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Vlerah, Blake keep off-campus students informed

Saoud, Angela | Thursday, February 26, 2004

While off-campus students usually cite reasons such as freedom and fun as motives for their departure from school property, some said they lose the connection with the school they have come to love when they leave campus.

Saint Mary’s senior Abby Van Vlerah and Notre Dame senior Sarah Blake try to aid students who face this problem. As the off-campus representative and the off-campus president respectively, Van Vlerah and Blake said that they try to inform the off-campus community of happenings at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame.

“My duty is to coordinate events to help unite the off-campus population,” Blake said. “My primary responsibility is to make sure that off-campus students are fairly represented.”

Van Vlerah described her own role somewhat differently.

“My job is to keep students who live off campus connected with the Saint Mary’s community,” Van Vlerah said. “I send out an e-mail newsletter weekly that highlights the events that are going on throughout campus.”

Both Van Vlerah and Blake said that part of their jobs is to plan events specifically for off-campus students.

“We have off-campus student lunches in the off-campus lounge,” Van Vlerah said. “Last semester I organized a raffle, but unfortunately my budget isn’t big enough to do everything I’d like to do.”

Blake has planned events such as Masses, dinners, a party at Legends and an upcoming meal at BW 3’s.

“I have an off-campus listserv that I use to communicate all off-campus events to the students,” Blake said. “I also use the listserv to pass on information that comes to me through other sources. When I plan events, I pass out flyers to help publicize.”

Van Vlerah said that, despite the information, students are not as informed as she would like them to be.

“We try to publicize in places that all students go, like Madaleva and Haggar, but it’s hard to get the information up in a central location where everyone can see it,” she said. “Regardless of whether or not you live off campus or on campus, you’re still bombarded with information. There are a lot of events available if you seek them out.”

Blake said off-campus students are relatively informed about events that happen throughout campus.

“Everyone gets class e-mails and reads The Observer to get information,” Blake said. “Also, word of mouth definitely spreads news of activities.”

Notre Dame junior Elizabeth Roach lives off campus this semester, but despite that fact, she still feels involved in the information loop.

“I feel informed of on-campus events and things through the listserv,” Roach said. “Plus, I’m on campus for classes everyday, so I see the flyers and things.”

Saint Mary’s sophomore Rachael Berg also believes the information she receives is efficient.

“I have a lot of friends that still live on campus, so they keep me pretty up to date with everything that’s happening,” Berg said. “For the most part, I get to the events I want to from the information I receive, but it’s also my job to seek out that information, as well.”