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ICYMI: editorials, news and goodbyes 

| Friday, May 13, 2022

To those may be new to the commencement addition, every year, the graduating seniors of The Observer write these columns as our final farewell. For mine, I would like to highlight the work of this past year’s Editorial Board at The Observer, and a few other pieces as well. 

Every full week of class, the Observer’s Editorial Board writes an editorial on topics timely to the culture of our communities. Topics have ranged from COVID-19 protocols to thanking the staff on our campuses. Our ed board consists of the top five editors and all the department editors, roughly 16 people in the 2021-2022 term, who take turns drafting the editorials.

In case you missed it, here are some of our editorials I’d like to revisit. We wrote many times in favor of increased inter-religious relations in the student body culture and in the administration. In April of 2021, we called on the students to take tangible action against antisemitism, including calling out antisemitic jokes and comments made by friends, classmates and peers and seeking education on microaggressions. As a primarily white and majority Catholic student body, it is up to the individual to be aware of their words, actions and attitudes. 

In January of 2022, we wrote on a similar topic in Meeting non-Catholic students where they are. In this research and interview driven editorial, we advocate for the University to create a better climate of inclusion and normalize religious practices that are not Catholic. We asked readers to hear and respond to the calls from Muslim and Jewish students to create more physical spaces of prayer for their spiritual needs. We asked the University to amplify the resources available for non Catholic students, such as halal meals in the dining halls, in more highly visible, proactive ways. We wrote these editorials to challenge the unfortunate “archetype” of the Notre Dame student: white and Catholic. Students of all races, ethnicities, religions and identities should be the picture of Notre Dame students. I hope in the years to come, there is a greater visibility of resources for non Catholic students and an environment that fosters a culture of many religious perspectives at Notre Dame. 

On a similar topic, I’d like to also remember the Love Thee Love All editorial, in which we celebrated the presence of our LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and our staff at The Observer, all including those who are not out. Our campus is a rich and beautiful place because of you and your accomplishments. The University has taken commendable strides towards an equitable environment of support for LGBTQ+ students and other community members in recent years, such as the ability to now change preferred names on the campus ID cards and the establishment of the Alumni Rainbow Community (ARC ND), the official LGBTQ+ alumni association club. Of course, further change such as the addition of sexuality and gender identity to the University’s nondiscrimination clause would be welcome. However, we commend these efforts — because of the University’s Catholic identity and not in spite of it — to create a community that promotes the flourishing of its members. 

Additional editorials I’d like to remember were the various ones on support and resources for low-income students, community with the tri-campus, especially Saint Mary’s students in the face of misogyny, and standing up against sexual violence and misconduct on college campuses. Also in case you missed it, the newest ed board (2022-2023) just wrote an incredible editorial celebrating women of tri-campus history and on the ways students can support local communities in South Bend

The Observer has done fantastic work over the last year, work I am proud and honored to be a part of. Many of our best stories can be found with Indiana Collegiate Press Awards attached to them — including our investigation into the culture of the now closed Zahm House, our coverage on Brian Kelly’s departure from Notre Dame and our coverage of Saint Mary’s students activism in face of Notre Dame elitism, not to mention some memorable graphic design, introspective Scene reviews on politics and pop culture, thrilling football photos and captivating stories from our Archives team. I’m so proud of each and every person who worked on these stories, photos and designs at every stage, from the copy editors to the writers to the layout workers to our social media team. Thank you for making The Observer and by extension, our campuses, what it is. 

Thus concludes my ICYMI. And ICYMI, I will miss it — The Observer and its people. To the underclassmen at The Observer, the dedication and countless hours you have given are not unseen. I know you will take The Observer to great heights. To the new ed board — it’s already been such a good year. To watch you all grow over the past two years and now take leadership has never made me feel quite so much like a mother duck. To Alysa Guffey, The Observer’s new Editor-in-Chief — I will miss you! I’ll never forget nervously being trained, by you, to work the beginner’s production shift. You’ve been the most supportive work friend (and friend). Keep up the good work. 

To the old ed board — I will miss you guys. Student journalism, especially the independent work we do at The Observer, is so important to our community and all of you embodied its mission fearlessly. Thank you for the months and months of memories.

To my fellow emeritus Assistant Managing Editors Colin Capece and Nelisha Silva, emeritus Managing Editor Evan McKenna, and emeritus Editor-in-Chief Adriana Perez: I’ve seen all of your truly innumerable hours of effort put into running this newspaper. I’m inspired by you all every day, best of work friends and best of friends. Thank you for making The Observer a family for me. 

To Deb — thank you for keeping us going year after year and for keeping our office in South Dining Hall a home, I’ll never forget it. To think of all the students who will pass through it in the future warms my heart. 

TLDR: Long live independent student journalism, and long live The Observer.

Isabella Volmert will be graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a major in English and minors in theology and the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. A St. Louis area native, she will be working at the Dallas Morning News this summer as a local news reporting intern. Contact her at [email protected] after graduation with any tips and Dallas recommendations. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Isabella Volmert

Isabella Volmert is a senior majoring in English and minoring in theology and journalism, ethics and democracy at the University of Notre Dame. She served The Observer as assistant managing editor during its 2021-2022 editorial term. Follow her @ivolmertnews for niche Twitter content.

Contact Isabella