Saint Mary’s students, allies celebrate Saint Mary’s on Smick Day
Genevieve Coleman | Friday, October 1, 2021
In response to negative comments made against Saint Mary’s students on Yik Yak, tri-campus student leaders encouraged the community to celebrate Saint Mary’s students on Thursday for Smick Day.
The event was held outside Dalloway’s and was complete with giveaways, lawn games and food. In addition, there were information tables hosted by South Bend’s Family Justice Center, Belles Supporting Belles, Notre Dame GreeNDot and Sexuality and Gender Equity.
Students also had the chance to donate to the Family Justice Center in memory of those who died by suicide.
Tri-campus student groups spoke about the implications of the comments, as well as a call for unity among the three campuses.
Residence Hall Association (RHA) president Kenzie Looney opened the comments with describing what a Smick means to her.
“A Smick is a sister, an ally, a friend and so much more,” Looney said. “To me, a Smick is someone who supports others, a Smick is welcoming to everyone. A Smick cares for this community so much and how to make it a better place for everyone.“
She also thought about past students and their response to Smick Day.
“Here at [Saint Mary’s], we have such a unique opportunity in that we get to share this amazing tri-campus community that is made up of Notre Dame, Holy Cross and ourselves,” Looney said. “The tradition between the three schools goes back generations and I’m sure the students of way back then would be so proud of us and be delighted to see us all here together today.”
Student Diversity Board (SDB) president Crystal Ramirez spoke about the importance of diversity among all Saint Mary’s students.
[Editor’s Note: Ramirez is an Associate News Editor at The Observer.]
“We are here to celebrate you, to support you and to stand by you as a community in times of hardship,” she said. “Every Smick is diverse. You all hold intersected identities that make you you and by being at Saint Mary’s makes you a Smick. These diverse backgrounds and identities that you all bring to campus make this a beautiful campus.”
In addition, Ramirez considered how the word “Smick” would be something used with pride by Saint Mary’s students.
“In the 177 years since the establishment of Saint Mary’s, Smick has become a term for the strong, powerful, brave, beautiful, intelligent and inspirational students of the Saint Mary’s campus,” Ramirez said. “We title ourselves Smick with pride because we’re all — and will continue to be — Smicks because Smicks is ours.”
Ramirez concluded by speaking about the respect necessary in dialogues between Saint Mary’s students and the tri-campus.
“You deserve respect,” she said. “The relationship we hold is one that demands mutual respect — a relationship that has started to mend, but we will not move forward until we are respected. We deserve an apology and it is up to you to accept.”
Student Activity Board (SAB) president Ashley Maul spoke about how the language used against Saint Mary’s students opposes what she sees everyday.
“The negative connotation of the word ‘Smick’ does not represent the group of women standing right before me,” she said. “That being said, we must reclaim the word ‘Smick’ and be represented of what this community of women truly has to offer.”
Class Council president Olivia Smagala spoke on the negative experiences Saint Mary’s students have experienced because of where they attend school.
“We all have experienced the stereotyping, the name calling and the comments of attending an all-girls school across from Notre Dame,” Smagala said. “But with each year, the strength and support of our sisterhood has become more evident. We have grown stronger and grown closer together, supporting each other in the process.”
Smagala said Saint Mary’s is a unique place that is more than its counterparts.
“We are here as students to discover and develop skills that will prepare us to make a difference in the world,” she said. “Always remember Saint Mary’s is more than the school across the street.”
Holy Cross Student Government chief of staff Mikayleigh Clark encourage both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students to participate in activities at the College and get to know its students.
Notre Dame student body president Allan Njomo commented on his hopes for the future of tri-campus relations.
“I first want to definitively say that we were so disheartened about the comments that we came across last week and the week before last week,” Njomo said. “As Student Government, we are in support of the Saint Mary’s community. We are here in any way we can be and beyond that, I think today is sort of an affirmative way to stand forward and to stand together against what has happened.”
Saint Mary’s Student Government Association president Elly Hanson concluded the evening by noting the need for compassion between the three campuses.
“With all the negative history that surrounds this incident, it was important for the student leaders on all three campuses to come together and make an event like this to show that we are all here to love and respect each other,” she said.
Hanson also condemned derogatory comments on Yik Yak about Lizzy Seeberg and those who died by suicide.
“The way that her name was dragged on the Yik Yak comments will never be okay and we don’t support that and we will support Lizzy and everyone we’ve lost [from] suicide,” Hanson said.