Senate discusses findings of the Notre Dame Voice Summit
Erik Finch-Soto | Thursday, September 2, 2021
On Wednesday night, the Notre Dame student senate convened for its second meeting of the fall semester to discuss the reports from the Notre Dame Voice Summit.
Senior Megan Rogers, president of Design for America Notre Dame, took the floor to voice the concerns and opinions of students who participated in the Summit. The Notre Dame Voice Summit, a project associated with the Office of the Provost, Student Government and Design for America, aimed to tackle the question of what campus life would look like after the COVID-19 pandemic and how students feel about the future of Notre Dame.
In April, the Voice Summit gathered over 100 faculty, staff and students to hear their fears or concerns about the next academic school year after the pandemic. Rogers said many of the debates about hybrid learning that arise this semester could affect the academic resources on campus for years to come. Last year, as a part of hybrid learning, students took advantage of the more accessible virtual office hours and professor accessibility, but some worry that these measures may not carry over to the 2021-22 school year.
Through an activity called “The Why Ladder,” Rogers and her associates attempted to understand the reasoning behind students enjoying the additional academic amenities and understand the real impact they had on students.
“We brought people together to ask… why?” Rogers said. “You can take the bright spots [of hybrid learning] and then pollinate the dark spots with the brightness.”
An anonymous chemical engineering student who participated in the study was one of many who were highlighted in the meeting about their comments on professor relationships. They, along with other students, had expressed how having the personal connection with the professor made them more motivated in the classroom.
The senate felt that the Voice Summit’s research and findings share insight into preferences that may not have been voiced otherwise. Rogers and everyone associated with the summit plan to continue its research with underclassmen and invite students to keep this initiative active by participating in its future summits.
The senate also briefly discussed the preparations for the upcoming National Suicide Prevention Week. Notre Dame plans to spend the next week raising awareness for mental health promotion through events and discussions. The senate discussed events such as the Grotto candle lighting ceremony and the suicide prevention discussions that would be presented by the department of Faith and Service as well as the department of Health and Well-being.
In an attempt to make suicide awareness more noticeable on campus, t-shirts will be distributed in the Duncan Student Center at the beginning of next week.