Senior legacy options debated
Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 24, 2008
The senior class has an exiting opportunity available to us these next few weeks; voting on what we want to leave behind as our legacy here at Notre Dame when we graduate. The 2009 Senior Class Legacy gives the senior class the chance to make a major difference in the lives of many students to follow us. This year we have the option to vote on a new fund for future students that can benefit students for several years to come. This is the option of the unpaid internship fund.
Think back to your past summers of work. You worked full-time hours, gained invaluable experience both in your possible future career and in “real-life.” You may have worked side-by-side with the professionals in the firm, sat in on meetings, worked on major projects and gained knowledge and skills that you can’t learn in the classrooms.
Now imagine this experience without the pay. Maybe some of you experienced this, or maybe some of you were unable to partake in an internship because the firm couldn’t pay you. This is actually a very common dilemma, one that I personally experienced the summer before junior year. This happens across all industries in which the expertise and ideas of interns are highly valued, yet the funds simply are not available.
The unpaid internship fund can make all the difference of those students. It is a fund that would support students in unpaid summer internships via an award that would go toward paying expenses during the internship. This provides students previously unable to gain this work experience the opportunity to build their resumes and make them a more marketable student upon graduation. I think this program is the best way that our senior class can give back to this University that has given us so much. It will be a lasting legacy that can help so many future students fortunate enough to attend Our Lady’s University.
Seniors, it’s time to decide what we want our class legacy to be. While all three of the available options are great, I believe one of them stands out as the truly compassionate choice. If we end up selecting the community service option, the proceeds of our legacy will go to the Center for Social Concerns in a special fund earmarked for local community programs. The CSC will have more resources to devote to its programs focused in South Bend, including community-based learning and research for Notre Dame students, community and economic development programs and partnerships with local coalitions for social change. It seems that this year more than ever I hear our classmates worrying about how dangerous this town is and how unsafe they feel off-campus.
Pair that with all the anti-Notre Dame sentiment you find on the South Bend Tribune’s website, and the tension between students and city residents is palpable. The disconnect between the University and the city seems obvious to us, and we finally have an opportunity as a class to do something tangible to change it.
Wishing for a better relationship with the South Bend community gets us nowhere – it’s time to realize that the South Bend community is our community too.
So when you vote for our class legacy, please vote to give our gift to the Center for Social Concerns. The Class of 2009 can give a gift that benefits not only future Notre Dame students but also the entire city of South Bend.
In light of Notre Dame’s recent efforts to address sustainability on campus, last year’s Senior Legacy establishing the EcoFund was appropriate and effective. The point of a Senior Legacy is to create an impact lasting far longer than our four years at this University. That’s also what sustainability is all about and why the Class of 2009 should continue to support the EcoFund.
The EcoFund enables students, faculty and staff to take ownership over their original ideas and turn them into projects that contribute substantially to campus sustainability efforts. For example, the EcoFund could support the goals of both of the other Legacy options – pursuing an unpaid internship about energy or environmental issues, or supporting the sustainability work of the CSC in South Bend or around the world.
Our class has contributed substantially to sustainability at Notre Dame – and the EcoFund is a wonderful way to leave our final mark. Energy and climate change issues will impact each of us in our personal and professional lives. Let’s set the right kind of precedence at Notre Dame.