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Senators brainstorm community relations

Megan Doyle | Thursday, September 2, 2010

Student body president Catherine Soler and vice president Andrew Bell asked the Student Senate for ideas on how to better relations between Notre Dame and the South Bend community and for feedback on the beND campaign.

The beND campaign is designed to “unify all our University relations and off-campus efforts,” Soler said.

The campaign will focus on campus safety, good neighbor relations and community engagement, Soler said.

“At the forefront of our community relations and our efforts with law enforcement, we are up front about the fact that this is in no way an attempt to make underage drinking legal,” Soler said. “As student leaders, we try to improve things that are going to be productive in the long run.”

“People want specifics about what their rights are when they are dealing with police,” Breen-Phillips senator Erin Burke said. “They want to know what the truth is.”

Siegfried senator Kevin McDermott suggested voter registration efforts on campus through the Center for Social Concerns should branch out to off campus students to promote responsible citizenship.

“I did read the Good Neighbor Guide recently and thought it was really well put together,” Carroll Hall senator John Sanders said. “But the alcohol section that seems to be so important right now was just a few paragraphs so maybe it needs an addendum.”

More prominent information about Transpo will also educate students about their options off campus and how to safely travel through South Bend, Off Campus Concerns Committee chair Emily LeStrange said.

The offcampus.nd.edu website also presents students living both on and off campus with resources about the South Bend community, LeStrange said.

Committee chairs in the Senate meeting also reported brief plans for their projects outside of beND during the upcoming year.

“Our goal for social concerns this year is to clarify service opportunities on campus for students,” Social Concerns chair Patrick McCormick said.

Service opportunities abound for students at Notre Dame but many students have complained they do not know where to find clear information about these needs, he said.

McCormick said the Social Concerns Committee will collaborate with web design students to create serve.nd.edu, a “clearing house” for all possible service opportunities on campus.

Multicultural commissioner Brigitte Githinji said her plans for the year include the creation of a diversity certificate to prompt students to choose courses intended to broaden their worldview.

“We are also working on a possible lecture series to show the importance of diversity for years after Notre Dame and especially in the workplace,” Githinji said.

Pangborn senator Tierney Roche said members of her dorm thought security in student parking lots needed more attention after several girls experienced car break-ins. The University Affairs

Committee would investigate this problem further, committee chair Chase Riddle said.

Soler and Bell encouraged the senate to represent the concerns of students as “the elected voice” of their dorms and continue to bring forward campus concerns as the meetings progressed.