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Group discusses new beND outreach program

John Cameron | Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Council of Representatives (COR) said its new community outreach program, beND, is designed to ease tensions with residents and law enforcement while improving relations with the community overall.

“We need to take ownership of community relations and improving them on behalf of the students,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “Be a good neighbor, be engaged in the community.”

Soler said it is crucial to avoid scare tactics and to rely on education and open dialogue to deal appropriately with the community.

“It’s about making students aware of what’s going on, how they can be safe, how they can be respectful, and hopefully that’ll pay off with the community,” she said. “We don’t want to scare people from going off campus, especially since there’s been such an effort to get students off campus and into the community.”

Possible solutions for easing the tensions were discussed, including student government taking a more active role in communication between the University and law enforcement, as well as gathering official reports of police incidences, to ensure students are being treated fairly.

“It’s not that we’re opposed to doing it in the long run, we just want to make sure we’re going about it in the right way,” student body vice president Andrew Bell said. “That’s something we’re working on, collecting information in a formal way.”

Also on the agenda was the response to the administration’s Rent-a-Text program. New to Notre Dame this year, the numbers are already indicating the program’s success.

“Rent-a-Text is going really well. We have almost 35 percent of the titles rentable, which is the eighth-highest in the nation,” Soler said.

Nick Ruof, chief of staff, then briefed the council on the results of last year’s reform of duLac.

“If you get a verbal or written warning from ResLife, it’s not reported, but anything above that does,” Ruof said. “They also did a lot of work with sexual assault and consent.”

“The Wall,” a newly-established location in LaFortune for student clubs to advertise upcoming events, was also a topic of discussion. The project was led by Brandon Vo, director of communications, who will serve as contact for student groups looking to advertise.

“We really want to encourage everyone to tell their groups they can submit their events,” Soler said.

Also discussed were upcoming events including the Dillon Pep Rally and StuGov 101.

“They have some improvements,” Bell said. “The stage will be taller. Again, there will be a section saved for students. They have a top of the line speaker system. The entire football team will be there. We encourage everyone to go.”