On Wednesday afternoon, the Notre Dame student senate convened in the Montgomery Auditorium of LaFortune Student Center to observe presentations on the Health Department Expo and the MiND workshop, as well as share announcements over upcoming topics.
Because senators were allowed to wear costumes, the meeting began with various senators sharing their Halloween costumes. Afterward, student body vice president Sofie Stitt began a roll call followed by a unanimous approval of minutes by the senators.
Sophomore Sisy Chen, director of Health and Wellness, delivered a presentation on updates regarding her department’s progress on certain initiatives, including a high turnout event during midterms week. She highlighted a service project at the Basilica with the director of faith Ben Nash in honor of National Suicide Prevention.
She proceeded to speak about upcoming initiatives, including one with Campus Dining to set aside tables at North and South Dining Halls for students who attend the dining hall alone to sit with each other.
“We’re setting aside tables for people if they’re going to the dining hall solo, or they don’t have friends that can have lunch with them that day, they can proxy down at the designated table and get to know someone,” Chen said.
Additionally, in late February, the dining halls will bring high-nutrient fruits, such as frozen fruits, avocado and other options. Finally, she spoke on the Code Red Initiative, intending to bring menstrual products to busy restrooms.
Paige Jackson, assistant director of the Multicultural Students Programs and Services (MSPS), presented the MiND Workshop to the senate. Jackson discussed Critical Race Theory and microaggressions and how to respond to them.
“Critical Race Theory suggests the gains of marginalized groups are only achievable within the overarching systems of structural racism,” she said.
Evidence of her claims included institutions such as prisons that perpetuate racism.
“Our races are social constructs that we have developed on our own,” she said.
Afterward, she moved toward the four types of microaggressions: the assumptions of criminality, exoticization, assumptions of intellectual inferiority and pathologizing cultural values. This, she said, is the consequence of racial battle fatigue.
To rid oneself of racial battle fatigue, she said, one must follow “R.A.V.E.N:” Redirecting the conversation or interaction, Asking probing questions, Value clarification, Emphasizing your own thoughts and offering concrete Next steps.
She ended her presentation by praising Notre Dame’s inclusiveness.
“We’re very proud,” she said. “We have our spirit of inclusion statement. We have our mission statement. We have Jesus right there on God Quad. We have our pillars. We are very grounded within CSC (Center for Social Concerns).”
McGlinn Hall senator Lauren Taylor discussed updates on SS223-10, a resolution to add self-scheduling appointments to University Health Services (UHS) instead of by phone call. She spoke with Dr. Ed Junkins, director of UHS, who was impressed by the resolution. Taylor said UHS is hiring more individuals to answer phone calls. In addition, many have reservations that students will self-schedule an appointment and not attend.
“They think that making someone go through the hassle of calling and waiting and all of that will make them more inclined to go,” Taylor said.
Taylor suggested that the only way to know if their hypothesis is correct would be to test it out.
“We both agreed that kind of the only way to get over that is to test it out. We can do research, but it’s only so convincing as to what actually happens,” Taylor said.
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