Professor Stephen Fallon said he has devoted 36 years to the study of the works of English poet John Milton. Fallon, who teaches in the Program of Liberal Studies and English department, was recently awarded the Milton Society of America’s Honored Scholar Award for 2011.He said this lifetime achievement award for his work with Milton caught him off guard. “I was completely surprised,” he said. Fallon said the Milton Society of America assembles a committee who the looks at Milton scholars before selecting the candidate they think most deserves the award. The program started giving the Honored Scholar Award in 1948 with notable recipients including C. S. Lewis, Stanley Fish and Barbara Lewlaski. In a University press release, Professor John Sitter, chair of Notre Dame’s English department, said the Honored Scholar Award was the equivalent to Nobel Prize for “Miltonists.” “[Milton] is an extraordinary writer,” Fallon said. “His poetry is breathtakingly beautiful.” Milton, who lived in the 17th Century, focused on philosophy, religion and natural philosophy — the equivalent to today’s sciences, Fallon said. “I started reading Milton closely as a sophomore in college,” he said. “As a junior I knew I wanted to study him as my research.” Fallon wrote two books on Milton and published many articles as well as co-editing an edition of Milton’s famed poem “Paradise Lost.” “He was a person of great historical focus and courage,” Fallon said. “He put his life on the line for his work and he was living in a very tumultuous time.” Fallon currently teaches a graduate class on Milton and will be teaching an additional course on Milton and Shakespeare next semester. “When I started out in this profession, I knew I wanted to teach. I love teaching,” he said. “But I also wanted to reach a point where I could influence the way Milton is taught and read. Receiving the award is a visible sign that what I write about Milton has reached a point among my peers and what I write has influence the way Milton is taught.” As a part of the award, Fallon will be giving an address at the Milton Society of America’s annual meeting, held in Los Angeles this year. Fallon said his topic is about Milton and contradiction. “I’m grateful to Notre Dame for a place where I can do my scholarship and teach,” he said. “There are great research resources — and great students.”
Month: January 2021
Saint Mary’s College hosted its third annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday and teamed up with local colleges and the South Bend community to raise nearly $18,000 to find a cure for the disease. For some Saint Mary’s students, like junior Katie James, the event was personal. “I participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in remembrance of my grandmother, who suffered from the disease for over 10 years,” she said. “To truly make it a commemorative day, I wore red lipstick and munched on fruit snacks — two things my grandmother always seemed to have handy in her purse.” The one-mile walk, which was hosted by Saint Mary’s Office for Civil and Social Engagement (OCSE), raised $17,842 in donations for the organization, which will be used to fund the research for a cure, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Junior Kelly Roepke, OCSE’s student director and coordinator of the walk, said the walke was a great opportunity for Saint Mary’s to come together as a community. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is one of my favorite [campus] events — it’s about uniting as a community to remember the loved ones we’ve lost to the disease and to come together in hopes of eliminating it in the future,” she said. Roepke also had a grandmother affected by the disease and said it was inspiring to see take action with her College community. “Witnessing the onset and development of Alzheimer’s as it affected my grandmother was heartbreaking, so to come together and take action as a SMC and South Bend community has been empowering,” she said. Registration for the event began promptly at 11 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. outside of Dalloway’s Coffeehouse. The walk began at noon. Participants included students from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Holy Cross College and people from the surrounding South Bend community. Each participant that raised $100 or more was given a Memory Walk T-shirt. The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s began in 1989. Since then, the walks have been raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and money to fund the search for a cure. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the country, according to the Association’s website.
Changes in ResLife As the new Title IX process took effect, the University disciplinary process changed slightly as well to reflect the OCR’s recommendations. Brian Coughlin, associate vice president for Student Affairs, and Kathleen O’Leary, director of Community Standard, applied the results of the OCR review to the sexual assault policy outlined in du Lac. O’Leary said two significant changes to the disciplinary process took effect this semester. The first change allows the complainant to ask to be in a separate room from the accused during the disciplinary hearing, O’Leary said. “I think providing the complainant some reasonable alternatives to not be in the same room is bringing us up to speed with other institutions,” she said. The second change involves the case review process after a disciplinary hearing. O’Leary said now either the complainant or the accused can request a case review “based on either a procedural defect that occurred during the disciplinary review process or based on the discovery of substantive new information that was unavailable to them at the time of the hearing.” Previously, only the accused could request a case review. O’Leary said her office has not dealt with any cases involving sexual assault yet this year, so she cannot gauge how effective these changes will be in the future. After this summer’s changes, Coughlin said continuing to update the sexual assault policy reflects the fact that “sexual assault isn’t something that [only] happens to a University or a University community, but to an individual as well.” Coughlin said he hoped the changes would improve the experience for everyone involved with the sexual assault policies. “All in all, I think that what we’ve learned and how we’ve gone through the process is a really good thing,” Coughlin said. “I think that we hope that we do enough in terms of prevention and education that we won’t ever have to use it, but the reality is that we probably will.” Under the microscope Even as Notre Dame implemented these Title IX changes, Russell said the OCR had another concern. “At the same time, the OCR had come forward to Notre Dame and asked if we would do a voluntary compliance review, and Notre Dame agreed,” Russell said. Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle said the OCR approached the University in fall 2010. “They visited campus, they interviewed people, they looked at particular cases,” Doyle said. “At the end of that review, they wrote a letter that is a public document that basically was what their findings were. They spent about half of the letter commending Notre Dame for the things that are included in its policies and practices … and then they spent about half the letter making suggestions.” In the letter, the OCR said its investigation was “agency-initiated,” not based on a specific complaint. “OCR’s investigation followed an internal review of previously filed cases against the university, and recent articles in the press about Notre Dame’s handling of sexual assault complaints, including one incident in which a student committed suicide after reporting that she was sexually assaulted by another student,” the letter stated. Earlier that fall, Saint Mary’s student Lizzy Seeberg committed suicide after alleging that a Notre Dame football player sexually assaulted her. Doyle said Seeberg’s death and the investigation did fall in proximity to one another. “Whether or not there is causality there, I don’t know,” he said. In the eyes of Associate Vice President for Residential Life Heather Russell, more reports of sexual assault can be good news. This is because for Russell, more reports mean less silence. “When we’re doing this right … the number of people reporting is going to go way up,” Russell said. “I don’t think that’s because there is anything new under the sun. I believe it’s because we are actually creating a system that people think works and a culture of reporting, and some people who have been silent in the past will come forward.” Russell serves as the University’s Deputy Title IX coordinator, which means that she is the first point of contact for all reports of sexual assault on campus. Russell’s position is a new one not only at Notre Dame, but at most college campuses across the United States. The job is a product of the “Dear Colleague” letter issued in April by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education. The letter called for all colleges to more strongly implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sexual discrimination at institutions that receive federal funds. Russell said the letter required the University to create her position as well as a more clearly outlined investigation process for sexual assault. While she could not comment on specific cases, Russell said the number of reports this semester has already exceeded the number she expected for the entire year. New process Russell said the new Title IX process must be condensed within 60 days, a new requirement from the Department of Education. These 60 days begin when a victim reports an assault to a non-confidential source — typically anyone who is not a dorm rector or a member of campus ministry. This person then reports the names of the student, date, time, location and brief description of the assault to Russell. Both the accused and the complainant are then assigned a sexual assault resource coordinator (SARC). The complainant and the accused are to have no contact after this point, Russell said. “If the accused or the complainant had any questions about what is the process, what happens next, that SARC is their resource person through the entire process,” Russell said. An investigator compiles a full report on the incident for Russell, and then she meets with the complainant to talk about the next step. This student could decide to pursue disciplinary action, criminal justice, or neither. If the student decides not to pursue those options, the University can still move forward on either front without the student’s participation. Any disciplinary action through the Office of Residence Life must also be completed within the OCR’s 60-day timeframe. “So it’s a very much refined way of shepherding a case from beginning to end in a way that we hope is humane and kind and just,” Russell said. “I think the thing that has been paramount in my mind throughout all of this is, what are we doing both in terms of what OCR asked of us but what we believe is right.” A ‘life-giving’ process Though the changes are still new, Russell said early feedback on the new processes is positive. “Both complainants and accused have commented on how helpful it has been to have a SARC, that sexual assault resource person who has been their first point of contact,” Russell said. As she continues in her new position, Russell said she hopes for the process to be “life-giving” for the students who go through it. Despite positive signs after one semester, Doyle said the University needs to continue to hold itself to a higher standard. “Where would we like to be a year from now?” Doyle asked rhetorically. “We do need to have the community understand what the obligations are for reporting and the processes, but to my mind, the real conversations are the conversations that help us as a community to create the kind of community where sexual assault does not exist.”
For Dave Prentkowski, director of Notre Dame Food Services, encouraging members of the Notre Dame community to participate in Relay for Life is about more than just supporting a good cause. It’s personal. Prentkowski is the honorary chair of this year’s American Cancer Society fundraiser, which will take place Friday evening through Saturday morning at Notre Dame Stadium. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall, Prentkowski is promoting participation in Relay. He said he spoke to team leaders at a meeting in March to show his support and will be involved in various ceremonies at the event. Prentkowski said he wanted to raise awareness on the fundraising effort, even though the money donated to cancer research might not personally affect him. “It certainly will affect others down the road and I think that’s important,” he said. “It could be family members or people you know or people that you don’t know.” Cancer can touch anybody and affects each person differently, Prentkowski said. “It’s not discriminatory,” he said. “That’s for sure. It doesn’t really care who you are or anything like that.” Still, there has been progress in treating certain types of cancer, Prentkowski said. “You see a lot more people that now say that they’re cancer-free,” he said. “Now, a lot more people are being able to recover from it.” Prentkowski said he receives a great deal of support from his wife, who has been an oncology nurse for 20 years. “Having her with all that expertise has been helpful for me because she’s more capable of talking to the doctors and the language they talk than I am,” Prentkowski said. “Also, she’s certified to do [medical] things, so I avoid having to go back to the clinic … It’s nice to have that kind of support.” *** Junior Courtney Reinkemeyer said she began participating in Relay for Life in high school because many of her classmates were involved. Once she came to Notre Dame that changed, she said. “I kind of experienced firsthand the effects of cancer, so that just made it a lot more important to me to participate in it,” she said. Reinkemeyer said she was diagnosed with breast cancer during fall break of her freshman year. After several surgeries, she said she is now cancer-free. “Back home, my best friend’s mom was diagnosed with cancer probably a year after I had been, she said. “My mom and her friends were in a book club, and they started a [Relay for Life] team. It was kind of a combined effort for her as well as me.” Reinkemeyer said she helped promote the team and participated in the Relay event last summer in her hometown, Jefferson City, Mo. “I think [my experience with cancer has] definitely put a lot more passion into going and just trying to raise awareness about it,” she said. At Notre Dame, Reinkemeyer conducts cancer research with Steven Buechler, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Department of Mathematics. She said they study the levels of gene expression in breast cancer patients to determine what treatments they need. “Low expression in some of the genes actually shows that [some] patients don’t need chemotherapy, or without chemotherapy, their cancer shouldn’t come back,” Reinkemeyer said. “It’s just trying to find the subset of women that don’t need to find extra treatment.” Reinkemeyer said Relay for Life is an opportunity to raise money for cancer research and help develop treatment options. “I think the most important part is that it just brings hope to so many people, and that’s one of the main reasons that I keep going back,” she said. *** This year, sophomore Laurel Komos said she is participating in honor of her friend from high school who is battling osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor. “She has pretty much the brightest personality ever and is a pretty big inspiration,” Komos said. “Just following her story made me really want to do it. I’m for ‘#TeamEvans’ … That’s her unofficial Relay team name.” Komos, who is on Pasquerilla West’s team, said her friend keeps a blog about her experience battling cancer. “She just says that every day is a gift, and her whole thing is based on an Andy Grammer song, ‘Keep Your Head Up,’” Komos said. “I hope that people kind of get a little bit of that mentality out of it, a better appreciation for our health.” Komos said she hopes Relay participants are inspired by the stories of survivors and people currently battling cancer. “I never really realized how much cancer changes your life, and I’ve never really been affected by it until this … situation,” she said. “Watching her optimism and the way she fights through it is really shocking, and it makes you appreciate the things in your life more.” *** For many years, sophomore Alison Quinn did not know anyone who had cancer. But when she was 16, her close friend was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a brain tumor. “That’s kind of where my involvement with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life started,” Quinn said. “When she had cancer, we would always do stuff like raise money for her family.” Quinn said participating in Relay for Life at Notre Dame last year was a way for her to honor her friend and give back to her friend’s family. After her friend passed away last spring, Quinn said Relay took on additional meaning. “That’s why this year means so much more to me,” she said, “because not only do I now know more people who have cancer just through getting older and knowing people, but also I know someone whose story, a big part of it was cancer. By knowing her, it made me that much more involved and makes me want to honor her life and keep fighting for everyone else who is fighting.” Quinn, who is a member of the Ryan team, said Relay is a way for people to visualize how many people cancer affects. “For some people, cancer is just a concept, it’s just a disease, it’s just something that’s there and that we know happens, but when it gets personal is when it really hits you,” she said. “You’re connected through cancer. It’s kind of like that six degrees of separation type thing.” Honoring specific people who have been affected by cancer is a way to bring the concept of fighting the disease to life, Quinn said. “There’s so much we can do, even if we’re not directly involved in a situation where someone has cancer,” Quinn said. “We all can be involved, and we can all step up and be a part of something really powerful. And hopefully in the future … we might find a way to make it better.”
When Haley Scott DeMaria received a call earlier this year from University President Fr. John Jenkins, she had some idea about what their conversation would entail. But the last thing she expected was for Jenkins to ask her to give this year’s Commencement address. “We had conversations in the past months about different things, so when I got the phone call there were 10 other items I thought the conversation would be about,” she said. “If I put commencement speaker on there, it would probably be about [number] 998. “[I was] stunned, really. I was surprised. Once the shock wore off, I was very honored.” DeMaria, a member of the Class of 1995, suffered a broken back and was paralyzed when the bus carrying her and the rest of the Irish women’s swim team slid off the Indiana Toll Road and rolled over 20 years ago. Doctors told DeMaria she might never walk again, but she beat the odds, regaining the ability to walk and returning to swim for the Irish the following year. DeMaria said she hopes she can give a special speech to this year’s graduating class because, like them, she once walked the campus as a student. “I think one of the unique things about having an [alumna] speak is I understand many of the things they are experiencing because I have been there,” she said. “The main thing I would like to get across is what it means to be a Notre Dame graduate – what it has meant in my life and what it will mean in their lives in ways they have no idea.” One of the main concepts DeMaria said she wants to convey in her address is to be prepared for the unexpected in life. “I think one of the main ideas, and really one of the main themes of how I live my life, is that understanding that you can plan, and you can be prepared, and you can know exactly what your life is going to be and chances are, that’s not what is going to happen,” she said. “And then that is okay. How do you go through life having a great game plan or life plan, but also knowing life doesn’t always turn out the way that you think it will.” DeMaria said Notre Dame graduates are fortunate because the University prepares students well for life after college. “Not in a doomsday way, but so many of the tools that we have here as a Notre Dame student will apply to ways in life that we don’t even know,” she said. DeMaria, who gives talks up to five or six times a month, said this speech will be “different” and “bigger” than any she has ever given. However, she still plans to draw on her personal experiences to communicate the core message of her address. “Many of the talks that I give are about my story and what we experienced as a university, as a swim team, my personal journey – certainly physically and the faith aspect of it,” she said. “There will be some of that. I know that’s certainly one of the reasons I was asked to speak.” However, DeMaria said she recognizes this speech is different due to her audience. “But graduation is not about me, it’s about the graduates,” she said. “So I’ll take what I’ve learned and certainly share some of that, but really use it to apply in a meaningful way to the graduates.” In speaking to people during the past weeks leading up to her address, DeMaria said she has distinguished two types of commencement speakers – those who are remembered for their name, and those who are remembered for the speech they give. She said she hopes to fall into the latter category. “I’d rather leave the graduates with two or three or four key words or messages that they hear, they listen, they remember. They may not totally get it now, but at some point in their lives they will,” she said. “That’s my goal.” Reflecting on this notion, DeMaria said her own class expected to have a “big-name” commencement speaker, as it was the 150th graduating class of the University. But students were initially disappointed with the selection of a relatively unknown speaker. “We ended up with the first African-American female provost at a major research university,” she said. “It was an interesting choice at the time, but it was Condoleeza Rice. It’s been good for me to understand everybody’s different perspectives.” Ultimately, DeMaria said she is excited to return to the University once again to serve in a new role. “I truly look forward to addressing the class,” she said.
The Notre Dame chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-ND) held the Project Hope Suicide Awareness Walk yesterday to help promote awareness and spread faith and support for loved ones of suicide victims and those suffering from mental illnesses. The two-mile walk started at the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium and concluded at the Grotto where a short prayer service and speeches took place. Money raised from the event will go to the Memorial Epworth Center, Oaklawn Foundation and Portage Manor, three local organizations that fight mental illness. The event had a turnout of 200 people. Several families of suicide victims were present, some wearing t-shirts with pictures of their loved ones to honor their memory. Senior Amanda Bruening, founder of NAMI-ND, participated in past events before coming to Notre Dame. “Originally, this was something I participated in at the University of Miami after my brother took his life, and it made me realize there was an active thing I could do to make a difference,” she said. “Since that walk was such a main foundation in me getting over my grief, I felt it necessary to have one on our own campus to help others.” Alexandra del Pilar, a junior at Saint Mary’s College, said she believes groups like NAMI-ND are crucial to college communities. “I think it is very important for college-aged students to have a support group on campus, because here they are alone and do not have that strong support of their family,” she said. Bruening said awareness on college campuses is important because of the young age of many suicide victims. “The age of many suicide victims ranges from 15 [years] to early 20s. For this reason, I think it’s so important for college campuses and communities to get involved,” Bruening said. Tom Seeberg, father of St. Mary’s College student Lizzie Seeberg, who took her life in 2010, gave a speech about both his own struggles with his daughter’s death and the importance of prayer and hope. “She got up every morning and punched life in the face,” Seeberg said about his daughter. “Her comment when confronting a problem was ‘So, what are we going to do about it?’” Seeberg said mental illnesses could be combated by being better understood. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And this stigma of mental illness is the elephant in the room,” Seeberg said. Julie Hersh, author of “Struck by Living” and columnistnfor Psychology Today, spoke about her own battle with mental illness and the waystin which it can be prevented. “To protect ourselves against mental illness, the three most important things ar: sleep, nutritio, and exercise,” Hersh said. “One way we really can protect each other is kindness. When someone is in a suicidal state, you have no idea how much a hand on a shoulder for kind word can do. It creates a pause for them.” Hersh ended her speech with motivation for all to help protect one another from mental illness. “Create a pause that will create a space to save a life,” she said. Contact Shannon O’Brien at [email protected]
Humans may or may not be in a unique position in the universe, but we now know Earth is definitely not. Notre Dame astrophysicist Justin Crepp was part of the team that discovered the first Earth-sized terrestrial planets in a habitable zone. His team published their findings in the journal, Science, last week. Crepp said the discovery adds five new planets to a confirmed list of 62 systems that contain terrestrial planets. What is most notable is the unprecedented similarity to Earth in terms of size, with two of the planets having radii just 1.41 and 1.61 times greater than the Earth’s, he said. Crepp said the planets are similar to Earth in several ways and more similar than other known planets. “The reason it’s special is that they’re pretty much the closest thing that we have found that resembles Earth,” Crepp said. “In terms of their size, and their orbital period they resemble the Earth and satisfy some of the conditions that we think are necessary for life to form in the first place-one of them being having the right temperature.” Crepp said he undertook this latest endeavor as a member of a team of astrophysicists using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to view the transits of exoplanets to discover Earth-like entities orbiting solar-type stars. Transmits are the orbits directly in front of the star respective to the viewer. Crepp said the telescope focuses on a particular section of the nights sky and measures very slight changes in the brightness of stars. “It all starts with Kepler staring continuously at a hundred-and-fifty thousand stars, and there’s this patch of sky that it looks at with an unblinking eye,” Crepp said. “It’s monitoring the brightness of stars and whenever a planet passes in front of the star, it casts a shadow or blocks some of that light, and Kepler is sensitive enough to actually measure that.” Crepp said he follows up with a ground-based optics approach to further characterize the system once notified by a sophisticated algorithm that combs through the Kepler data to determine planetary candidates. “I use a large telescope from the ground and my role in this particular Kepler discovery was to follow up those objects of interest with imaging,” Crepp said. “From the ground I can actually see if there are any sources of contamination that might trick us into thinking we’re looking at planets, but we’re actually just looking at a vanilla binary.” He said one of the most important aspects of this step in the process is ruling out all probable alternatives that may result in the signal being a false positive, such as when the system actually has two stars – a binary – that occult each other. This binary problem occurs with 50% of all stars, Crepp said. Despite the recent discovery, Crepp said he believes that they’ve reached the limits of what they can currently characterize in the Kepler 62 system. Crepp said the next step, beyond continuing to look through the NASA database of roughly 3,000 Keplar Objects of Interest (KOIs) for other Earth-like planets, is to start looking for such planets closer to home. Crepp said he is working to develop an instrument he calls the infrared Large Binocular Telescope Exoplanet Recovery, or iLOCATER, which will use a fundamentally different detection technique to search for Earth-like planets roughly 10 lightyears away – two orders of magnitude closer than the current sampling performed by the Kepler project. “My instrument uses a different technique; it doesn’t use the transit technique. It uses the Doppler radial velocity technique where you look at a star’s ‘wobble’ in-and-out of the sky,” he said. “If a planet is orbiting a star it will orbit its center of mass and so if you just isolate what the star is doing, it’s being tugged on by the planet ever so subtlety, a few meters per a second as it turns out – about as fast as you would run. It’s impressive that you can actually measure that for a star.” Crepp said he will have the iLOCATER making measurements in two years, which will then allow researchers to make the next step in characterizing the atmospheres and composition of nearby Earth-like planets that are discovered. Crepp said the discovery is an important step in human understanding of the universe, but it prompts more questions than it answers. “It’s still a small step in the grand scheme of things but it’s an essential, really important step,” he said. “You answer one question and it brings up others.”
This weekend, the younger siblings of Saint Mary’s students got the chance to experience college life with their older sisters, bonding over karaoke and t-shirt tie-dying at the annual “Little Sibs Weekend,” hosted by the Residence Hall Association.Little Sibs Weekend chairperson and sophomore Alayna Frauhiger said the weekend aims to give students an opportunity to share their new home with their siblings of all ages.“We tried our best to include activities, events and movies for all age groups, but most were directed towards the younger age group,” Frauhinger said.The event kicked off Friday evening in Angela Athletic Facility with gym events and a photo booth, Frauhiger said. Numerous events took place throughout the day Saturday, including craft tables, movie showings of “Finding Nemo” and of “The Hunger Games” and cookie decorating.“Overall, I think the Friday night fun event was a popular event for all siblings to get acclimated and settle into campus,” Frauhiger said. “Also, on Saturday, the siblings loved tie-dyeing their t-shirts that they received over the weekend.”First year Megan Carswell said she and her two sisters enjoyed the scavenger hunt. For the hunt, the girls were instructed to walk around campus with a list of photo challenges, such as taking a picture near a squirrel or on the Avenue, Carswell said.“We walked around campus with some other girls and their siblings and took a bunch of photos,” Carswell said. “It was fun seeing my friends’ siblings interact with mine. My four and 13-year-old sisters traveled from New York to participate in this weekend and enjoyed every moment.”First year Emma-Kate Conlin said she and her sister played trivia and painted their nails at home, but having the opportunity to replicate those activities in the atmosphere of Le Mans was special.“I loved showing [my sister] places on campus she had never seen before,” Conlin said. “She enjoyed seeing what college life was like, meeting my friends and all the options in the dining hall.”Conlin said Little Sibs Weekend was significant because it gave younger siblings a chance to see what their older siblings do once they leave home and because it allowed college students to share weekend traditions, such as quarter dogs at LaFortune Student Center at Notre Dame, with their siblings.Months of planning culminated in a wonderful event, Frauhiger said.“[The] committee and I started planning back in September for the weekend and still were planning up to [last] week,” Frauhiger said. “Overall, the weekend went very well, and great memories were made for all girls.”Tags: Little Sibs
The annual Hawaii Club Luau — a traditional celebration of Hawaii’s native culture, which was first hosted at Notre Dame in 1981 — will take place Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Stepan Center.Hawaii Club of Notre Dame co-president and sophomore Kisa Matlin said the luau provides students with a “tropical getaway” from the harsh South Bend winter as well as an opportunity to connect to Hawaiian culture.“We have about 35 or so students here from Hawaii,” she said. “We’re a very tight knit community, so doing this luau every year is a way for us to just connect to our culture back home and to also share it with the Notre Dame community here.”In previous years, around 300 people attended the event, which Matlin said incorporates a number of fun activities and ties in various aspects of Hawaiian culture.The luau will feature a hula show, musical entertainment and a Hawaiian dinner, which will include a buffet table with a number of native foods, she said. There will also be a free photo booth, temporary tattoos and a country store where attendants can buy trinkets from Hawaii.“We have kalua pig, which is the Hawaiian analog to pulled pork,” she said. “We have fresh pineapple with li hing [mui] powder. We have lomi-lomi salmon, which is diced salmon with onions, tomatoes and … seasoning and haupia, which is like coconut pudding for dessert.”Although Notre Dame Food Services will prepare some of the food, Matlin said club members will also make some of the dishes themselves.As for the hula show, Matlin said the dancing is something most Hawaiians are familiar with, having grown up on the islands.“Hawaiian culture education is integrated into our schooling in general,” she said. “[Hula dancing] is something we’re all familiar with, if not particularly skilled at.”While Matlin said she and other members of the club often miss home while they are away at school, but the luau gives everyone the opportunity to come together.“It’s something that we can do together as a club to bring a little piece of home to South Bend,” she said. “And it’s also a way for us to share our culture, which is unique, with the rest of the Notre Dame community.”Tickets are $10 with a student ID and available for purchase at the LaFortune Student Center box office or at the door.Tags: Hawaii club, luau
Ross Douthat, author and New York Times columnist, spoke on the evolution of religious liberty in America since the Second Vatican Council on Wednesday afternoon in Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The event was part of the 2015-2016 Notre Dame Forum, which is titled “Faith, Freedom and the Modern World: 50 Years After Vatican II.”Douthat said he looked to the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom, “Dignitatis Humanae,” to track the evolution of the Church’s attitude toward religious liberty.“[It] formally established the Roman Catholic Church’s support for religious liberty and developed the Church’s teaching to the point where it was no longer deemed necessary for Catholics to argue for a preferential, state-established position for the Catholic Church in countries around the world,” he said.Although the document was written in Rome, Douthat said, the “crucial transformative voices” that crafted “Dignitatis Humanae” were American. Furthermore, American Catholicism gave an example of the positive relationship the Church could enjoy with the government.“Anyone looking for evidence 50 years ago that the Church had nothing to fear from dropping its call for a preferential position for Catholicism could look to the United States, could look to Notre Dame, and be immediately reassured that the Church could flourish, absent such patronage,” he said. “And anyone looking for evidence that one form of liberalism, liberal democracy at least, could be trusted to protect the Church’s freedoms, rather than perpetually going against it … could likewise look to America and could find what looked like very solid proof of concept.“So while a document like ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ had still been imaginable without the American example, and the arguments that undergirded it might still have resonated as Catholics tried to grapple with twentieth century realities, politically, theology can only be so abstract. It ultimately needs a reference point in actual existing politics. … Having the American example made an immense difference in the debates, its outcomes, and the document and teaching itself.”Douthat said in contemporary times, the American Catholic consensus that the Church can flourish in the liberal democratic experiment is fracturing.“One crack is showing up a little on the Catholic left. In the age of Pope Francis, the current pontiff’s scathing criticism of global capitalism and the American-led world order has maybe started to encourage a more radical Catholic left critique of the American system than we have seen since probably the Vietnam era,” he said. “On the Catholic right, especially maybe the younger Catholic right, there’s an increasingly felt tension between being American and being Catholic, stronger even lately than some of the tensions created by Roe v. Wade. And this tension is emerging for a reason that’s relevant for the specifics of ‘Dignitatis Humanae,’ one of the elements of religious liberty that that document deemed essential to the political order — the idea that freedom of religion encompasses the freedom of the religious community.”The guarantee of corporate religious freedom is no longer apparent, Douthat said, citing recent attempts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce mandates of contraception on Catholic institutions, as well as ACLU lawsuits against Catholic hospitals.“What all of these examples have in common, in addition to the connection to the sexual revolution, is that they represent places where state pressure is being brought to bear not on Catholicism as embodied at Mass on Sunday, but on Catholicism as a corporate identity, Catholicism as the impetus and organizing idea behind the institutions which seek to serve the common good,” he said. “In each case, and perhaps more as time goes by, the Church is being told that trying to serve others is not sufficient, that Catholics must accept that the price maybe of their most basic ministry is to accept a secular definition of the common good and be governed in certain ways by secular power rather than the constitution of the Church.”Douthat said the Catholic Church in America has been weakened in the last fifty years, as evidenced by declining Mass attendance and a decrease in religious vocations, yet the Church maintains a distinctive place in American politics.“The Church is still large enough, still potent enough, still intellectual enough to have many — to be frank — enemies, who would like to see it weakened or brought low, meaning that Catholics are not or not yet the quirky, marginal, Amish-style religious minority that tends to be tolerated and accommodated very easily under secularism. But at the same time, the Church is too weakened, divided, possibly declining certainly in some cases to effectively fight its battles when those enemies circle or attack.”Religious liberty protections are often unnecessary for the stronger religious groups, and easy to extend to the weaker religious groups, Douthat said.“It’s the weakened, but still important, institutions in between that are more likely to see their protections shrink, and that’s roughly where the Church has found itself today,” he said.Douthat said many who want to restrict the Church’s religious liberties do not view Christianity itself as problematic, but instead identify the problem as one set of issues, where traditional Christian teaching is not compatible with contemporary views on human rights.“So in this sense, many people who support what I think are real restrictions on religious liberty see themselves as operating in the space of reasonable regulation allowed for by ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ itself, in the passage where the council fathers noted that religious liberty is still subject to certain regulatory norms,” he said. “And many even see themselves ultimately as friends to Catholicism and Christian religions, offering a kind of construction pressure and constructive criticism, a helping hand into sexual modernity — one that will be eventually vindicated by a third or fourth Vatican council, at which point Catholic resistance today will look a little silly.”Many Catholics agree with these opinions, Douthat said, and the best defense of religious liberty should focus on religious pluralism, rather than on religious liberty itself.“The part of ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ that matters most in America right now is again the document’s stress on the corporate nature of religious freedom,” he said. “And to the extent that Catholics are hoping to persuade people outside the Church that something important in American life is threatened in the current religious liberty debate, they need to press the case that this kind of communal freedom, this associational freedom, is essential to the American experiment as we know it. And if it gives way to a strictly individualistic understanding of religious liberty, something precious will have been lost.”Religious pluralism is not a threat to liberal values, Douthat said, but a complement to a liberal democracy.“A healthy pluralism allows people of any persuasion, secular or religious, progressive or conservative, to build a culture with a sense of mission, a place where certain ideas are generally accepted or taken for granted, certain organizing principles are assumed,” he said. “And at the same time it’s telling them that they have to do this within their own private institutions, rather than aspiring to impose their ideas on a grander, society-wide scale.”Douthat said the tensions between the Church and the wider culture should also serve as a reminder that the Church does not have a permanent political home.“Even as we seek to preserve that congruence between the American order and Catholic freedom that inspired so much optimism in 1965, we should also not to expect it to last indefinitely,” he said. “We should realize that liberal democracy, like all political orders, is time-bound and contingent, and not the ultimate good that the Church is called to preach.As American attitudes toward religious liberty evolve, the Church must be prepared to adapt and move forward, Douthat said.“If a synthesis between being American and being Catholic, which seemed to be getting easier in the 1960s and may be getting more difficult today, we should be challenged but not necessarily troubled by that change,” he said. “‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ Jesus said ‘but my words shall not pass away.’ But he was not talking about the U.S. Constitution.”Tags: Dignitatis Humanae, Notre Dame Forum, religious liberty, Vatican II