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Activism workshop for admitted students showcases clubs, organizations

| Friday, April 16, 2021

Many first years arrive on campus feeling overwhelmed by the club fair and not sure how or where to start getting involved at Notre Dame.

First-year Anjali Pellegrin said she felt that way when she got to Notre Dame and felt called to help future students hit the ground running. She contacted her friend Dane Sherman about ways to help incoming students, especially those interested in political involvement and activism.

(Editor’s Note: Dane Sherman is a former news writer at The Observer.)

They decided to put together the ND Activism Workshop, a virtual panel designed to connect admitted students with student leaders on campus so that prospective students can start to form an idea of what their life would look like at Notre Dame, Pellegrin said.

“Being a first year, one of the most frustrating things was coming out of high school super involved, and then not having a place to put that energy into,” she said. “We hope to make that experience better for the people who come behind us, so they don’t have to go through that.”

Sherman said he felt similarly when he first arrived on campus, especially because he was not sure where to find students with interests like his own, which especially center around political activism.

“I was really scared coming to Notre Dame, that I wouldn’t find other people who were similarly politically engaged or active in the same ways that I wanted to be in my college experience,” he said.

The two noted they knew about an event Stanford had thrown for admitted students which showcased organizations on campus. However, Notre Dame said they did not want to participate in the workshop, so Pellegrin and Sherman decided to organize it on their own.

Sherman said he was optimistic about the workshop despite Notre Dame not wanting to collaborate, because throwing it independently has allowed them to showcase what life is really like as a Notre Dame student.

“It’s going to be a very real event in the sense that it’s run by current students. We want to provide that experience for people who are considering coming to Notre Dame and give them an understanding of what it means to be a Notre Dame student,” he said.

Pellegrin and Sherman said they wanted to include a variety of organizations that reflect campus life, including those that do work on campus, in South Bend and even on the national level. Some of the clubs attending include Irish for Reproductive Health, Right to Life, Sunrise South Bend and the Student Policy Network.

“We decided that we wanted to be very upfront about the political diversity that exists on our campus,” Pellegrin said. “There’s a lot of these kids with a wide array of interests, and I want to be sure that we’re catering to everyone.”

At the workshop, each organization will have a few minutes to speak, with time left at the end for questions, he said. Prospective students will also get the chance to be put into breakout rooms with organizations they found particularly compelling so that they can learn more and become connected before arriving to campus.

Pellegrin said they were able spread the word about the ND Activism Workshop through Instagram, especially by collaborating with the ND Class of 2025 account owners.

She said she hopes that students who attend realize the scope of the communities there are on Notre Dame’s campus and feel encouraged to attend the university.

“I hope first and foremost that the students that come can see that Dane and I are organizing this because we love our university, because we care about it,” she said. “It’s possible to recognize the flaws of your university and still love it. We want to let people know that there is a place for their thought and their passions here on campus.”

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