Month: January 2021

Border Angels founder draws large audience

first_img“When the Minutemen came to California in July of 2005, we planned actions against them to shut them down and we were successful,” Morones said. “We try to be an example with Border Angels.” Morones told stories of people who tried to cross the border but were unsuccessful because of this wall and other conditions. He said we do not hear about these deaths in the media. “Racist groups are very dangerous and these people have taken an issue with immigration. It is troubling,” Morones said. Border Angels was founded in 1986. The organization consists of volunteers who seek to stop unnecessary deaths of individuals traveling through areas located near the United States and Mexican border.  “Operation Gate Keeper built a wall between the United States and Mexico, and that wall has led to the death of thousands of people,” Morones said. “There have been 10,000 people who have died since Operation Gate Keeper.” A high percentage of deaths resulted from extreme heat and cold weather conditions, Morones said. Some were also due to racial discrimination crimes, he said. Border Angels has worked hard to stop the hate crimes committed by the Minutemen and other racist groups, Morones said.center_img Morones discussed the Minutemen, a group of citizens who see themselves as protecting this country from illegal immigration, but Morones said they are a racist group that has committed hate crimes for years. A large crowd gathered to hear Enrique Morones, activist and founder of the non-profit organization Border Angels, examine human rights Tuesday at Vander Vennet Theatre at Saint Mary’s.Morones discussed immigration reform and legal options for future immigrant workers. He looked at border control in the United States and talked about the history of Border Angels, a non-profit organization that supports humane treatment of immigrants and Operation Gate Keeper, a border security operation established in 1994. Morones said he believes the United States needs immigration reform in order to provide more legal options for future immigrants. “We can all name who replaced Paula Abdul on American Idol and who won the gold medal and who won the Academy Award, but none of you can name any of these people who have died,” Morones said. “If you are passionate about an issue, you need to do something about it. Ordinary people can do amazing things,” Morones said. “I would like the wall to come down, and it will come down in my lifetime. We want a pathway to legalization.”last_img read more

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Professor researches historic St. Nick

first_imgDuring the Christmas season, Fr. Nicholas Ayo’s expertise on Saint Nicholas, the man from whom the legend of Santa Claus originated, is especially relevant. Ayo, professor emeritus in the Program of Liberal Studies, published a book in 2006 titled “Saint Nicholas in America: Christmas Holy Day and Holiday.” “I got invested after I was fully grown — age 30,” Ayo said of his interest in the saint. “I started collecting stories and pictures. There’s a lot of lore out there.” That lore appears to be matched by a similar amount of devotion. According to Ayo, Saint Nicholas is second only to the Virgin Mary as the most popular namesake for churches worldwide, and is an especially popular patron in Eastern Europe and Russia.  Saint Nicholas lived as a bishop in Myra, which is present-day Southern Turkey, during the fourth century, Ayo said. Ruins of a church for Saint Nicholas have been found in this area, as well as several early churches in Constantinople. Ayo said the tradition of referring to Saint Nicholas as Santa Claus began in New York. Dutch Protestants in New York referred to Saint Nicholas as “Sinter Klaas,” which became “Santa Claus” over the years.  Clement Clarke Moore, the son of an Episcopalian bishop in New York City, wrote the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” on an envelope for his children, Ayo said. A guest staying in their home found the poem and submitted it to a newspaper in Troy, N.Y. Ayo said the poem immortalized the iconic American image of Santa Claus as a jolly old man dressed in red and bearing a sack of gifts. The idea of Santa Claus coming only to those people who are good does not fit with Saint Nicholas’ own spirit of giving, Ayo said. “Saint Nicholas’ generosity was meant to serve as a reminder that your family loves you, the Church loves you, no matter who you are or what you have done,” he said. There are many legends about Saint Nicholas’ generous spirit, but Ayo said his favorite involves a father who could not afford dowries for his three daughters. Each night for three nights, a bag of gold was thrown down his chimney. On the third night, the father went outside to find the giver and found Saint Nicholas, who was bishop at the time. Wanting his good works to remain anonymous, Saint Nicholas made the father promise to tell no one it had been him. These stories circulated in oral tradition for centuries before they were recorded, Ayo said. For this reason, they maintain imaginative tones. “These are wonderful legends, almost fairy tales nobody knows,” Ayo said. Because of these stories, Ayo said researching Saint Nicholas is enjoyable. “Legends tell you what the human heart wants,” Ayo said. “Santa Claus tells you what children and families want, and that is gratuitous giving. The story of Saint Nicholas tells you the way humans’ hearts are made, and what their needs are. For that reason, I hope we never lose it.”last_img read more

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Applicants face toughest competition

first_imgHigh school students applying to become the newest members of the Notre Dame Class of 2015 faced the stiffest admissions competition ever, according to Don Bishop, associate vice president for Undergraduate Admissions. “This will be the most selective year in the University’s history,” he said. “It is likely we will admit no more than 25 percent of our highly talented applicant pool.” Bishop said the early applicant pool was up 24 percent from last year, with 5,294 early action applications received. He said roughly 1,950 students were admitted, at a 37 percent acceptance rate, down from last year’s 42 percent acceptance rate. Bishop said the early action acceptance rate is higher than the expected rate of admission because of the high quality of students who applied for early admission. “Our admission rate for early applicants is higher because it is a higher ability [group] that has applied,” he said. “We encourage the higher ability students to feel comfortable applying.” Bishop said the University makes it clear to applicants that only the strongest students should be utilizing the early action program due to its earlier evaluation period. “Our philosophy on early action is we encourage students who feel their academic record is as high as it is going to get. They are ready to be evaluated,” he said. “Generally we suggest to students that if they feel they are a close call for admission to not apply early.” Bishop said the University is looking for these higher quality students in the early admission process. “It is our goal to admit students who are above the profile, but to defer students who may gain admission in the regular action pool,” he said. Bishop said the University is also cautious in the number of students they admit early so as to not take away spots from strong applicants in the regular decision process. “We have to hold enough positions open so the regular action pool has all the spots available to be fair to all the applicants. We have no interest in admitting too many students early and then having to tell higher ability students we ran out of spots,” he said. “We are always more careful in early action.” Bishop said part of the challenge of the admissions process is to find students who are not only talented, but also a good match for Notre Dame. “What we are looking for is not only the most impressive profile but the most impressive people that fit the Notre Dame mission,” he said. “We are looking for students who have already distinguished themselves with a unique set of skills that combined with a Notre Dame education we believe will produce tremendously productive and creative graduates.” Bishop said the numbers for the overall applicant pool, including regular decision, is up 14 percent with roughly 16,500 applicants. He said this increase compares strongly with universities across the country. “The highly selective schools that reported gains in early action applications as a group were up by about half the increased of Notre Dame’s reported gain,” Bishop said. In processing applications, Bishop said he has noticed one of the University’s strengths is the diverse location of the applicant pool. “If you look at the regional distribution, I think Notre Dame can be identified as the most selective highly national university,” he said. “We have probably the broadest national mix of students. We are not dominated by one single region. I think that is an important attribute of Notre Dame.” Bishop said of the applications processed so far this year, 23 percent are from the East Coast, 12 percent from the South, 33 percent from the Midwest, 25 percent from the West, Southwest and Mountain West, and seven percent are students living outside of the United States. Director of Admissions Bob Mundy said the amount of students visiting the school from across the country has been a strong indicator of the increase in applications. He said visitor numbers are up 10 percent for the year. “That’s usually a pretty healthy indicator because students who visit have a two-thirds application rate,” Mundy said. “That is a significant figure.” In addition to visiting students, Mundy said one other explanation for the increase in applications is found in the increase in travels of University counselors. “We have traveled more. We had a couple of our counselors out in November, which was highly unusual for us,” he said. “Coming back from travel, they have commented on larger crowds at high schools and information nights.” Mundy said one of the strongest causes for increased applications has been an increase on the University’s behalf in conveying the strengths of the Notre Dame experience to potential applicants. “From the point of inquiry to the point of application I think we have been much better at thoughtfully messaging them about student life at Notre Dame, academic opportunities at Notre Dame,” he said.last_img read more

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In the Company of the Poor launches at ND

first_imgA standing-room-only crowd attended Tuesday evening’s book launch for “In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez,” which focuses on liberation theology and the experiences of these famous figures.  The event, in the McKenna Hall Auditorium, centered on a discussion between Farmer, Gutiérrez, Orbis Books Editor-In-Chief Robert Ellsberg and Ophelia Dahl, cofounder (with Farmer) of the non-profit global health organization Partners in Health. The event was also streamed live over the Internet to dozens of college campuses nationwide through the work of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies.  University President Fr. John Jenkins, who wrote the introduction to the book, introduced Farmer and Gutiérrez at the event, praising their work and their dedication to a “preferential option for the poor.” “Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo are men of rare hope and generosity whose example inspires the prayer and work of thousands worldwide,” Jenkins said. “One is a physician animated by a powerful understanding of God’s relationship to the most vulnerable among us; the other, a priest and scholar whose intense spiritual journey and devotion to the poor began in childhood. They are both healers, doctors of body and soul.” Fr. Jenkins also said Gutiérrez, a professor in the theology department, is “the father of liberation theology.” The book itself came about as a result of conversations between Farmer and Gutiérrez when Farmer visited Notre Dame, though their friendship dates back to the 1980s when they met while Farmer was working in Peru.  “This has been a profoundly positive experience writing this book with Fr. Gustavo … and it began right here at Notre Dame,” Farmer said.  Farmer said Gutiérrez provided Farmer him with the inspiration to enter into the field of social justice medicine.  “[Gutiérrez] has been a wellspring of inspiration all before I met him. As I said the last time I was [at Notre Dame], you don’t have to be friends with Fr. Gustavo … to read him,” Farmer said.  Ellsberg, editor-in-chief for the publishing company behind the book, also said Gutiérrez inspired him.  “It was really the death of Oscar Romero in 1980 that turned my attention to Latin America and the fact that something extraordinary was happening down there,” Ellsberg said. “I decided to go to Latin America and it was there where I first read [Gutiérrez’s book] ‘A Theology of Liberation’ and it absolutely blew my mind.” Dahl, the daughter of famed author Roald Dahl, said the book reflected the work she and Farmer have done with Partners in Health, where she still serves as executive director.  “The partnership that it took to create this book is echoed and amplified by so many other partnerships that [Partners in Health] have been able to be a part of, including the students here,” Dahl said.  Farmer addressed the issue of disease and illness in poor communities when asked about Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by a current Notre Dame student.  “All diseases that affect the poor are neglected,” Farmer said.  Farmer said his advice to students is to take advantage of the potential mentors around them.  “When you have teachers or spiritual masters or guides around you … seize the opportunity. Learn from them by talking to them … and by reading what they write,” he said. Steve Reifenberg, executive director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, concluded the event by quoting a statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu about the book.  “Rarely have two such distinctive and complementary voices been raised together with more heartwarming and instructive results than here in ‘In the Company of the Poor,’” he said. “This book is erudite, fresh and even witty. It draws in a lovely way on a deep friendship between a physician and a theologian.” Contact Jack Rooney at [email protected]last_img read more

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Novelist shares experiences as Catholic writer

first_imgNovelist Ron Hansen gave a lecture entitled “Seeing into the Middle of Things: On Being a Catholic Writer” sponsored by Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism on Friday.Hansen is an author of eight novels, including “A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion” and “Exiles,” as well as three short story collections, according to Cushwa Center’s webpage.“What I appreciate about Catholicism is it means ‘universal,’” Hansen said. “It embraces lots of different subjects. … Catholicism, because of the analogical imagination, sees God operating in all lives.”In describing the ability of a writer to see “into the middle of things,” Hansen referenced the journals and poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, specifically the famous hymn to creation, “Pied Beauty.”“Seeing gave rise to feeling, and closely observed were actualities [that] gave rise to religious emotion,” Hansen said.Hopkins saw the world so acutely that “even a falcon rocking and hovering over its prey could remind [Hopkins] of Christ,” Hansen said.“In variation, complexity and juxtapositions, Hopkins finds in the natural world declarations of the infinite extent of God’s glorious, imaginative activity,” he said.Hansen said relation and reciprocity are key features of all contacts with the arts and involve three steps.“We view or read or hear and our first step is generally acceptance, welcoming any presence of beauty, willing to be moved, hoping for the best,” he said.The second theory of relation involves evaluation, Hansen said, in the sense that early humans conjured decisions on the basis of hunger and fear, to determine if what they saw was food or a predator and if they should fight it or flee.“There’s still a vital presence of friend or foe in our encounter,” he said. “But now we are judging whether it dangerously opposes our values and attitudes or is just something we can comfortably ignore, walk away from.”Now, such discriminations are calmer but no less effective, Hansen said.“The third step is often that of self-inquiry, examination of conscious if you will,” he said. “… Sensing, that is intelligent sensing, is always transactional.”The gift of fiction, poetry, memoir and all the arts is to let us see others in the most unprotected moments, Hansen said. Those moments may then cultivate under “our watchful and caring eyes.”“We are co-creators of the works of art we view or hear or read,” he said.These works of art are intertwined with our lives, Hansen said.“The gift of the arts, whether narrative or representative, is that they overlook our lives just as God does, giving us the same stabilizing sense of overview,” he said.The spirit of God is constantly working to see its reflection in the Church, Hansen said, both in the joys and sorrows of all of our quotidian lives.“Our continuing goal ought to be that we become truth tellers and truth seekers, to attend to and confront the world honestly and unblinkingly, celebrating the beauty of creation, but not shying from its chaos, distortion and sin,” he said.Tags: American Catholicism, Christ, Cushwa Center, Exiles, Hopkins, Ron Hansen, seeing into the middle of thingslast_img read more

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Bookstore partners with Center for the Homeless

first_imgThe Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and the South Bend Center for the Homeless have joined forces to raise funds and awareness for the Center through the newly implemented SOCK Out Homelessness Campaign.The campaign, which began Oct. 3, receives a portion of the proceeds from each pair of Notre Dame Under Armour socks sold at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Hammes Bookstore and Cafe on Eddy Street, Leep Varsity Shop, DelleIce Irish Hockey Shop, Stadiums Shops, Notre Dame Bookstore of Chicago and NDCatalog.com, according to a press release from the Bookstore.Emily Danaher | The Observer “For every pair of socks sold before the end of football season, a dollar will be donated to the South Bend Center for the Homeless,” David Werda, director of Notre Dame retail operations, said.  “So right now we’re holding out hope that this campaign lasts until Jan. 12, when Notre Dame is playing in the championship.”Customers have the additional option to donate purchased socks directly to the Center for the Homeless in bins located inside the Bookstore.“You sometimes take a pair of socks for granted,” Taya Groover, chief developmental officer at the South Bend Center for the Homeless, said. “However, a lot of our guests come in and may not have a pair or are in desperate need of a replacement. It all helps.”Saturday, the Bookstore hosted The Ultimate Tailgate, featuring a wide variety of games and contests, to help raise awareness about the SOCK Out Homelessness Campaign. Over the course of the weekend, 319 pairs of socks were purchased and donated to the Center.Caitlin Kinser, marketing manager for Notre Dame retail operations, said the SOCK Out Homelessness Campaign helps to unify the campus community.“We’re really excited about this opportunity because it allows the entire Notre Dame community to get involved,” she said. “Each individual who purchases a single pair of socks is contributing to the effort.”Werda said the main goal of the campaign is to bring aid and awareness to the South Bend Center for the Homeless.“The Bookstore and the Center for the Homeless have a longstanding relationship,” he said. “We have the desire to give back to the campus community. This seemed like a great way to draw attention to a great cause.”The South Bend Center for the Homeless is in its 25th year of service. Groover said as the weather gets colder, the Center increases its number of residents.“Ultimately, we’re just thankful for everyone who is coming together to help sock out homelessness,” Groover said.  “It’s incredible to see the positive relationship Notre Dame has not just with the Center, but with the community as a whole.”Tags: Bookstore, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, socks, South Bend Center for the Homeless, Under Armourlast_img read more

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Lecture highlights struggles in North Korea

first_imgLiberty in North Korea (LiNK), a grassroots nonprofit that works to improve the lives of North Korean refugees, described the situation inside North Korea as one of the “greatest challenges facing humanity today” during a lecture at Carey Auditorium on Sunday.LiNK representative Kirsten Pulles said in addition to refugee assistance, the nonprofit also hopes to change society’s idea of what is going on inside the country and how they can help.“I’m sure for some of you, when I say North Korea, some of the first things that naturally pop into your head are scary weapons, scary dictators with even scarier haircuts, and movies [like The Interview that] you’re scared to watch with your family in the room,” Pulles said. “That’s what you see on the news, because that’s the story and that’s what makes a great story. But … I want to replace those first impressions with the North Korean people — the hope that they have for their future, and the changes that are already happening at the grassroots level.”The United Nations published a report last year that found “the gravity, scale and nature of the human rights violations currently happening in North Korea reveal a state that is without parallel in our contemporary world.”“[The report] went on to say that these crimes against humanity include ‘extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution based on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the forced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” she said.Pulles said these conditions have contributed to a per capita income in North Korea that is 20 times lower than that of their neighbors. Because of this, North Korean citizens are trapped in an enforced state of poverty.“This leaves an estimated one in four, or 28 percent of North Korean children, chronically malnourished,” she said.But the situation inside North Korea may be starting to change, in part due to a much greater access to outside media and information, Pulles said. Outside media is often smuggled across the Chinese border, where it is sold on illegal markets. Outside information comes from North Korean refugees, who often send money and news to their families back home, Pulles said.“In the mid-1990s, North Korea’s socialist economy collapsed, and this meant that among other basic needs, food rations from the government stopped being given to the people [of North Korea],” she said. “With their only source of food cut off, it’s estimated that up to one million North Korean people starved to death in the resulting famine.“People knew that if they were going to survive, they would have to get creative and learn to work around the system that they used to depend on. They began engaging in illegal market activities, which led to a process led to marketization from below. These markets provided access not only to basic needs like food and clothing, but they also provided access to new sources of information and a new place to meet and discuss new ideas.”This information cuts through propaganda that has successfully worked to subjugate North Koreans in the past, Pulles said.“[The North Korean regime] used to tell the people that South Korea existed only in an oppressive poverty, abused by their American colonial occupiers. People were taught to feel sorry for the children who were supposedly starving in South Korea and to feel grateful to live in their so-called socialist paradise. This propaganda narrative was effective for many years. But new sources of information showing the reality of the outside world are beginning to seep inside the country. South Korean films, TV shows and dramas are shared secretly among friends and relatives. This is helping people see just how advanced South Korea and the rest of the outside world has become, while they were left behind.”The new information also helps to build networks of trust between North Korean people, bringing them together, Pulles said.“In the past, the regime has tried to foster distrust among the North Korean people, encouraging them to turn each other in or report each other,” she said. “And they also tried to prevent any groups from forming outside of their direct control and supervision. But now, since people are getting their information from friends and neighbors, and they’re gathering in secret to watch this information, it’s starting to build the very trust the regime has tried so hard to prevent in the past.”Tags: grassroots, LiNK, nonprofit organization, North Korealast_img read more

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PEMCo to perform ‘Nothing Without You’ revue

first_imgThe Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) will present “Nothing Without You: A PEMCo Revue,” featuring 20 students performing numbers from a wide variety of musicals. Sophomore Emily Okawara, the director of this year’s show, described the revue as an annual PEMCo tradition in which students perform a compilation of songs from different musicals, each connected by a common theme that changes each year.“This year’s theme is ‘Nothing Without You,’ and it’s all about human connection, and how, living on this earth, we are all connected in little, tiny ways in our daily lives, but also on a bigger scale,” she said. “All of the proceeds go to charity. This year they’re going to a program I’ve worked with all year, called ‘Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods.’”“Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods” is collaborative project between the University and the Neighborhood Resources Connection, a nonprofit community organization dedicated to providing programs to empower the community and train community leaders in South Bend.“It’s a program that uses the arts to empower youth to make their voices heard,” Okawara said. “It’s very humanizing research, and very connected to the revue in the way it’s using the arts in the community. It’s a program that I really care about.”Each performance will run for approximately an hour and a half, including a 10-minute intermission. Okawara said like revues in past years, the show was organized, produced and directed entirely by students, and will feature live musical accompaniment also provided by students. Unlike prior years, however, this year’s revue will take place in a new venue.“For the past few years, it’s been in the LaFun Ballroom, but this year it’s going to be in the Washington Hall lab, which is different and cool in a lot of ways,” she said. “It’s just a different stage-space. We get to use lights, and it has more of a theater-y feel.”Supporting the arts in your community is very important, Okawara said, but coming to the “Nothing Without You: A PEMCo Revue” means more than just supporting your fellow students who are helping produce or performing in the show.“With this revue, you are supporting the arts directly, but you’re also supporting the arts in that all the proceeds of the revue are going to go towards this program that supports the arts for kids in South Bend, so it’s kind of a double-whammy,” she said. “In addition to supporting the arts, it’s just going to be a super fun show. There’s a lot of really popular musical theater in it. We’ve got ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Mamma Mia,’ ‘Hairspray,’ ‘Wicked’ — all the well-known titles — but there’s also a lot of new stuff in it that I think people are really going to want to see, that I think gets to the core of the joy and the grief and the gravity and the importance of human connection.”Junior Denise Dorotheo, marketing producer for PEMCo, elaborated on the theme for this year’s show.“The idea is that we are nothing without human connection, nothing without being able to have relationships with friends or family or be in romantic relationships, and how those are essential to being human,” Dorotheo said. “We thought it was a really good theme for this year because we are struggling right now, as a society, of being very disconnected, whether it’s our political views or anything like that, or just being on our phones when we’re with one another. We’re just trying to remind the Notre Dame community how important it is to have relationships with people, to share differing opinions with people and to listen and be respectful of those.”The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available for $5 at the LaFortune Box Office. Seating is limited.Tags: Pasquerilla East Musical Company, PEMCo, PEMCo Revuelast_img read more

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Fall break Staycation offers opportunity for students to explore South Bend

first_imgSaint Mary’s students who are planning to remain on-campus for fall break have the opportunity to participate in the College’s third-annual “Staycation.”Rebekah Go, director of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE), said the idea for “Staycation” came to her thinking about students staying on campus for fall break, when the dining hall is closed.“They were isolated and hungry,” Go said. “That made me really sad.”Go said she wanted to use her role in OCSE to engage students in the community during fall break.“[In the past] I think it’s been a meaningful group of students, in that they’ve all appreciated the opportunity that’s been provided because there hadn’t been anything else,” Go said.She said there have been students who participated in “Staycation” during both of its previous years.The cost of participating in “Staycation” activities is covered by the OCSE, but Go said there is a suggested donation of $5 per day.Kris Choinacky, assistant director of OCSE, said “Staycation” will begin Sunday and conclude Thursday evening. Participants do not have to attend every activity and may choose any and all they want to do, she said.The Staycation will open Sunday with a cookout at Choinacky’s house.“We planned to make it casual and have a bonfire and pumpkin carving,” she said.On Monday, participants will travel to nearby Potato Creek State Park.“We have a naturalist who’s going to speak to us about the history of Potato Creek,” Choinacky said. “There’s also a prairie maze there that they have for the fall. We’re also going to have a picnic there and just get to know the state park.”After that, participants will visit the west side of South Bend, where a speaker will give a talk about the revitalization occurring in the area, she said.The Monday evening activities include making cards for the Sisters of the Holy Cross and having pizza delivered to campus, Choinacky said.“We have scheduled a heritage tour at [the Church of Our Lady of Loretto] with the Sisters,” she said.Tuesday evening, participants will have dinner at Go’s house and then attend a Second City benefit for Howard Park, Choinacky said.“The Morris Performing Arts Center is bringing the Second City here for a benefit, and so I thought that really fit well with our mission here of helping out our parks department,” she said.Students will also have the opportunity to participate in service projects in the community, Choinacky said.“Anyone who wants to [can] come with me to Christ Child Society, where they offer free clothing to families,” she said. “A group of us would go and do that in the morning and then meet up afterwards for a light brunch at a downtown local restaurant.”She said students will also get to take a percussion class at the Potawatomi Conservatory.“[The conservatory has] Afro drumming with an instructor in the greenhouse,” she said.Other planned events include walking to the Indiana University-South Bend campus and traveling to the west side of downtown, including the Washington District, Choinacky said.“We would do a scavenger hunt in the different areas and go to the Studebaker Museum,” she said.Throughout the week, Choinacky said students will visit local restaurants in different parts of South Bend.“This is an opportunity to get our students out there to really embrace all the great things we have to offer in the South Bend region,” Choinacky said. “I want everyone to fall in love with South Bend the way I have, and if … the Staycation is the only time that [students] are able to really get outside of the Saint Mary’s campus, I’m glad they were able to do it with us.”Having grown up locally, Choinacky said she loves South Bend and wishes to share this love with students.Choinacky said registration for “Staycation” is currently under the attendance level necessary for the event to take place. She said students can contact her to register.“I think it gets a little lonely if you’re here all week, so why not have all these fun things to do?” she said.Tags: fall break, OCSE, Second City, South Bend, Staycationlast_img read more

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Education students adjust to new COVID fieldwork standards

first_imgStudents and teachers across the country have been in the throes of new safety and learning regulations regarding safely returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic. Education students hoping to enter the profession at Saint Mary’s face the same challenges because of the required fieldwork in order to become licensed educators.Education department coordinator and director of student teaching and field work Steven Mast explained how local school policies this year have changed the number of education students who will be completing field work in person.“This fall, the local school districts are only allowing our senior student teachers in for field placements. We have 19 students doing student teaching in a total of 19 placements,” Mast said.Senior and elementary education student teacher Emma Cassidy spoke to how she is responding to the new guidelines set by her school site.“Currently Beiger Elementary where I’m supposed to do my placement is online for the first few weeks of the semester, so I can’t physically be in person. I learned that through the news actually,” she said. “It wasn’t directly communicated to me. I have been in frequent communication with my teacher at my placement which has been super helpful.”These student teachers will be engaging on a more limited basis with community educators while South Bend students are learning virtually, Mast said.“Most all of the classroom teachers working with our students will be teaching from inside their classrooms during the virtual learning time, so most of our students will be in the room with their clinical educators one day a week,” he said. “We have asked the student teachers to limit their time in the building to just one day, so as to minimize traffic to and from campus and in and out of school building.”Mast recognized local teachers might have difficulty balancing their responsibilities with their student-teachers and their students, so the department has decided to decrease the number of required fieldwork hours for student-teachers.“Due to COVID-19, we have relaxed our usually rigid weekly hour requirements, realizing that while local teachers are still hosting our student teachers, they are faced with a myriad of stress and tasks to deliver quality online instruction,” he said.According to Mast, juniors in the education department are completing their fieldwork requirements through collaboration with their Saint Mary’s professors on campus.“The juniors who would normally have a weekly field placement are working with our department faculty to do focused observations of teaching videos — where they will watch the videos, and zero in on and respond to and comment about classroom management strategies, questioning strategies, student engagement and a host of other things related to the SMC education department standards,” he said.Mast acknowledged that while fulfilling these fieldwork standards on campus is a non-traditional approach, it is an appropriate substitute during the coronavirus pandemic.“While we know face-to-face experiences in schools with students is invaluable for the formation of quality educators, we feel this is a viable alternative when field students are not allowed in local schools,” he said.Education professors Jeff Greiner and Terri Suico released a joint statement over email regarding how students will complete the department’s introductory course EDUC 201 without the in-person field experience.“The Education Department has been able to purchase access to a repository of education video,” Greiner and Suico said. “Since our students cannot be in the field this semester, we will have them watch videos from this repository where they will be able to watch classroom teachers teach entire lessons. They will then be able to do similar reflections based on watching those videos that students did previously.”Students will then reflect on existing department standards about student diversity, the classroom and the professional atmosphere in schools.“Since the students won’t be working with teachers the way they would during typical fieldwork, we are having them reflect on the three standards addressed in EDUC 201: Student Development and Diversity, The Learning Environment and The Professional Environment and explain, in their own words, what these standards mean and why these standards are important to teaching and learning. While this doesn’t perfectly take the place of talking with teachers and interacting with them as professionals, this gives them the chance to really think about the standards,” Greiner and Suico said.Mast emphasized that the education department is doing everything it can for students, as well as local teachers and students, while still remaining within state accreditation standards.“While we cannot relax too many of our requirements due to [accreditation] requirements, we are operating on the platform of being flexible to meet the needs of clinical educators, our education students and the students in the local classrooms.”Tags: COVID-19, Saint Mary’s education major, south bend schools, student teachinglast_img read more

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