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Multicultural clubs must publicize

Sarah Mervosh | Monday, March 30, 2009

A survey of international and multicultural students suggested that multicultural and international clubs or events need better publicity, Diversity Council Representative Brigitte Githinji said.

“I noted that people who answered said they had not participated in any of these events or had not heard of them because they were not well publicized,” Githinji said. “Because of this, [the clubs] tend to be more inclusive in their nature.”

Githinji also said she would like to see more of a focus on helping multicultural and international students who attend Notre Dame want to stay. Currently, groups are focused on increasing diversity in the incoming class, but the problem lies in multicultural or international students wishing to transfer, she said.

“There is nothing focusing on keeping the students here,” she said.

Githinji said that from the survey, it seems it is more likely that the multicultural or international students will want to transfer after the first year “because they aren’t comfortable.”

“The whole first year is a struggle between staying and not staying,” she said.

Githinji said in order to help address this issue, she would like to see more of a “joint effort” between the groups within and outside of Student Government that focus on diversity.

She said she foresees the task force carrying over to next year. However, recommendations for next year may include the formation of a task force that focuses on retention, rather than recruiting, of multicultural and international students.

CLC also discussed feasible ways to apply the idea of the Medical Amnesty Policy, which would protect students who have been drinking from getting in trouble while helping an intoxicated friend who is hurt or sick.

Chief Executive Assistant Karen Koski said her task force was to meet with a representative from the Office of Residence Life and Housing to “get some feedback about our ideas [because] this is definitely going to need to be a collaborative effort.”

Koski said her task force plans to send a survey to hall staffs to determine how the policy would affect them. She also said they plan to create a form with which a member of hall staff could give a recommendation of amnesty when the case is sent to the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

Koski said her task force hopes to have a recommendation on the Medical Amnesty Policy by the end of the year, but if nothing else, her task force will create an objective report on what they have accomplished this year so that the next administration can decide whether or not they want to continue it.

Student body president Bob Reish said the task force on the relationship between off-campus students and the University is planning to analyze the information that it has gathered from other schools similar to Notre Dame and from the student survey in order to decipher what Notre Dame needs.

He said they will divide the information into three groups – students who are currently living off-campus, students who will be moving off-campus and incoming freshmen – to see “if there is a progression as a student moves through his or her life at Notre Dame.”

Reish said the task force plans to make a recommendation by the end of the year about whether the resources currently in place are sufficient for off-campus students or whether they need to be improved.

Student body vice president Grant Schmidt said his task force is still working on ideas for improving agenda.nd.edu. He said he will meet with the individual in charge of agenda.nd.edu later this week.

Schmidt also said there is a possibility that a student-built Web site could replace agenda.nd.edu

“There are several classes that are taking a data base course … And it’s basically a competition to design something similar to what we have with agenda.nd.edu,” Schmidt said.

“We’re going to have to look into that a little bit further,” Schmidt said. But ideally, one of these student built Web sites could be used, he said.

Schmidt said his task force aims is to finish its goals by the end of the year.