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University approves 28 new student clubs

Marisa Iati | Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Twenty-eight new student clubs will join over 300 already-established groups on campus this fall, said David Mattingly, program coordinator for the Student Activities Office (SAO).

“Notre Dame student interests are truly diverse, and our thriving club community reflects that,” Mattingly said.

Junior Amanda Bruening will oversee the launch of Notre Dame’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-ND). As president of the chapter, Bruening hopes to address the issue of mental disorder in the lives of students. NAMI-ND was one of the groups recently granted probationary club status by SAO and the Club Coordination Council (CCC).

“Our main objective is to offer support for those students who are fighting mental illness, to raise awareness and to end the stigma that surrounds any discussion of these issues,” she said.

Bruening said she believed NAMI-ND’s work could have been an asset to the student body last year, when suicides shocked both the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses.

“Last year, in the midst of our work to make NAMI-ND a reality, we lost two students to suicide,” she said. “To say that was painful was an understatement. It would be insulting if we did not stand up as a community to say, ‘We support you.'”

NAMI-ND held its first event Thursday at Reckers, when alumna and author Julie Hersh spoke about her battle with depression. Bruening plans to create a depression support group, host movie nights and initiate a community walk to unite people battling mental illness and honor lives lost.

Bruening also wants to bring Frank Warren to campus next year. Warren is the creator of PostSecret.com, a website where individuals anonymously share secrets, many of which are related to suicide and mental illness.

Engineers Without Borders: Notre Dame, another newly approved club, aims to implement sustainable engineering projects and create responsible leaders, senior and club co-president Mike Oliver said.

“Over the next year, we’ll adopt a [domestic or foreign] community and serve them to sustainably meet their basic human needs,” Oliver said. “Meanwhile, our members will gain enriched global perspectives through the innovative educational opportunities.”

Oliver said the club’s foremost goal is to make life better for those in need.

“At a university so integrated with the ideas of faith and service, Engineers Without Borders provides the perfect opportunity for all students, not just engineers, to use their education and knowledge to make a difference in the world,” he said. “We have big hopes for our student chapter, and we believe that many students will really excel in it.”

Among the other new student groups are the Taiwanese Student Association, Club Tennis and the Undergraduate Philosophy Club, Mattingly said.

Students may suggest a new club during proposal periods each semester, according to the SAO website. To propose a club, students must complete a packet containing a proposal form, a Constitution, an officer registration form, a tentative schedule of events, a tentative budget and approval from any relevant campus departments. They then must schedule a proposal submission meeting.

Students whose clubs are approved by SAO and CCC must also attend a new club orientation program within the first two full months of the academic calendar after the club was recognized.

While some of the new clubs have very specific mission statements and intended student demographics, Mattingly said the multitude of campus clubs caters to nearly every student interest and helps enhance students’ college experiences.

“They bring new events, opportunities and communities to Notre Dame to enrich campus life,” he said.