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Gleam thy gold and blue?

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It’s springtime at Notre Dame. I know this fact despite the frigid winds, which accost me as I make the trek from the C lot to DeBartolo. Let’s face it. No one ever said they came to this school for the weather.This year the changing dates on my calendar were not my sole reminder this milder season had arrived. I’ve been receiving a plethora of graduation information, not to mention numerous e-mails from my mom reminding me to get my act together and figure out my family’s plans for the weekend. (Trust me, mom. Just as soon as I finish my thesis).However, something is different about campus this spring. And it’s not just the nostalgia I feel every time I realize I’m experiencing another “last.” (Look for the teary eyed girl in the home-style line at North Dining Hall).Last week, I was walking on God Quad. The sun was brightly shining, reflecting off of the…hideous gray scaffolding obscuring the golden dome? “Now that’s attractive,” I thought, and continued to ponder other more pressing matters, such as what time it was and which class I was supposed to be heading toward at that particular hour.Avid reader of The Observer Viewpoint that I am, I noticed a letter by Kevin Rycyna later in the week, which informed me that this scaffolding is not merely a fleeting eyesore, but part of a regilding project which is to continue throughout the summer months and be complete before the first home game.While I understand the administration’s anxiousness not to offend the legions of plaid pants-wearing alumni who visit each fall, I am appalled at their lack of consideration for the graduating senior class. (Hey, we might have plaid pants someday too.)Parents, family and friends will be in from all over the country and world, poised to take that graduation picture in front of the golden dome. Many of these groups will never all be together on Notre Dame’s campus again. Oh well, I’m sure a dome covered in scaffolding will add a lovely prison ambience to hundreds of commencement photo albums.Traveling to Notre Dame is an expensive proposition for many families, and graduation weekend will be the first time on campus for a good number of seniors’ parents. While I realize the importance of an intact dome during football weekends, Notre Dame claims it is first and foremost an academic institution, and perhaps should consider college commencement, which will only occur once in students’ lives, to be more important.As I’m convinced global warming has yet to reach South Bend, I also doubt much progress will be made on the regilding project prior to graduation. The fall is typically a much balmier time than the spring in Indiana, which again forces me to question the administration’s decision to begin the regilding process now.While it’s easy to merely complain about the scaffolding, a school that I love, the University of Notre Dame, has taught me that I must do much more.With this object in mind, several of my friends and I discussed the possibility of starting a petition to remove the scaffolding from the dome during May’s commencement weekend. Students of any year, alumni, parents, faculty members and administrators will be able to sign it at www.nd.edu/~dsaviano.Admittedly, scaffolding covering the dome is not an earth-shattering problem when one considers the poverty and war raging across the globe.But neither does it demonstrate the caring I have come to expect from the Notre Dame family. If this new project shows their concern, I’ll take Cinderella’s wicked stepmother.So e-mail this site to everyone you know, and please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments. Or you can always look for me crying over my last North Dining Hall piroghi.It is my hope that once administrators realize students’ feelings about this issue they will attempt to remedy the situation. I cannot believe that they simply don’t care.As graduation approaches, I am continuously reminded of how much I “love thee Notre Dame.” In what amounts to an open plea, I ask that students be considered in the regilding project. After all, graduation wouldn’t be complete without a little rain, the smell of ethanol and our steadfast golden dome.

Katie Boyle is a senior English, political science and Spanish major. She can be reached at kboyle2@nd.edu.The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.