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Administrators address residential life changes, faculty research at town hall

| Friday, September 29, 2017

The University conducted a series of faculty town halls across Wednesday and Thursday to answer questions from Notre Dame employees and address various projects and policy changes on campus.

University provost Thomas Burish discussed research conducted by Notre Dame faculty members. He said Notre Dame has a turbomachinery lab in South Bend where researchers can test airplane engines under simulated conditions.

“They don’t have to experiment or try to run it through a computer, build it and see what happens,” he said. “They can just test it in this lab because it’s the real life conditions. It’s the only laboratory in the world that can do this. It’s not just a research project.”

University executive vice president John Affleck-Graves speaks at a town hall Wednesday.Katelyn Valley | The Observer

University executive vice president John Affleck-Graves speaks at a town hall Wednesday.

Burish also highlighted the involvement of the Kellogg and Kroc Institutes in Columbia. The Columbian president negotiated a peace treaty between rebels and the government, who have been engaged in a civil war for years, Burish said. Both the government and rebel forces appointed three members to a committee tasked with writing the treaty.

“They each appointed three individuals, and those six people would get together and see if they could come up with a resolution,” Burish said. “One of the three appointed by the president was a Notre Dame faculty member. Doug Castle was his name. They created a treaty. All six agreed.”

Executive vice president John Affleck-Graves discussed the construction projects currently in progress at the University.

“[Rolf’s] will be closing in January, and we’ll start to remodel it for the two basketball teams,” he said. “Because many of us use the rec sports center — either for exercising or for basketball — what we’ve done is we’re moving all the rec sports equipment into the Duncan Student Center.”

Affleck-Graves said Notre Dame will likely begin the project of building a new men’s dormitory in March of 2018.

“Early next year, we’ll start this project, and we’re hoping to have a new men’s residence hall in August of 2019,” he said. “So it will probably take us 16 to 17 months to do this. It will look very much like Flaherty and Dunne.”

The University is also constructing a new facility with water chillers and a 2 million-gallon water tank, Affleck-Graves said.

“We’ll run them mainly at night because at night, electricity is cheaper,” he said. “You can buy it off the grid. We can run the chillers, and we can make cold water more cheaply.”

Affleck-Graves, Burish and University President Fr. John Jenkins answered questions from faculty concerning the new facilities, changes in University policies and parking.

In response to a question about the changes to housing requirements, Jenkins said he felt they will help form stronger communities in residence halls.

“The reason we decided to do that is we really do believe it’s an important part of a Notre Dame education, just as we require philosophy and theology and math and science,” he said. “So we feel this is an important part of a Notre Dame education.”

When asked if the number of students enrolled at Notre Dame would increase following the construction of the new men’s residence hall, Jenkins said it would not.

“We feel we’re about the right size,” he said. “We don’t want to get to such a big, impersonal place we don’t know one another. We have about a little over 8,000 undergraduates and we think that’s about the right size, so we’re going to stay there.”

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