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ND clubs support students

Melissa Flanagan | Wednesday, December 1, 2010

With finals approaching, many students will begin to receive packages of study snacks and treats not only from their family, but also from their hometown’s Notre Dame Club.

The Notre Dame Clubs, located in major areas around the country, are largely made up of alumni. Aside from the highly anticipated finals packages, many students do not know the scope of what these clubs actually do.

Susan Darin Hagan, an administrator of the Notre Dame Club of Pittsburgh, said that their send-off event for incoming freshmen each summer is key to teaching students about the Club’s existence.

“We try to connect with students at the very beginning of their experience,” Hagan said. “That way the students start realizing there is such a thing as an alumni club and it’s active.”

For sophomore Jill Giunco, the send-off she attended for the Notre Dame Club of the Jersey Shore helped ease some of her fears about attending school in the fall.

“I really felt more comfortable about the ND community after seeing other kids in the same position as I was,” Giunco said. “I even met some people I’m still friends with today.”

Hagan said the Pittsburgh club’s most popular service is the buses that they provide for the five school year breaks.

“I think the students like it, but I know the parents love it,” Hagan said. “Cleveland is on the way to Pittsburgh, so I’ll even have students from Cleveland asking if they can pay the full amount and be dropped off along the way.”

Another service the Pittsburgh club provides for the parents is assisting them in buying tickets for football games. Hagan said parents are only offered tickets for certain games, so the club tries to help them find tickets if the would like to visit the University a different weekend.

Another main event for the Pittsburgh club is its networking evenings. The club brings in professionals from various fields to meet current students, Hagan said.

“It’s not solely to find jobs but really more to make some contacts, maybe pass out a business card and get some questions answered,” Hagan said.

Katherine Piscopo Stein, president of the Notre Dame Club of Long Island, said her club also tries to help students with networking.

“If students want internships or jobs, we encourage them to contact us,” Stein said. “It really depends on what the student needs, but we’ll do what we can.”

The Notre Dame Clubs are also involved in organizing the University’s Summer Service Learning Programs. Hagan said this is one of the most time-consuming activities the Pittsburgh Club organizes.

“We tailor our SSLP to the actual students and what their desires are,” Hagan said. “We spend time convincing places to allow our students to come in and work for eight weeks.”

For the Long Island Club, Stein said most of their SSLP students are Long Island natives.

“We can’t really dorm someone here so in the past we’ve usually gone with students who have a place to stay,” Stein said.

Additionally, the Long Island Club sponsors pizza breaks during study days and activities for students to participate in while at home, Stein said. These events in New York take place not only over the summer but also over breaks.

“Two years ago when Notre Dame [basketball] played St. John’s, we did a big event since it was over winter break,” Stein said. “All the current students were invited.”

While still at school, students are looking forward to pizza from the clubs during finals week. Sophomore Chris Carr said he enjoys receiving packages from the Notre Dame Club of Detroit during finals.

“It’s just a nice thing to get rid of some of the stress from finals and studying,” Carr said.