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2019 Notre Dame Class Council Reviews

| Thursday, December 12, 2019

First-Year Class Council

After First-Year Class Council (FCC) representatives were elected at the beginning of the semester, they jumped right into planning their first events.

In November, FCC hosted a concession stand for the Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame game on South Quad, which attracted 300 to 400 people, raising close to $3,000 to use for events throughout the year.

President Sierra Stinson said FCC then used some of the money they raised to fund their class dance, themed “Throw Down For Your Hometown,” where people dressed up in clothes that represented where they are from.

To kick off the holiday season, FCC’s service committee presented “Operation Gratitude: Military Mail,” in the first week of December, which gave students an opportunity to write holiday letters to troops overseas set up at tables in North and South Dining Hall.

Although their plans are still tentative, Stinson said she and her representatives are looking forward to hosting a service event next semester to benefit the greater Michiana area. They are also considering planning another Grotto trip that invites the whole first-year class reminiscent of the candle lighting ceremony during Welcome Weekend, which brought the whole class together for the first time.

“We think it would be great to have a reconnecting moment before we begin our journey into next semester,” Stinson said.

While Stinson did not initially plan on running for class council, she feels she has been able to experience the Notre Dame community to a fuller extent as a result.

“I wanted to be voice for my class, and all of the people I have met have been amazing,” Stinson said.

 

Sophomore Class Council

President Jordan Theriault said although Sophomore Class Council (SoCC) primarily functions as a programming club, they felt a responsibility this semester to navigate Residential Life’s off-campus differentiation policy in a manner that reflects their sophomore class’s interests.

“I think a lot of people turn to us, the class council, to mediate with the administration,” Theriault said.

To this extent, Theriault said SoCC has reached out to the administration to discuss the changes and organized a 60-minute forum in the Dahnke Ballroom with Heather Rakoczy Russell to allow students to voice their questions and concerns regarding the policy. The SoCC interviewed Russell, focusing on the policy’s implementation, purpose and developments.

SoCC began the semester with “YoGrotto,” a class yoga and Grotto trip, followed by a bonfire on Holy Cross Hill, complete with s’mores, hot chocolate and Rise’n’Roll.

Theriault said one of the favorite events of the semester was ND Heroes. Setting up tables in Duncan Student Center, SoCC supplied cards for around 100 to 150 students to write letters of appreciation to hall staff and campus dining staff for the work they do.

In November, SCC held a half-court challenge in Rockne Memorial, giving away $50 gift cards to the Hammes Bookstore. To end the semester, SoCC held a class ice skating event in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Next semester, SoCC looks forward to hosting the annual Gatsby dance, and Theriault said they plan on “continuing to engage the class in the best way possible.”

 

Junior Class Council

With a large portion of the junior class studying abroad, president Sam Cannova said Junior Class Council (JCC) knew they would face challenges in rallying students to come together for events.

“We sought to strike a balance between active and passive events — passive events, like food giveaways to fit into students schedules, and active events, dances, to create an inclusive space for students to engage with each other,” Cannova said.

For Mental Health Week in October, JCC partnered with the Center for Student Well-Being to supply materials for people to paint their own succulents, and they gave away fresh berries with positive notes in Duncan Student Center.

To round out October, JCC held a blanket tying event in LaFortune Student Center to donate blankets to St. Margaret’s House in South Bend, which provides hospitality to local homeless women and children. JCC also organized Fall Fest, complete with mini pumpkin painting, Rise’n Roll donuts and apple cider.

In celebration of National Jersey Day, JCC held an ND basketball, hockey and football jersey raffle and concert featuring junior performers in Haggerty Family Café.

This December JCC held this first-ever Snow Ball Charity Dance in Dahnke Ballroom to benefit Adopt-A-Family Christmas Initiative, College Mentors for Kids and Camp Sweeney. Cannova said they ultimately sold out of tickets and raised over $3,000 in donations from tickets and T-shirts they sold.

Next semester JCC plans on bringing more service opportunities to campus, creating merchandise for Junior Parents Weekend and possibly hosting a pool party on South Quad.

 

Senior Class Council

To bring the class together during their last year, Senior Class Council (SCC) has hosted weekly Senior Sunday events in the Dahnke Ballroom to give seniors a space to eat, study and connect with each other.

President Joe Witt said SCC particularly likes holding Senior Sundays because they are able to give seniors a guaranteed space of their own on campus for an afternoon, which can attract students living on and off campus. Over the course of the four hours, they usually see around 200 to 300 people pass through.

Although planning events this year has been more challenging than the other years Witt’s been on class council, he said they have been working hard to make it a great last year for seniors.

“I think senior year presents a slightly different dilemma to a programming group activities because some people live off campus, so you have to be more creative about what you’re doing to get people to come to your events,” Witt said.

For the third year, Witt said SCC hosted Thanks-a-Latte where they sold $5 Starbucks gift cards and provided stationery for cards to allow students, faculty and staff to send their appreciation to people on campus. In honor of the holidays, SCC held a Christmas event called “Making Spirits Bright” in Foley’s of O’Neill Hall where they held a cash bar for drinks.

For next semester, Witt said he’s looking forward to the annual 100 Days Dance along with a ski trip, a Notre Dame scavenger hunt and possibly a senior podcast.

 

Off Campus Council

Off Campus Council (OCC) president Katie O’Sullivan said in addition to planning events to bring the off-campus community together, the council has been trying to work with the administration regarding the new Residential Life changes announced in the spring.

Although OCC had met with administrators a few times since the beginning of the year, O’Sullivan said they have not seen much headway.

“We feel like we keep hitting walls,” O’Sullivan said. “We don’t think the administration is very responsive to this issue, but we’re going to keep trying for next semester.”

While the struggle with Residential Life has been ongoing, O’Sullivan said OCC has also had difficulties planning events with a smaller budget than the other class councils. As a result, OCC has held fewer events over the course of the semester.

In October, OCC kicked off the year with an off-campus resource and engagement fair for students to learn more about off-campus housing options from 10 to 15 landlords in the community. In addition to the housing information, representatives from NDSP and the Center for Student Well-Being among others were also present to provide off-campus students resources in place of their hall staff and rectors.

O’Sullivan has been serving on class council for the past three years and reflecting on her last year at Notre Dame, she said she’s thankful for the opportunity.

“I’ve absolutely loved the experience,” O’Sullivan said. “The people serving on off-campus and class councils are incredibly dedicated and involved members of the community.”

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About Serena Zacharias

Serena is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She hails from the great cheese state of Wisconsin and currently serves as a New Writer Editor for the Observer.

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