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Our kind of diversity

Pat Coveny | Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wow. My first Inside Column ever. And — you’ll agree with me after you read this — probably my last.

First, a confession. I wasn’t prepared for this. I realized I was supposed to write this about an hour ago. As I scrambled to find something to write about, I considered football (the forbidden fruit of Inside Columns), Notre Dame tradition, the Forum, even the epic South Bend tornado-that-wasn’t. I was clearly desperate for a topic.

I nearly folded. I tried to pawn this column off on another member of the Observer photo department. Then it hit me. Why not write about them? My staff.

Too boring, you say. Maybe a few of you even stopped reading right there. Clearly my brilliant idea of having photographers and graphic designers write these columns as well as writers was a disastrous proposition.

Nay I say to you! My staff is vibrant. Lively. Talented. And diverse.

Just take our nightly editors, for instance. There are five of us. Of the five, one is from Omaha, Neb. and is majoring in Computer Science (or ‘ComSci’ as she recently informed me). One is from the Seattle area and spent the summer digging up an ancient city in Albania. Another is originally from Vietnam and has the shortest e-mail address possible at Notre Dame. The fourth nightly editor is from New Mexico and is the only girl from Lewis Hall who I’ve ever met in my four years here. I am the boring one — the 2,504th person at Notre Dame from “near Chicago” and a typical political science major. But that’s not the point.

You’re probably asking “so what is the point?”

The point is that our staff is only a microcosm of Notre Dame. My first two friends here, four long years ago, were from Alaska and Colorado. My roommates when I arrived freshman year were from San Francisco, Mishawaka and Washington, D.C.

If I were a tour guide on campus, I know what I would say. To each prospective student and their parents, I would explain that — more than any other school I’ve visited — at the University of Notre Dame you will meet people who will act as foils for you.

They will challenge you. They will provoke you. They will infuriate you. They will hit on you. They will pray with you. Maybe they’ll even save your life (thanks, Chris Masoud!)

This student body is often criticized for its lack of diversity. If diversity is defined narrowly, I agree that Notre Dame is a little weak. But the student body here has a lot to offer — different perspectives, new arguments and fresh ideas. Don’t be afraid to share them.

Okay, so what was the point again?

Yeah, I’m not sure either. But you know what? I’m at 450 words — so here goes nothing. Hopefully my legacy isn’t based on this column.


Contact Pat Coveney at [email protected]

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.