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Student coalition seeks to promote human dignity

Dan Brombach | Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity formed this semester with the goal of fostering communication among clubs working on issues of human dignity, as well as raising awareness of the work these clubs do on campus.

Freshman organizer Matt Caponigro said the coalition derives its strength from the cohesion and spirit of cooperation shared among its member groups.

“We thought that maybe if we started a dialogue with each other that we could help each other to move forward on some of these human dignity issues, to be more effective and reach out to more people,” he said.

Caponigro said the Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity was founded as a passionate answer to a heartfelt request from Father Jenkins.

“The coalition is our response to Father Jenkins’ call to make this university a healing, unifying and enlightening force in a world that’s deeply in need,” he said.  “That has been our rallying call.”

Caponigro said the coalition is inspired and driven by Notre Dame’s special status as a university focused on social concerns issues.

“We at [Notre Dame] have a unique calling, especially among other universities, to do some real good for our brothers and sisters to start serious dialogue about human dignity issues,” he said.

Caponigro said the coalition hopes to become a powerful advocate for human dignity by bringing together a diverse spectrum of clubs and individuals from across campus.

“We want to build a coalition that bridges the gap between students, administrators and faculty members so that we can be truly effective in restoring human dignity to all people,” he said.

The coalition has already grown to include organizations such as Right to Life and the Black Student Association, and hopes to further expand as it becomes better organized, Caponigro said.

He said the coalition is empowered by its diverse membership, but this diversity can complicate its ability to make unified decisions.

“The coalition revolves around partnership, sitting down at the table and talking about what we’ve been working on,” he said, “But it’s tricky, because there are a lot of different people at the table.”

In the future, the coalition hopes to host a signature event before the end of the year to raise awareness and encourage student participation in the fight for human dignity, Carponigro said.

“We’re hoping to do something like a concert on South Quad that brings everybody together, that shows our classmates and the rest of the Notre Dame community that we really do care about human dignity issues,” he said.

Caponigro said he is excited for the coalition to forge closer bonds with Notre Dame as it matures and expands as an organization.

“We’re looking forward to developing stronger relationships with the administration and with our peers so that we can really work together as a unified front,” he said.