far from enhancing the harmony of the neighborhood, it divides our community and diminishes opportunities for vulnerable women to have a real choice. The mayor is a talented and dedicated public servant with whom I have worked closely to serve our community, but I am deeply disappointed by his decision.” Tags: fr. jenkins, Fr. John Jenkins, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Whole Women’s Health Alliance, Women’s Care Center
Saint Mary’s acts as a blank canvas for many students to make their marks on the world. For College alumna Nancy Murphy Spicer, this took on a more literal meaning. Following her graduation in 1979, Murphy Spicer embarked on a career in modern art, leading to her speak at Vander Vennet Theater on Monday afternoon.Originally, Murphy Spicer said her work was mostly abstract, but when she got her mid-career Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she focused on portraiture. Murphy Spicer said she found inspiration for most of her new series “The New Brag” from the Instagram accounts of the people she knows.“These are images that the subjects, in most cases, have constructed themselves. I have encountered them and felt the desire to bring them into the realm of painting,” she said.A majority of the portraits in her most recent series feature women. She focused on representation and honoring the women who influenced her while she was at Saint Mary’s and after, she said.“I have been trying to create my own art history and genealogy ever since I was in a lot of art history classes,” Murphy Spicer said. “You will learn about a lot of male artists. I found it hard to imagine myself into being an artist.”Murphy Spicer displayed a picture of her finished master’s studio. She noted a piece of writing in the right-hand corner of the artwork and explained how a moment at the College influenced the piece.“[The writing] comes from a letter my father wrote me while I was a senior here at Saint Mary’s saying, ‘I’m concerned for your economic viability.’ I was like, ‘What is he talking about? Oh, he’s worried. He’s worried I’m going to be broke,’” Murphy Spicer said.She said this concern from her father may have been warranted, but Murphy Spicer went on to sell and show her artwork across the globe in places such as the Carroll and Sons gallery in Boston, RAUMX in London and 18m Salon in Berlin.She not only commented on the origins and nature of her work but also her views on the pursuit of art. She discussed her accomplishments in order to reinforce the idea that art can be a social enterprise.“I really do think that this idea of the lone artist, let’s just get rid of that, you really are always trying to do so many different things, and I can remember that I went through a whole phase before I had children, ‘Is having children going to destroy my art life?’ That is a big question for women,” Murphy Spicer said. “After I had my daughters, I had this language that they are like rocks tied around my feet and wings on my back. I could not live without them.”Both of Murphy Spicer’s daughter, who are now adults, are featured in her latest work.Murphy Spicer said she changed the focus and motivation of her work while in graduate school, which she attended as an already-accomplished artist.“I was in a good grove,” Murphy Spicer said. “I obviously thought I knew what I was doing, but I wanted that to be disrupted, so I went to graduate school. One of my first professors threw me off, she said, ‘Make it literal, make it clunky and tell the story of your life.’ I just wanted to vomit.”This change caused her work to become more literal both visually and in meaning as it became focused on figure instead of shape and color, she said. Murphy Spicer cited her involvement in the 2016 Clinton campaign as a form of motivation for her more recent artistic work.“It took a couple years for me to work my way into this work. The work also resides in a very specific cultural moment,” Murphy Spicer said. “While this work was going on, there were daily news reports that are a constant reminder of the profound rape culture that we live in. I just felt like I had to make something to help myself survive and remind me that we have power that we can stand in our power.”Later in the lecture, Murphy Spicer shared another piece of her inspiration — a poem speaking of using art to create an escape from the world.“I really needed to create a world that somehow had more possibilities in it than the world I was,” she said.Murphy Spicer will be displaying her work at Saint Mary’s as a part of her class reunion in June.Tags: Art, artist lecture, Nancy Murphy Spicer, Saint Mary’s alumna
Courtesy of Julie Tourtillotte SMC students, Zoe Ricker and Elizabeth Polstra, visit Zolla-Lieberman Gallery in Chicago.Weaver was responsible for coordinating the trip this year, and connected with Wilson through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they both worked in the painting department.In an email, Weaver said the trip is sponsored by the Lucille R. Griffin Memorial Fund.“The fund was established in 2007 by her husband, John B. Griffin, in memory of his wife, Lucy, who was an alumna in the art department,” Weaver said in the email. The fund allows students to experience the arts in action and look into art as a career.Weaver said there were other advantages to the trip.“The trip allows those at Saint Mary’s who participate to have cultural experiences that go beyond simply viewing art,” Weaver said in the email. “The participants explore the city, its neighborhoods, its variety of food, its residents and its character. They have interactions with diverse communities and people, and grow culturally.”First year student Anna Volpe went on the trip because she hoped to see what the people at the three sites had to say, she said.“This gallery is owned and was started by two Saint Mary’s alumnae,” Volpe said in an email. “When we first arrived, we walked around the current artist show on our own and then afterwards talked with these two alumnae. It was pretty cool to hear that two art students followed their dream and opened up their own gallery where they get to host other amazing artists.”Textile artist Anne Wilson was a source of inspiration for the members of the trip, and students were also invited into Wilson’s home studio. Volpe said Wilson spoke about her own work as an artist and her journey.“The biggest piece of advice that Anne said that stood out to me was to keep going, keep pushing forward as an artist,” Volpe said in the email. “Some people may not believe in your career path, but as long as you know for certain that you want to become an artist, that’s all that matters.”Tags: anne wilson, Art Department, saint mary’s art department, Saint Mary’s College The Saint Mary’s art department recently sponsored their biannual trip to Chicago for students, faculty and any and all art lovers willing to pay $25. The trip consisted of a trip to Chicago, a visit to visual artist Anne Wilson’s studio in Evanston, Illinois, a tour of an alternative exhibition space — which this year is ZG Galleries — and a more traditional exhibition space. Participants were also given time to explore the city and suburbs.This year, the art department focused on the far North Shore area, consisting of Evanston, Edgewater and Roger’s Park, Ian Weaver, assistant professor in the art department and director of the Moreau Art Gallery, said.