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Senior Class Council tickets vie for votes

| Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Two tickets will compete to be elected to the executive board for Senior Class Council. Elections will take place today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to Judicial Council. Because tickets for Junior Class Council and Sophomore Class Council ran unopposed, they were declared winners by Student Senate last Wednesday.

ClassCouncilFINALEric Richelsen

Senior Class Council

Katelyn Wray, Clare Geraghty, Zach Bequette and Celanire Flagg designed their platform to focus on four main pillars — experiencing the city of South Bend, providing outlets for students to develop professionally, building lasting memories with friends and leaving a class-wide legacy at Notre Dame.

“Utilizing the diversity of the senior class, we strive to have programs that bring the entire community together and create opportunities for people who may no longer be involved through dorm life,” Wray, the ticket’s presidential candidate, said in an email.

Wray said the ticket has identified events affiliated with each pillar that are both feasible and innovative, including a signature class of 2017 event during Antostal, a class service day and an event for seniors to take professional headshots to use in résumés or portfolios.

“Remember how fun Hip-Hop Night was freshman year? We are going to make Legends great again with Senior Night. Live music, cheap drinks and all of our friends in one place — Legends, as Legends was meant to be,” she said.

Wray, Geraghty and Flagg all served on Sophomore Class Council, and Wray currently serves as vice president of Junior Class Council. Geraghty, the ticket’s vice presidential candidate, now serves as Cavanaugh Hall president. Bequette serves on the Club Coordination Council, which allocates funds to student groups on campus and facilitates University-club interactions, in addition to being a member of the officer board of the club sailing team.

Geraghty said the ticket’s top priority is to foster a tight-knit class community, despite the fact many seniors live off campus.

“It can be difficult to have class cohesion when everyone has such diverse involvement and interests within the Notre Dame community,” she said. “ … It is our goal to extend our reach to the entire class by putting on events that all members of the class will genuinely enjoy. We are dedicated to bringing the class together for a final year under the dome and making memories to last a lifetime.”

The other ticket for Senior Class Council consists of Patrick Tinsley, Noelle Gooding, Jake Dunigan and Andrew Thomas. The campaign said the central theme of its platform is “the notion of building bridges.”

“Senior year, for many, represents a number of separations — separating from your on-campus friends if you move off campus, separating from college life when you graduate and separations between different aspects of Notre Dame student life as a whole,” Tinsley, the ticket’s presidential candidate, said in an email. “Our goal is to bridge those separations.”

The ticket hopes to work with University administration to improve the shuttle system to and from off-campus housing sites and designate certain parking spots closer to academic buildings for off-campus students for a limited period of time during the day, Tinsley said.

At the core of our platform lies a tremendous respect for next year’s graduating class,” he said. “As to-be seniors ourselves, we respect the remaining time we have at this university, time that should be used most effectively during our last year.”

Tinsley said that if elected, the ticket also plans to host regional mixers that would allow students to meet classmates that plan to work in the same city after graduation.

“Meeting some other soon-to-be Notre Dame alums who also will be living in an area might help ease that transition and provide you with a built-in network of friends before you ever arrive at your job,” he said.

No members of the ticket have served on a class council before, which Tinsley said would allow the group to provide a fresh perspective to the role. Tinsley served as the Transfer Welcome Weekend co-commissioner last fall and is currently the Student Union Board representative for Alumni Hall and a dorm judicial council member. Gooding is president of Notre Dame’s branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has been active in her dorm’s hall council in the past. Dunigan co-founded and is currently vice president of Notre Dame’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, while Thomas currently serves as the Stanford Hall senator.

The ultimate goal of the ticket is to bring seniors together with events like class Grotto trips, service projects, South Bend Cubs games, a senior class formal and a revamped Senior Week, Tinsley said.

“It’s our last ride — we want to make it count,” he said. “Four years is all we get with our friends, roommates and fellow Domers. In recognition of the fleeting nature of our college years, we are hoping to provide several events for the senior class as a whole to better cherish and appreciate our final year together.”

Junior Class Council

Sara Dugan, Janet Stengle, Paul Stevenson and Matthew Peters said they hope to foster a sense of unity between members of the junior class, both on campus and in study abroad locations.

“For the first time since we have gotten to Notre Dame, our class will be significantly separated,” Peters, who will assume the position of secretary, said in an email. “We will be divided by oceans, with students studying in countries across the globe. Furthermore, our class will be significantly subdivided into their respective majors. For these reasons and many more, it is not hard for the junior class to appear divided or fragmented. It is our goal to mitigate these effects.”

The executive board plans to increase advertising for class council events, such as South Bend Cubs games and brother-sister dorm Olympics, to increase participation and maintain accountability, Dugan, Junior Class Council president-elect, said.

“Junior Year is a unique time for students at Notre Dame,” she said. “As the Junior Class Council executive board, we really want to focus our efforts on catering specifically to those unique qualities. In addition, we hope to bring the Junior Class Council’s events to the attention of campus by staying visible, both online and around campus, and to stay accountable to our goals by adhering to the plans we make at the beginning of our term.”

Dugan currently serves as Parliamentarian for the Ricketts-Ruelas administration and works as a student assistant in the Student Activities Office. Both Stengle and Stevenson served on Freshman Class Council and Sophomore Class Council. Stevenson also works for the Orientation Steering Committee and the University Communications Department. Peters has had no student government experience. 

Stengle, who will serve as vice president, said they plan to restructure Junior Class Council based on feedback and experiences from previous years.

“Our goal is to assign task forces during the council application process based on work style, strengths and personalities to ensure that each event is executed to its fullest potential,” she said. “This will also allow for members of the council to hold greater responsibility and to build camaraderie through collaboration.

Sophomore Class Council

Michael Conlon, Mary Ninneman, Jane Driano and Chris Lembo said they hope to recognize the diversity of their class and use it to bring people together during the upcoming year.

“We would like to be a more open class council,” Conlon, who will assume the role of president, said in an email. “It is our responsibility to serve our constituents in the class of 2019 and to promote their ideas in future decision-making.”

Conlon said his executive board plans to host events that promote class unity through prayer, service and fun.

“There is no better instrument of unification than serving our South Bend community,” he said. “Additionally, we will offer opportunities to reflect on our Notre Dame experience together.”

All four members on the ticket serve as officers on the current Freshmen Class Council, Conlon said.

“With our previous student government involvement and individual interests, we look forward to serving our class for another year to the best of our abilities,” he said. “We have formed extensive connections in the Notre Dame administration and the other class councils, and we look forward to collaborating with and expanding our network to further foster community within our class.”

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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