This is a chance to celebrate’

first_imgThe Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) celebrated its 10th Anniversary Friday. The Center was established under the tenure of University President Fr. Emeritus Edward “Monk” Malloy. “This is a chance to celebrate and recognize that great things happen when good people pull together their knowledge and resources to help the young, old and everyone in between,” Malloy said at a celebration Friday. The accomplishments and collaborations of the Center were on full display Friday night at an open house held for the community. “It is always important to set ambitious goals, but also important to celebrate our successes,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said. Some of the programs based at the RCLC are a Lego Robotics team, an entrepreneurship program and a youth Shakespeare troupe. Charell Lucky, a student that participates in the youth Shakespeare troupe, performed Sonnet 40 and a scene from Henry VI. “The RCLC is a blessing for me and my family,” Lucky said. Take Ten, a violence prevention program in local public schools also celebrated. The RCLC is home to the program, which serves 16 schools in the South Bend Mishawaka community, as well as the Center for the Homeless, all Boys and Girls clubs and community centers. John Hess, a local principal, received the James A. Kapsa award for his work with Take Ten. “Take Ten works best when the principal steps up and is strong and instrumental to making Take Ten a success,” Ellen Kyes, director of the Take Ten program, said while presenting the award. Two members of the RCLC received an award for their participation. Isaiah Crudup won the James A. Roemer award presented to a youth participant that has excelled in the Center’s programs and Alfreda Redding won the Dr. Dale O. Grayson award honoring an adult in the RCLC education programs. The Renelda Robinson award, named after the community member whose name also sits over the RCLC, is given to a community volunteer that promotes learning and relationship building. Bridgett Mitchell received the award and was described as a volunteer who not only does the job, but does it with kindness. Two members of the Notre Dame community were also honored. Junior Caitlin Kinser received the Rev. Don McNeill C.S.C. award, which is presented to a Notre Dame student volunteer, for her dedication to the Shakespeare program at the center. The Arthur Quigly award is given to a distinguished Notre Dame faculty or staff member. This year’s recipient was Nicole MacLaughlin, a University Writing Progam teacher who partnered youth participants in the Shakespeare troupe and her students. She also received a grant that allowed her to take 25 Notre Dame and 16 RCLC students to Chicago to see Romeo and Juliet. “[The RCLC is the] heart and home of the east side,” Jasmine Brown, RCLC advisory board co-chair, said. “We need to be the visionaries of the future and the philanthropists of tomorrow.” Jay Caponigro, the current Notre Dame director of community engagement and first director of the RCLC, said he is confident the RCLC will continue on strong due to the great people and community that make the center what it is.last_img read more

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Students shave heads to raise funds, awareness for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

first_imgFor the past four springs, members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities shaved their heads and fundraised to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s childhood cancer research. Senior Catherine Soler, organizer of The Bald and the Beautiful (TBAB), said the initially small-scale project has grown into a three-part event, involving more than 1,500 people last year. Soler said TBAB, held Wednesday through Friday in the LaFortune Student Center, was born in 2009 when the Freshman Class Council service committee hosted a St. Baldrick’s event. She said approximately 150 people helped raise $26,000 the first year. “The next year we were like, ‘Well, we want to open it up. We want to be able to include more people, people who maybe don’t want to shave their head, but want to be a part of it,’” Soler said. The committee created an option for people to purchase hair extensions and donate their hair to benefit Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which turns hair into wigs for women with cancer. Soler said the group named the event “The Bald and the Beautiful” after their adviser jokingly suggested the name in an email. “It was hard to really convey everything I think in the name,” Soler said. “We liked it, it was kind of catchy, and I think it sends the right message.” The money raised by selling colored hair extensions benefits Memorial Hospital of South Bend, and Soler said kids treated in the pediatric oncology unit often come to the event. “We contemplated giving the hair extension money to the American Cancer Society, but we thought it was really important to give back to Memorial, and we liked the local and national component of it,” she said. The money raised for Memorial supports its young adult cancer survivorship program, Soler said. “I think that’s just a really neat connection that we have with them, because the hair extension money goes directly to people who come to our event and help us, and also goes towards a cause that if one of us were to have cancer right now, or had cancer as a child, we would be included in that age-range,” she said. The colors of the hair extensions represent different types of cancer, Soler said. “You could come in and say, ‘I want yellow for bone cancer, I’d like pink for breast cancer and blue for ovarian,’ whatever it is,” she said. “People can kind of do that in honor of different people.” Soler said almost 1,800 people participated in TBAB last year and raised $46,500. This year, she said several residence halls and sports teams will be involved. The football team will participate in a kick-off event Wednesday at 6 p.m. “It was very hard in the beginning to get sponsorship from students, friends, organizations, anything, just because no one really knew, but we have a lot to talk about now … and people come to the event,” Soler said. “And one of my favorite parts is that it’s very upbeat, and while it’s for such a great cause and there’s definitely time for memoriam and honoring people, it is really just fun.” Senior Elle Metz, a TBAB committee member, said she enjoys seeing the support people show to those who shave their heads, especially girls and women. “We have five or six girls already signed up to shave their heads this year, and their friends will come out with posters, and everyone is so supportive of them, which is great,” Metz said. “It’s inspiring to hear the stories as to why they do it and why they feel so strongly. A lot of people have personal connections. They know someone who had cancer, a family member has cancer, something like that.” Soler said although the core 15 people planning The Bald and the Beautiful have remained the same throughout the years, the group has expanded. “This year there’s about 30, 35 people, maybe more than that, who are planning it, and they’re all different age ranges, all different clubs, all different halls,” she said. “And so it’s just really fun that you don’t necessarily have to belong to a certain association to be a part of it.” Participants in TBAB find solidarity with people suffering from cancer, Soler said. “I would say that we just feel really lucky to be a part of an event that’s able to combine all the great things that I think about Notre Dame … the ability of people here to work hard, and put the greater good before themselves,” she said. “We’re just constantly blown away by the community … That’s by far been the best part for me.” Metz said coordinating The Bald and the Beautiful has been a special experience. “It’s easy to get caught up in … classes and extracurriculars and things like that, and Notre Dame students are obviously really busy, but these three days are just an awesome example of getting back to what’s actually important and helping people,” she said. Soler said the TBAB committee will ensure the event continues after most of the coordinators graduate in May. She said the Class of 2013 has expressed interest in organizing the event in the future, and it might also become a joint signature event for residence halls. “I hope that we can come back in ten years and donate our hair to The Bald and the Beautiful, and I can bring my kids and donate their hair,” she said. “I’m just always supremely impressed by how generous and selfless everyone who works on this event is, and so giving of themselves and their time, and I’m constantly inspired by the people who work at this event … I think it’s just an amazing demonstration of the true spirit of Notre Dame students.” The stress and busy-ness of coordinating The Bald and the Beautiful finally pays off during the three-day event, Soler said. “Within the first hour of the event, we’re still scrambling, getting ready, and then you see someone shave their head and the kids show up and you just stop and think, ‘This is worth every single minute of the effort,’” she said. “We all just always stop and kind of pause at the event, and you can see even big football players or like our guy friends, everyone’s just so moved by what’s going on, and I think it’s really cool.”last_img read more

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Oxford professor emeritus charts human development

first_imgIn a talk Tuesday at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies, Frances Stewart, professor emeritus of development economics at the University of Oxford, described the history of human development from the 1950s onward.Thinkers from developed countries created the concept of foreign aid in the 1950s, and this aid promoted industrialization and an increase in developing countries’ gross domestic product (GDP), Stewart said.  Grant Tobin | The Observer “There were indeed a growth increase and an investment increase, so the objective in that sense was fulfilled,” she said. “But it threw up its own problems and that’s the next process in the cycle. The problems were that unemployment began to increase and it hadn’t been an issue before. … Poverty began to be recognized that it wasn’t automatically going away.”In the 1970s, movements came about that questioned the objectives and process of this early form of aid, Stewart said. Some economists argued that GDP per capita is not a good indicator for development because it does not take into account other important aspects of life, she said.“It neglected income distribution, so you could find that countries with similar growth had very different income distributions,” she said. “… It neglected public goods and externalities. It neglected employment, and it ignored important features of life beyond income, like health, education, food and so forth.”The dependencia movement also began in Latin America to fight the dependency that results in underdeveloped countries after receiving such aid, which led to the formation of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Stewart said.“The biggest impact was the dependencia movement because it influenced OPEC in particular and because of the big oil cost rise that resulted, first in 1973 and then again in the early 80s,” she said. “This in turn is the source of the debt problem of many developing countries because of the big rising oil prices in the early 70s. Countries immediately went into deficit.”Stewart said the two major movements that influence development today — the basic needs approach and economist Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach — began in the 1970s in response to questions about the objectives and process of GDP-focused development.“The basic needs approach was in part a sort of political reaction that seemed to speak more to politics to say to people, ‘Surely, everybody should have their basic needs met, their fundamental needs,’ rather than say that they should have redistribution of growth,” she said. “ … [Sen’s] argument is that the law of development is to enhance people’s potential to be and do, and beings and doings are capabilities — only the ones they have reason to value, and the reason to value is a very important phrase.”In 1990, Sen helped create the Human Development Index (HDI) that judges health, education and income to rank countries into tiers of human development, Stewart said.“What are the characteristics of success?” she said. “There aren’t that many universal characteristics. Some do it through good growth, like Singapore and South Korea. Some have very good distribution of income. Some have well-spent social expenditures.“But there are some general traits, and one is giving priority to girls and women. That is the one factor that does seem to be universally shared by successful countries. … In general, having a high share of social expenditures seems to be a main correlation of success.”Even still, Stewart said the HDI does not solve the problem of quantifying human development.“I said I was going to measure human development in terms of the human development index, but one major issue is that it’s not a good measure of human development because it’s got those three components,” she said. “… The components of a full life are much bigger than that.”Tags: Hesburgh Center for International Studies, human development, lecture, United Nationslast_img read more

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Faculty host public Ferguson discussion

first_imgJason Ruiz, assistant professor of American Studies, and Dianne Pinderhughes, professor of political science and Africana Studies, hosted an open forum Monday on the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., to discuss the implications these events have on racial and societal issues.Ruiz said the forum’s timeliness supplemented discussions people should have in and out of the classroom.“I’m teaching this class, Mixed Race America, and I thought starting with Ferguson was an obvious place to start a critical exploration of race relations, and especially race relations,” Ruiz said. “I always start the class talking about ‘What is Race?’ and right now when we ask ourselves, ‘What is race?’ Ferguson is looming large in terms of the state of American race relations.”Ruiz said perceptions of race are often skewed because of media biases — something students in the social media age are especially susceptible to.“The one thing I hope we can do is demand better, more fair media portrayals,” Ruiz said. “That’s something I took away that we all had in common. My task as an educator is to create more savvy media consumers.”Ruiz said the open forum style of discussion was meant to facilitate more frank discussions on the topic of race on campus.“I think students have a lot to say, but they sometimes don’t feel empowered or like they have a critical space with faculty members to really tell us how they feel,” Ruiz said. “This is a campus that has a lot of students, faculty and staff people that are interested in issues like this and keeping the conversation going. Personally, I hope [the forum] will be the start of many conversations.”Pinderhughes said that the very fact the forum was open and without a formal presentation gave the faculty in attendance an opportunity to see what the students were thinking about the situation.“We were very pleased with the turnout and we had a very nice range of questions,” Pinderhughes said. “Seeing that not all the students were in agreement opened up a lot of different options for people to engage in action.”Senior Deandra Cadet said her peers posed educated inquiries and honed in on the issue’s relevance to the University.“A lot of people were talking about what was the next step for us that we can take to educate ourselves on these issues and also be advocates against the sort of actions that might be police brutality,” Cadet said. “I think it’s more just about what actions we can take as students.”Cadet said the public exchange of opinions and facts on Ferguson allowed students to explore how race affects them personally and facilitate the discussion of topics of equality in their own social circles.“I think having actual concrete conversations with different people about things that are important to your life can really bridge the gap, because you can know someone of a different race and not really know them or what’s important to them,” Cadet said.Tags: Ferguson, Race relationslast_img read more

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Engineers aim to improve Haitian infrastructure

first_imgEngineering2Empower, a group of faculty and students from Notre Dame committed to a world in which all people have adequate housing, recently raised $16,000 in a day and a half for projects in Haiti and has its sights set on raising more, graduate student Dustin Mix said.The group, which formed after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, wants to construct five houses with funds raised from its current IndieGoGo campaign, Mix said.“Our mission is to facilitate access to housing by seeding a process that empowers local entrepreneurs to deliver engineered urban housing in the free market,” Mix said. “We are planning on building five homes, ranging from 250 to 750 square feet, which will go to a range of aspiring homeowners, based on their family and financial profiles.“We originally had plans to raise $16,000 to cover two of these homes. However, because of the unbelievable response we had in the first two days, we’ve upped the goal to $50,000 in hopes of covering all five houses that are planned.”Mix said the homes will be accompanied by a pilot financing program, which consists of three parts.“It breaks down into a savings commitment by the homeowner, a subsidy from Engineering2Empower and a home loan granted by a local Haitian bank,” Mix said. “The funds from the fundraiser specifically go toward covering the subsidies, as well as providing some financial collateral to secure the loans.”Mix said the first campaign, which originally had the goal of raising $16,000 within 30 days, was a learning experience.“There is a lot of work that goes into telling your story, finding ways to continually engage your audience and really showing why your cause is important to you,” Mix said. “I think because of the passion we have for this work, we were able to tell that story, and within a day and a half, had already raised $16,000.“I was really in awe and humbled by that because it really showed that people listened to our story and more importantly, saw the merit in how we are approaching the problem.”Mix said Engineering2Empower has raised $21,000 dollars of its intended $50,000 goal. He said the campaign, nearly halfway to its fiscal target, is scheduled to end in about a week.“We are down to the last week, so we are looking for a heavy push to get us to $50,000 and achieve something we never thought possible a month ago,” Mix said.Mix said the organization is just beginning its work to help provide adequate housing to the people of Haiti.“There is so much that can be done in Haiti to bring about dignified living conditions, but there are no easy or quick answers,” Mix said. “The answers lie within the communities themselves. We have a great set of skills as engineers to help in that process and over the last four years, I think we’ve made a lot of progress, but we are only getting started.”“We need more investment in local systems of housing delivery, local contractors, local banks and the local labor force to achieve our goal,” Mix said. “This campaign is just one more step in that process.”Tags: Engineering2Empower, fundraiser, Haitilast_img read more

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Breen-Phillips Hall to host charity meal auction

first_imgIrish football coach Brian Kelly, professional specialist of finance Carl Ackermann and University Provost Tom Burish are among the 20 “campus celebs” who have donated dinners for the 31st annual Breen-Phillips Hall Meal Auction today benefitting Meals on Wheels of St. Joseph County.Co-commissioners of the dorm’s signature charity event, sophomores Anne O’Brien and Maggie Blaha, said they hoped to increase the event’s total proceeds from the $1,300 raised last year.“[Meals on Wheels] is based two miles away in South Bend; they make three meals a day and send them out in the morning with drivers to the houses of the elderly and homebound people in the town who can’t make their own food, seven days per week,” O’Brien said. “They don’t have very many drivers, and it’s pretty cash-strapped, so they rely really heavily on donations. We’d really like to make this year’s event big and raise a lot of money for them.”As part of the dorm’s efforts to raise more money through the event, Blaha said the team implemented some structural changes to this year’s auction.“In the past, we’ve actually done a live auction, so it was part live auction and part silent auction,” Blaha said. “This year, we changed it as part of our efforts to get more money for the charity. So the auction will be part raffle ticket for some of the gift baskets and then all silent auctions. So there won’t be any live auction, which we’re actually excited about because people can get more into it and get together in groups with their friends.”The meal portion will make up the silent auction, so groups will be able to sign up for a meal paid for by the “campus celeb” who donated it, O’Brien said. The raffle portion will be for gift baskets donated by various groups on campus and in the community.“As far as baskets go, we have Blackhawks tickets, signed pucks from a couple of Blackhawks players, a LuLuLemon giftcard, a LuluLemon gift basket, Vineyard Vines hats,” O’Brien said. “We contacted local restaurants to get gift cards, such as Jimmy John’s and Let’s Spoon, but the majority of it just came from donations. Each of the sections in BP donated a basket [and] our hall president and vice president both donated stuff.“For the meals, we just emailed professors and other people we thought people might want to eat a meal with. Each person specified how many people they wanted to take and where they wanted to go. For example, one was dinner for four at Sorin’s at the Morris Inn. So when people bid, they’ll be bidding the amount that the group will pay in total. So, if they bid $100, each person will be paying $25.”Some of those who have donated meals to the auction have also volunteered to donate in other ways, as well.“This year one professor promises that whatever the tab is, he’ll match that and donate it back to us,” Blaha said. “Ackermann did that last year, and that’s been really helpful.”Blaha said students will be able to use Domer Dollars to purchase raffle tickets, and that there would be several promotional events going on during the auction to encourage people to come.“At 5 o’clock, we’re having the campus Keurig representative come and give away free coffee,” Blaha said. “At six o’clock, Harmonia will be performing, and then around 7 o’clock we’re going to have the Vineyard Vines campus rep giving away sunglasses and croakies. So if you buy a ticket, you get to pick one out.”The auction will take place in the Dooley Room of LaFortune Student Center on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.Tags: BP, BP meal auction, Breen-Phillips, meal auction, meals on wheelslast_img read more

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Saint Mary’s professor researches biological impact of bats

first_imgUpdated at 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 12. After recent heavy rains, South Bend’s mosquito population has grown, and with it the risk of insect-borne diseases.Assistant professor of biology at Saint Mary’s Laura Kloepper, along with her team of students, seniors Cassi Mardis and Stephanie Dreessen, thinks she found a way to keep the mosquitoes in check: turning to the bats for help.Kloepper and her team of undergraduates students spent eight weeks studying the dynamics of flight and echolocation on Mexican free-tailed bats in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. Bats eat insects, Kloepper said, and although they prefer moths and beetles due to a higher fat content, they’ll also eat mosquitoes.“It’s kind of like, if you’re at a big salad bar and there’s not a lot of meat, you’re going to eat a lot of the salad,” she said. “So they will eat mosquitoes and, with all the flooding we have been having, if we had a thriving bat population, they would definitely be helping to eat some of the mosquitoes we have around.”Kloepper said she believes bats can provide a solution to the mosquito problem and that bat houses can bring bats to residential homes and yards.“We can encourage bats to live among us,” she said,  “People can put up bat houses, that’s one thing they can do. It’s hard sometimes to get bats to take up residences in bat houses. It’s not necessarily an ‘if you build it they will come,’ it’s more of ‘if they’re already in your building, [they will come].’” Dreessen, who has a bat box in her home, said her experience with having a bat box has been generally positive.“My dad, over the summer, decided to put a bat box in,” she said. “It does take time for bats to realize the housing is available, but they will find it once they know where it is.”There are various designs and styles of bat houses on the market.“It’s like a box,” Dreessen said,  “Within the box, there are little sections, almost like a maze, and they’re really small, because bats are only so big and bats really like warm environments, so they’ll just cluster in there right next to each other.”Mardis said bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour but are still regarded as pests.“Many people think bats are a scary thing, but they are extremely beneficial to the environment and actually not so scary,” she said. Additionally, Kloepper said the concern that bats carry deadly diseases such as rabies isn’t true. “Most people are scared of bats because they hear bats have rabies, and a lot of mammals carry rabies,” she said. “The statistic is that only 1 percent of all bats that have been brought in for testing have been tested positive for rabies. “The thing to understand is if a bat has rabies, it is already going to exhibit abnormal behavior that will make it be more likely to be brought in for testing. So it’s thought that that 1 percent is highly inflated. You’re more likely to get rabies from a wild raccoon in your yard than you are a bat.” Recently, a fungus carried over from Europe has been reducing the population of bats found in the United States, specifically those in the northeast, and now, the Midwest. “It’s called White-nose syndrome, and it’s a fungus that has just been wiping out bat populations,” Kloepper said. “It is thought that the fungus was brought over to the United States by humans.  “It affects bats that hibernate, and we are in a cold climate. The bat species we have around here that would normally be flying around are hibernating bats, and these are species that are incredibly vulnerable to White-nose syndrome.”Kloepper and her team said utilizing bats can help to not only save the bats but also to decrease South Bend’s pesky, and now dangerous, mosquito problem. “When they tried to spray insecticide to kill off the mosquitoes, they in turn killed off the bees,” Dreessen said, “And [bats] are a different approach to that, but one that is more ecological and safe.”Tags: bats, biology research, ecologylast_img read more

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Flag football: more than a game

first_imgWith the college football and National Football League seasons well underway, Notre Dame students have been anticipating the kickoff of one more season: flag football, which officially began on Sunday.A decades-old tradition at Notre Dame dating back to 1975, flag football has become an integral part of the fall semester for many students. Assistant director of intramural sports Arianne Judy said this is partly due to the inclusive nature of the sport. Observer File Photo A student representing Welsh Family Hall evades a defender from Pangborn Hall during a women’s interhall flag football championship in Notre Dame Stadium in Nov. 2014.“Flag football is kind of … a sport that skill and previous knowledge … play a part in people being successful or wanting to participate, but … you don’t have to have that knowledge and/or experience and you can still participate in it,” Judy said. “Typically, if you think of gender norms or stereotypical kids growing up, a lot of women don’t get the opportunity to play [football]. And so that’s what makes our interhall league so popular and so much fun.”Sophomore Meg Wagner, co-captian of the Pasquerilla West Hall B team, echoed Judy and said she was happy to be able to pick up the sport so easily without any prior experience.“I was a cheerleader so I never played … [anything] that involved catching a ball or doing anything like that. So last year when I came out I was really nervous,” Wagner said. “It comes really easily. I thought for sure I would just be riding the bench, but I played and it was not as hard as I thought it would be. It’s definitely fun and easy to pick up.”Popularity for the women’s interhall flag football league, with 14 women’s halls represented in the A league and seven with additional teams in the B league this year, also stems from its affiliation with community, Judy said.“There’s definitely that community base to it, and I think with that comes the accountability piece, too,” she said. “There’s that hall allegiance.”Wagner said she uses flag football as a way to meet more people in her hall who she wouldn’t necessarily cross paths with otherwise.“I’ve become closer with girls I wouldn’t have been friends with,” she said. “There’s a lot of freshmen and girls that aren’t in my section, so I get to know them just because I’m on their team and we play together and get to work at practice together.”Another attraction for the women’s interhall leagues is the championship games being held on the field in Notre Dame Stadium, Judy said, an honor originally reserved only for the men’s interhall tackle football games.“We are very fortunate to have the relationship that we have with athletics as far as being able to use that facility,” she said. “Here, it’s different just because of the rich tradition and the football history for the students to be able to play on the field. It is a big deal to play at Knute Rockne’s stadium.”Wagner said she and her team appreciate the significance of this unique opportunity.“It’s a very rare experience, obviously,” she said. “To be on the Notre Dame football field is not something that many kids get to do even when they go here, so being able to have pictures and to have that memory is really special just because Notre Dame football is such a big deal, so when you get older, being able to say that you were on the field and you actually got to play a game is very rare and special.”Judy said there are other factors that lead to participation in co-rec or all-campus men’s flag football teams, such as wanting to play a sport with friends that might be outside one’s hall.“In our co-rec leagues, it really is dependent that you reach out and get teams together with friends and people that are outside,” she said. “It’s more of an opportunity to get your friends together … [and] it brings in a mix of students.”Senior flag football official Timothy Zdunek said he was excited to discover how many students participated in flag football in one way or another.“I knew that interhall tackle football was big for the guys’ dorms, but I didn’t realize how big it could be for, obviously, the women’s dorms and then co-rec and all-campus guys leagues,” Zdunek said. “I was rather surprised to see how so many students competed in flag football here. It was really great to see.”Judy said each flag football league plays by the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) rules, which have been adjusted over the years to create a more unique environment for the sport.“Originally, I think that they tried to have a large affiliation with high school rules for tackle football — obviously modified to make flag football a non-contact sport,” she said. “I think that, over time, they really have focused on creating rules that are more in line with creating the atmosphere that they want.”These rules are enforced by student officials, creating an additional entry point for students who want to be involved with flag football in some way. Zdunek said he became a flag football official to become involved with football on campus, even though he doesn’t play.“It just looked really cool as a way to get close to the action and everything without playing because I know I’m not exactly the greatest athlete in the world,” he said. “This was a way for me to really stay involved in that kind of stuff.”For Wagner, the women’s interhall B league serves as a good way for students who live in dorms where flag football is too popular for just one team to get involved.“It’s really nice just because I don’t think I’m skilled enough to be on A team, [and] it’s a lot less pressure,” Wagner said. “So obviously, the girls that are competitive and want to have a competitive nature go up on A team and that’s for them, but B team is a lot more relaxed and low-pressure. And we have a lot more fun, I think.”Tags: co-rec sports, flag football, Interhall, Interhall Football, NIRSA, RecSportslast_img read more

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State-of-the-art wind tunnel advances hypersonic flight research

first_imgCourtesy of Andrew Bustard The Notre Dame Hypersonic Aerodynamics Lab unveiled a quiet Mach 6 hypersonic tunnel in 2018. Since then, the department has continued to pursue innovation in flight technology.Thomas Juliano, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, established the lab and began the project in August 2014. Juliano said his motivation behind the project is the possibility of hypersonic flight in the future. “The story of transportation for the last 2,000 years has been finding ways to go faster and faster,” Juliano said. “This is merely the latest step in that.”Juliano previously worked with a smaller-scale quiet wind tunnel as a graduate student at Purdue University before coming to Notre Dame. “We can do a lot with that, but we want to be able to test longer models in order to see more of what’s going on,” Juliano said. “The logical next step for facility development in order to unlock these other investigations in fluid mechanics was to build a larger-scale item.”Challenges for hypersonic flight include extremely high temperatures that surround aircraft when going thousands of miles per hour, said first-year doctoral student Andrew Bustard. “The high-heating rates, if not designed around, will destroy your vehicle,” Bustard said. “Obviously, we don’t want that. But the flow physics is so complex that we don’t actually understand fully what’s causing the heating or the best way to reduce it, so the whole point of this group is to study the flow around objects around potential or get a better understanding of the flow around high-speed objects.”The Mach 6 quiet wind tunnel is unique as it better replicates the silent noise that occurs in the atmosphere, Bustard said. “Most facilities we have on the ground have way more noise than in the atmosphere,” Bustard said. “If we truly want to model the heating in the atmosphere, we need to have flow in our wind tunnel that represents those atmospheric conditions. [The quiet tunnel] better matches the atmosphere, and that’s why it’s very useful for us.”The Mach 6 tunnel project has provided opportunities for multiple engineering students to get involved in hypersonic research. Erik Hoberg, a third-year doctoral student, specializes in flow characterization and wind tunnel design. He has been involved in the project for a little over a year. ”I was not part of [Juliano’s] group when I came to Notre Dame,” Hoberg said. “Then I met him and saw what his group was doing and really wanted to be on that project.”Fifth-year doctoral candidate Carson Running has helped with the quiet tunnel since his first year of graduate school. He worked heavily on the design and building of the tunnel in the early years of the project. “One question that I researched was the best way to heat the large surface area [of the wind tunnel],” Running said. “We actually found a company down in Texas that sells these big long heating blankets that can just be wrapped around the steel portions of the wind tunnel and set to a certain temperature that we desire.”Running spoke to the challenges of designing a state-of-the-art quiet tunnel that can advance the progress of hypersonic flight.  “A lot of the problems we’re trying to solve from small to big haven’t really been solved before, so overcoming that was … doing a lot of research but also a ton of collaboration and meetings with professor Juliano, using his expertise and kind of working together,” Running said. “One thing that I always like that [Juliano] says when he assigns projects or assignments to us is, ‘I wouldn’t be assigning them to you if I knew how to do them.’ He really does need our help and is willing to work with us and bounce ideas off of each other.”Tags: aerospace engineering, Wind tunnel Faculty and students at the Notre Dame Hypersonic Aerodynamics Lab unveiled the largest quiet Mach 6 hypersonic wind tunnel in the United States on Nov. 30, 2018. Nearly a year later, the lab continues to apply the technology to the future of flying.last_img read more

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Students create Notre Dame Puerto Rican Student Association in the face of natural disasters, misconceptions

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Alvaro Carrillo Members of the recently-established Puerto Rican Student Association raised money in LaFortune to aid the disaster-stricken U.S. territory.In the face of these issues, a group of students from Puerto Rico decided to create the Notre Dame Puerto Rican Student Association in order to raise funds for disaster relief and increase awareness about Puerto Rico’s situation and culture.“With these recent events that have happened in Puerto Rico, I saw a lot of Puerto Rican student associations all around the nation moving and raising a lot of money to help Puerto Rico,” Carrillo, who serves as the Puerto Rico Student Association’s president, said. “So, I talked with my best friend, Adolfo Serbia, and we decided we had to do something.”The club was approved in December, and since then, the Puerto Rican Student Association has mobilized to raise funds for disaster relief, hosting two fundraising events in LaFortune Student Center and Five Guys at Eddy Street.“People were really receptive to our campaign,” Carrillo said. “We recently had a fundraiser at LaFortune. In only two hours, we raised $500 in cash and are still waiting for the University to tell us how much we raised in Domer Dollars. The one in Five Guys was very successful as well, we gained 20% of all the sales’ proceeds.”The funds raised through these events will be donated to local nonprofits Casa Pueblo and Instituto Nuevo Escuela. Carrillo said the association chose these organizations due to their known success and education initiatives in Puerto Rico.Even though the Puerto Rican Student Association’s immediate focus has been on raising funds, a core part of its mission is to increase awareness of Puerto Rican culture on campus.“Unfortunately, this is a campus that lacks a lot of diversity, so the best way to tackle this is by hosting events, bringing speakers, doing fundraisers, really everything that can expose our culture to students here on campus,” Carrillo said.‘We are Puerto Rican, but we are also United States citizens’Freshman Amaury Amador already realized there are many misconceptions surrounding Puerto Rican culture at Notre Dame.“There’s a lot of misinformation about what people perceive about Puerto Rico versus what we grow up to believe,” Amador said.The main misconception Amador notices is the widespread belief that Puerto Ricans are international students.“Sometimes they see us as strangers, but, even though we are not a state, we are part of the United States and we definitely still get treated like second-class citizens,” Amador said.The political situation between Puerto Rico and the United States is historically complex. The island is considered an unincorporated territory which is under U.S. control, which means the country’s constitution only partially applies to Puerto Rico. However, the territory is still under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the federal government.“We are U.S. citizens, we have fought in the army and have fought in all the wars the U.S. has been involved in after the 18th century,” Carrillo said. “We can’t vote for the president even though we are a U.S. territory. We don’t have a vote in Congress even though we get taxed and regulated by Congress. So you can say Puerto Rico is a colony.”Puerto Rico’s political situation has given rise to contentions between the territory and the federal government, especially in regards to the government’s response to natural disasters in the Caribbean island.“You would think it was preposterous if New York City stayed without electricity for six months, but then you have San Juan spending almost a year without power, and no one batted an eye,” Amador said.Even though Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico almost three years ago, federal aid has been slow in entering the island. In January of 2019, President Trump released billions of dollars in aid to Puerto Rico. The $8 billion allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development was supposed to be released months ago, according to Reuters.However, Carrillo noted these efforts have been painfully slow and long overdue.“After Hurricane Maria, the response by the federal government was horrible,” he said. “We didn’t receive even 10% of the recognized damage assessments. When you compare this reaction to the one the federal government had with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, it was completely different.“You hope the government can bounce back, but they don’t have the financial tools. Then you hope the federal government responds and sends money, but they don’t.”The Puerto Rican government has not been able to deal with the natural disasters’ aftermath appropriately either, Amador said.“The [Puerto Rican] government has not done much to fix the situation because of the political problems,” Amador said. “It’s like ‘let’s not help the people. Let’s put a candidate’s name in the water bottles so the people know who they should vote for.’”Consequently, distrust for both the federal and local governments has grown over the years. As a result, Puerto Ricans have learned to “take matters into their own hands” when it comes to solving problems, Carrillo said.When the earthquakes began devastating the island’s southern region, Puerto Ricans rushed to aid their suffering countrymen.“Now with the earthquakes, huge traffic jams started to form from the northern part of the island to the south because people were taking food, water and baby formula to them,” Carrillo said.For Carrillo, this act of solidarity is a clear reflection of the Puerto Rican character.“These natural disasters make us come closer and bring out the best in everybody,” Carrillo said.Study first. Give back afterIn September 2017, both Amador and Carrillo witnessed Hurricane Maria’s devastation.Almost three years later, they — like many in the island — were woken by the earth’s shaking.“My house literally started shaking around 5 a.m,” Carrillo said. “I was terrified because we couldn’t understand what was happening.”Merely a week later, they bid farewell to their families and friends to come back to Notre Dame, fearing the uncertainty brought by the series of earthquakes.“It’s definitely hard because the earthquakes were in January and we left for college right after, so it was like leaving all your family over there without knowing what was going to happen,” Amador said.Yet their country’s mishaps have inspired them to continue studying in order to return to Puerto Rico upon graduation.“We want to use this opportunity of receiving a higher education to come back and work towards improving what the government has been unable to do,” Amador said.For the moment, the students are focusing on helping their country from across the sea.“We are using all the tools at our disposal, and that’s what the Puerto Rican Student Association stands for,” Carrillo said.Marisel Moreno, associate professor for Latinx literature, serves as the Puerto Rican Student Association’s faculty advisor. A Puerto Rican herself, Moreno said she admired the drive and initiative the students showed.“I am just so happy this is finally happening,” Moreno said. “I have been teaching at Notre Dame since 1998, and I have always dreamt of having a Puerto Rican Student Association — but all the effort truly comes from them.”Whether through raising funds or hosting events on campus to increase awareness, Carrillo said the group is not going to desist in its mission to increase Puerto Rico’s presence on campus.“We are definitely going to be hosting more events in the years to come and this is not a one-year thing,” Carrillo said. “We are going to keep moving forward so that, if anything happens to Puerto Rico, we are able to stand up and help our island.”Tags: casa pueblo, Hurricane María, instituto nueva escuela, puerto rican student association, Puerto Rico The heavy winds started around 4 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2017. An hour later, sophomore Alvaro Carrillo’s house lost power as Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico.A high school senior at the time, Carrillo had to witness the destruction the storm wrought on his native land.His family’s house endured the 155 mile-per-hour winds. However, complications rose in the aftermath, as Puerto Rico was left in the shadows due to months-long power outages.“The bad things started to happen after Maria,” Carrillo said. “I live in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, and we were the first to get power three months after the hurricane. You can imagine the people who live in the rural areas of Puerto Rico, where they did not receive electricity even a full year after Hurricane Maria.”Puerto Rico’s problems did not end — or start — with Hurricane Maria. A financial crisis was already crippling the island’s economy before Maria struck. Almost three years after the storm, Puerto Rico is now facing a different kind of natural disaster: earthquakes.“The problem is that Puerto Rico has not fully recovered,” Carrillo said. “So, you have a country that is $72 billion in debt and you hit them with a hurricane with a damage assessment surpassing $100 billion, and then with a sequence of earthquakes.”Since Dec. 29, the Caribbean island has been rattled with daily earthquakes. Hundreds of temblors have rocked the island, including Puerto Rico’s most destructive quake in a century — a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that jolted the whole island awake in the early hours of Jan. 7.last_img read more

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