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Senate nixes elections for SUB representatives, solidifies election reimbursement

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday night to pass resolutions to eliminate Student Union Board (SUB) representatives as elected positions, adjust funding rules for diverse student clubs and clarify the usage of funds for campaign reimbursements. 

Senate approves change in SUB representative elections 

SUB executive director Rachel Dorfner presented SO 2223-21, an order to amend laws in the constitution stating that SUB dorm representatives must be elected by a hall-wide election and may not exceed one representative per residence hall.

Under the new order, an internal application process will replace the elections and allow for potentially more than one representative to serve each dorm community.

Dorfner said the resolution was conceived since SUB has struggled to retain dorm representatives for the full election term. Based on a survey of SUB representatives with a 45% response rate, Dorfner said many elected representatives cited “wanting a hall government position” as the reason they ran for the position. 

In addition, Dorfner said many did not realize the commitments inside of SUB that come with the role, such as joining committees. 

“We see a lot of people wanting to get involved in their own [hall] government and did not realize that that also constitutes a large involvement in SUB,” Dorfner said. “In fact, one person actually said ‘I don’t like the required participation in SUB.’”

Dorfner hopes with the internal application, SUB will attract students interested to do all the work required for the role.

Judicial Council president Madison Nemeth supported the amendment and noted that the ultimate goal of the resolution is to have engaged representatives. 

“We’ve consistently been re-electing somewhere around since the first week on campus because we had people who ran last year and then didn’t respond to our committee requests,” Nemeth said. “From an election perspective, ideally, it would be one of each dorm, but for some dorms, there’s absolutely nobody who wants to do it.”

The number of SUB dorm representatives is not expected to significantly increase or decrease because of this order, Dorfner said. 

After brief debate, the resolution overwhelmingly passed.

Clause on cultural club funding repealed, election funding clarified 

Under the Constitution, ethnic student organizations are eligible for funding from the Club Coordination Council (CCC) given that their programming promotes “greater cultural awareness and understanding within the Notre Dame community.” Resolution SO 2223-18 repeals this clause with the argument that no other category of clubs must adhere to these guidelines to receive funding. 

CCC president Connor Patrick presented the order. With no debate or questioning, the resolution unanimously passed.

The third resolution debated that night clarified how election candidates are reimbursed for campaign expenses. SO 2223-19 is meant to remove confusion that might prevent Judicial Council from constitutionally reimbursing candidates for election campaign funds, executive controller Kevin Wang said. 

No clubs or organizations may use allocated or unallocated funding from the Financial Management Board to support a candidate for an office. With the order, an exception is written that Judicial Council may use funds to exclusively reimburse such candidates without violating the clause. 

Candidates for first-year class council, any class officer position, hall senator, hall president and vice president, Student Union Board (SUB) representatives and off-campus candidates are all guaranteed reimbursements under the Constitution. Spending limits vary depending on the position a candidate is seeking.

The resolution unanimously passed.

A fourth resolution to amend a constitutional clause on regulations and resignations did not pass a motion to move to general orders and was tabled for next week.

To close the meeting, student body vice president Sofie Stitt reminded senators that campaigning for student body president and vice president begins Tuesday.

Perspective tickets are currently petitioning for the roles and must obtain roughly 700 verified and valid signatures to get their names on the ballot. The elections will take place Feb. 8.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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Viewpoint

What’s hot and what’s not

I’ve had the same coffee order for seven years. Seven years. That’s one thing that will probably never change. It’s well-established in my daily routine, and I can be stubborn when it comes to my coffee. But what about the everyday elements of life that ebb and flow, move up and down, change left and right? I present to you: Ins and outs circa December 2022.

Ins

  1. Iced coffee: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t drink a cold brew when it’s snowing outside.
  2. TikTok: Specifically journalism TikTok. Because if you’re going to scroll for hours, why not learn something while you’re at it.
  3. Thank-you notes.
  4. Asking questions: As Taylor said, “Can I ask you a question?”
  5. Bob Iger.
  6. Google Calendar: Bonus points for color-coding.
  7. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah: An interjection, meaning “an exclamation of happiness.”
  8. Florida: Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl, Purdue in the Citrus Bowl, 70 degree weather and Disney World? Count me in.
  9. The Muppets: I don’t know if you’ve caught on or not yet, but I’m kind of a Disney fan. Stream all Muppets movies on Disney+ and all award-winning albums on Spotify (or your streaming platform of choice).
  10. Christmas break: Four weeks, too!
  11. Journaling: After a semester of creative writing, I can confidently say that writing, no matter how unprofessionally done, can help tremendously with putting your thoughts into perspective. (Even ranting on a page.)
  12. Hats: Specifically warm hats. It’s more important to be toasty than look cute.
  13. Fantasy football: Dear Josh Jacobs, drafting you was the best decision I made this fall.
  14. Capricorn season.
  15. Complimenting your friends.

Outs

  1. Boots: If Converse can get me through a snowy Boston College game they can survive anything.
  2. Breakfast: It’s called brunch at this point.
  3. Digital print editions.
  4. White elephants: But, Secret Santa is in. It’s more fun to buy a gift for someone specific.
  5. Twitter.
  6. Scooters: Here’s the background information.
  7. Shopping online.
  8. Class registration.
  9. Emojis in Instagram captions.
  10. Cryptocurrency.
  11. Disney World slander: Disney World is fun as an adult — I promise. My email is at the end if you don’t believe me.
  12. Ticketmaster (and dynamic pricing).
  13. Doing laundry in a dorm: Ick.
  14. Staying up late: On a never-ending journey to go to bed before midnight.
  15. Thinking about the future: Being in the moment is in.

I hope, if anything, this humorous short list of ins and outs made you think — about what you like, what you don’t like, what bothers you, what brings a smile to your face and what makes you, you.

Until next time.

Contact Alysa at aguffey@nd.edu

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

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News

Winter storm warning hits campus ahead of last home football game

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and it’s already looking like a winter wonderland in South Bend, Indiana. 

The tri-campus and the greater St. Joseph County experienced continuous snowfall Wednesday, as the National Weather Service (NWS) declared a winter storm advisory beginning at 3 p.m. The warning will expire around 10 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Between two to six inches of snow could fall overnight, said Jim Andersen, lead forecaster at NWS Northern Indiana.

“It is a wet, heavy type of snow, so you might not be able to notice,” Andersen said. “But, it can create a sloppy mess.” 

Senior director of emergency management Tracy Skibins said although Notre Dame doesn’t close campus very often as a result of inclement weather, the University would do so through both the police department’s social channel and ND Alert systems (text messages and emails).

Another system is expected to move into the region from Thursday until Friday, with another two to six inches of snow possible. As of Wednesday evening, NWS forecasts a 30% chance of snow showers Saturday during Notre Dame football’s home game against Boston College, set to start at 2:30 p.m. 

Over the past couple of days, the Notre Dame Stadium crew has continuously shoveled snow in the Stadium to keep the field and stands clear, Skibins said. But there could still be a danger posed at the game, meaning fans should be extra cautious.

“Even if you shovel all the snow, you’ll still have a chance of slippery surfaces that can cause falls,” Skibins said.

As of Wednesday evening, Skibins said she doesn’t anticipate any restrictions to tailgating lots — also being constantly shoveled leading up to the game — as a result of the snow. Her advice on being careful applies to before and after the game, she said.

Temperatures should remain below freezing with forecasted highs in the upper 20s on Friday and Saturday. Normal highs this time of year are in the upper 40s, Andersen said.

In addition, Notre Dame regularly works with DTN and its weather intelligence services for large-scale events on campus. On Saturday, there will be several on-site meteorologists to monitor the weather, Skibins said.

With lots of fans en route and anticipation building for the final home game of the season, Andersen suggests bundling up.

“It definitely has a chance of being slippery walking around and could be breezy, making it feel colder,” Andersen said. “People are definitely going to want hats, gloves and the like to stay warm if they’re outside a long time Saturday.”

Skibins added that people driving to campus should bring extra blankets, batteries and snow shovels. To stay safe, she also recommends avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which can cause body heat to lower rapidly, and prolonged exposure outside.

“Definitely plan the day out if you’re tailgating, so you aren’t outside for too long at a time,” Skibins said.

Safety messages specific to football home games are also communicated on the University’s game day Instagram.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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News

NBC to broadcast ND women’s basketball game live in historic first

The last time Niele Ivey stepped foot in Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, she won an NCAA championship as part of the 2000-2001 Notre Dame women’s basketball team.

“I never had an event that I had to go back there to go into the arena,” Ivey said. “So it’s going to be actually really surreal to kind of feel that vibe again, because I know I’ll never forget that feeling of winning in that arena.”

Now, returning to the Enterprise on Saturday, Ivey hopes to lead her squad to a win against the California Golden Bears in the inaugural Citi Shamrock Classic. She will also be coaching the Irish in the first women’s collegiate basketball game broadcasted live on NBC and Peacock.

“It’s powerful,” Ivey said Thursday of being even a small part of the historic broadcast. “It’s the reason why I came back, and I always want to expose my team to incredible experiences and help mold them.”

The live broadcast will also feature an all-women broadcast team. And although the knitty-gritty of the broadcast is not Ivey’s main focus as head coach, she described it as a powerful moment.

“We have [an] all black broadcast staff I heard, [the] first women’s game on NBC and then having two first African-American female head coaches at the helm of two Power Five programs — Charmin Smith and myself — I think it’s an incredible moment, and I’m just happy to share that with my team,” Ivey said.

The game is also the first college basketball game broadcasted live on NBC since a Feb. 28, 1998, matchup between the Notre Dame and Providence men’s squads, according to an NBC press release.

As the game takes place more than 350 miles away from campus, NBC will host a watch party sponsored by On Her Turf (OHT), NBC Sports’ women’s empowerment brand, with Muffet McGraw confirmed as a special guest. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Rourke’s Public House on Eddy St.

Senior and OHT Notre Dame ambassador Elizabeth May said the chapter has been working on the watch party all semester.

“I’m looking forward to spreading awareness of the platform, because I feel like everybody knows NBC Sports but not everybody knows about On Her Turf,” May said. “And I feel like the women’s basketball team is a great kind of team to use in conjunction for promoting this platform.”

OHT has several other collegiate campus ambassadors across the country that plan and host events specific to their athletic atmosphere, May says.

As a student-athlete herself, May says she’s seen OHT stick out in circles on campus as it specifically focuses on the empowerment of female collegiate athletes, especially in the time of NIL deals in college sports.

“When you find a brand like On Her Turf that’s trying to celebrate [collegiate] success, I think that’s even more exciting than just the generic brand deals,” May said.

The game Saturday also marks a homecoming for Ivey and Cal head coach Charmin Smith, who both grew up playing hoops in the St. Louis area.

With her son Jaden playing in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, Ivey knows the importance of showing up for family sporting events. Ivey’s parents, siblings and nephews will be in attendance at the game, in addition to her high school basketball coach, she said.

In addition to a personal homecoming, Ivey says she’s looking forward to showing her team where she got her start.

“I get a chance to bring [my players] home to show them my roots,” she said. “My journey was not easy, so I get a chance to show them what hard work looks like, what sacrifice looks like, and I’m excited to share that.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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News

University leadership reports drop in endowment returns during town halls

In the first in-person staff town halls since 2019, University executive leadership addressed the endowment, long-term projects, diversity and inclusion and concerns over a possible recession.

Endowment returns drop 6.9%

Endowment returns decreased 6.9% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, executive vice president Shannon Cullinan reported. Nationally, colleges felt a steep drop in returns after a record-breaking previous year, with a median of a 7.8% decrease. Cullinan cited the University’s Investment Office and fundraising teams for the numbers.

“Compared to benchmarks that were down 13 to 15%, we did really well,” Cullinan said.

The endowment serves as the University’s largest revenue source, Cullinan said, making up around 38% of its total budget through more than 7,400 funds.

When asked how the possible recession might affect employment at Notre Dame, Cullinan said the University enters it in “a place of strength” and would communicate often and clearly on any effects on positions, wages or furloughs.

University leans into reputation as center for research

Provost John McGreevy reported two large-scale, interdisciplinary projects in the works that the University hopes will spur change in the next decade.

The first — a bioengineering and life science initiative — will take bioengineering innovations and consider how to make them readily available for the next generation of doctors. The other project is a potential clinic in South Bend to provide mental health services to both Notre Dame students and the city’s residents.

President’s Office reports over 900 diversity campaigns

University President Fr. John Jenkins previously spoke to faculty in September to outline strategic goals in messaging to situate Notre Dame among the top-performing research schools in the world.

In a presubmitted question, a faculty member asked about an update to diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. Jenkins responded by referencing the recent hire of the The Rev. Hugh Page as the first vice president for institutional transformation. Currently, Jenkins said there are 900 total efforts for diversity and inclusion on campus.

“What Hugh and his team are looking at now is ‘how effective are those?’” Jenkins said. “And if there’s a most effective, let’s put our energy into that.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu

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Sports

President Rachel Salamone leads club in commitment and discipline

Senior Rachel Salamone remembers when she was one of the last few people to finish workouts during her freshman year of Baraka Bouts.

“I didn’t think I had a great grasp on the workouts themselves and that it was a do-it-as-fast-as-you-can type of thing for some of them,” she says.

One of the captains took Salamone under her wing and would finish the workouts alongside her. Eventually, Salamone stuck around long enough to become president of the club for the 2022-23 year. 

“I just kept coming and kept coming, and it was really fun to learn a new skill.”

Originally from Hebron, Conn., Salamone lives in Cavanaugh Hall and studies political science with minors in data science and cybersecurity. She says she originally heard of Baraka Bouts from a former high school classmate and then signed up for the club at the annual activities fair.

“I went to the Activities Fair and I saw them throwing mitts and I was like, ‘that is just the absolute coolest thing that I’ve seen in my life,’” she says.

This year’s bouts will be just Salamone’s second time competing in the ring. Bronchitis kept her out freshman year, and the pandemic disrupted her second year. Just earlier this season, Salamone suffered a concussion in sparring practice, but has been cleared to fight in the tournament. 

“​​I’ve felt like I’m further back than I was when I got [the concussion],” she said. “But I’m excited.”

In the ring though, she is known as Rachel “Same Hat” Salamone, a reference dating back to her freshman year in the club.

“There is this little comic strip about these two guys wearing the same hat,” she said. “They just kind of point at each other. When I was a freshman, I met a senior who had very short hair and I also had at the time had really short hair. So I was like, oh, ‘same hat.’”

Reflecting on her first time fighting last season, Salamone says there’s nothing that can prepare you for the feeling of stepping in the ring the first time, saying it’s like a “dream.”

“You can’t not be nervous,” she added.

As president, Salamone holds a largely administrative role for the largest women’s club on campus — comprised of about 250 students — and ensures everything runs smoothly from 6 a.m. practices to the annual tournament. 

Given that she was a junior captain last year, Salamone knew almost certainly she would be in a leadership role for the club this year. But, there are some elements that were hard to anticipate, including logistical elements of setting up rings and organizing announcers.

The club holds its new boxer orientation in August, with practices starting the first week of September, Salamone says. From there, members have about two months to learn combinations and prepare for the tournament. Before joining, most boxers, including Salamone, don’t have previous experience competing in the sport. And while the club has official coaches, this is where captains step up and teach younger boxers the skills they’ve learned over the years. 

Even though not everyone participates in the bouts, Salamone says it’s rewarding as a leader to see members improve their strength and skillset over the season.

“I think so many of the girls have seen that difference where you just keep showing up and every day you get 1% better,” she said.

While it’s a club sport, the women of Baraka Bouts do more than just box. Each year, they fundraise for the Holy Cross Lake View Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda, and Saint Joseph’s Hill Secondary School in Kyarusozi, Uganda. The goal this year, Salamone says, is to raise $75,000 to build new student dormitories at St. Joseph’s Hill, where some students currently do not have private rooms.

Salamone explained that the fundraising mission of the club only enhances the reason to train and compete.

“Sure, it’s this huge athletic club, but there’s also this kind of fundraising and supporting human development and education and things like that around the world where it’s not just about you even though you’re working so much on yourself too,” Salamone said.

Looking ahead to after the end of her time in Baraka Bouts, Salamone says she’s already looked into boxing clubs in the city she’s living in after graduation. But for now, the upcoming tournament might be her last competition.

“I don’t think it would be something where I would want to keep sparring,” she said. “I think this is a good kind of end of the road in terms of sparring and competing.”

The Baraka Bouts quarterfinals will begin Monday night in Dahnke Ballroom at 7 p.m., with the semifinals and finals taking place on Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, respectively.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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News

Mendoza drops 24 credits in core curriculum to make room for electives

Flexibility is the name of the game for current first-year and future business majors at Notre Dame. 

A new college-level core curriculum approved for this year’s first-year undergraduates in the Mendoza College of Business includes 24 fewer credit hours, or eight courses, to check off their four-year plan of study. 

Courses no longer required of all business majors include:

  • Statistic for Business I
  • Accountancy II
  • Business Technology and Analytics
  • Business Law
  • Managerial Economics
  • Macroeconomic Analysis
  • Foresight/Business Problem Solving
  • Process Analysis

At the same time, the class of 2026 and beyond will have nine credit hours, or typically three courses, to take “broadening electives.” The stipulation is that the nine hours must be taken in at least two business departments outside the student’s primary major.

Why was the curriculum changed?

Martijn Cremers, dean of the college, said the core changes allow students to have more control over their undergraduate studies while still providing a “comprehensive business education.”

“The key ‘why’ is to allow our students to be able to take more ownership of their own curriculum and ideally, allow them to take another major outside of the college,” Cremers said. 

The change is also part of a larger plan to offer more time for discernment among underclassmen. In fall 2019, in Cremers’ year as interim dean, the college began allowing first-years to take Mendoza courses, making the undergraduate degree a four-year program as opposed to three.

“The old structure meant that the sophomore year was completely dominated by business courses,” Cremers said, adding that students had less time to decide whether to switch majors within Mendoza or have the opportunity to transfer to another college within Notre Dame. 

Mendoza will continue to offer its five majors: finance, accounting, marketing, management consulting and business analytics. 

Assistant dean Andrew Wendelborn manages the advising office and serves as the point person for undergraduate affairs in Mendoza. Wendelborn said he thinks it will allow students to expand their skill set, leading to more opportunities for a wider variety of internships.

“Today, people aren’t just doing accounting,” he said. “People are dabbling in all sorts of stuff.”

Wendelborn’s office also approves all Mendoza study abroad applications. He says studying abroad should become not only more flexible, but more doable, as students can consider programs that don’t offer any business courses.

“We want to see, can you still graduate, do that location without business and be done in eight semesters,” he said. “So with the reduction in the College Core, that’s opening up a whole other batch of credits [and] I think it’s going to be more attractive for business students to take a location that has no business courses.”

However, all current sophomores, juniors and seniors must finish out the old requirements, regardless of where they are in their degree.

Junior Morgan Rader, a finance and economics double major, expects to be done with her core requirements by the end of her junior year. And that’s with a planned semester abroad in London. While she can’t take advantage of the new space in the curriculum, she sees it as a holistic education for future business students.

“I guess I’m not really benefiting from it,” she said, “But I like the idea that people will have more flexibility to actually just take classes they’re interested in rather than having a set schedule plan that they have to do.”

Rader added that she thinks it may be beneficial for students to still have a “recommended” schedule to promote a well-rounded one. 

Given that he is in a student-facing role, Wendelborn acknowledges that he knows some upperclassmen are disappointed they missed the change by a year or two.

“Just to be fair to everybody and consistent, we had to signal that we’re going to start with the class of 2026,” he said. “That’s just the nature of the office.”

Implementation to affect faculty course assignments

All courses cut from the core curriculum will still be available for students to take rather than phased out, Cremers said, but they will be offered under new names. In theory, any incoming student could take the same exact curriculum as the class of 2025 and older.

Yet, as fewer students inevitably enroll in the dropped core classes, professors will have to shift to teach different ones.

“We’ve made it very clear, very explicit, that due to these changes, no faculty will lose any opportunity to teach here,” he said. “We will ask some faculty to teach a different course that’s still within their expertise.”

The less structured curriculum is also built to offer faculty a chance to be more creative and free to teach specialized courses on topics of interest to them, Cremers said. 

While this fall’s news has been years in the making, Cremers noted he didn’t know the last time the curriculum had been changed, just that it had been a while.

“We haven’t revisited the Core for a long time,” he said. “So I do think it’s a good idea to occasionally do this.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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Sports

Guffey: Why tennis is the best fan experience in sports

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Carlos Alcaraz won the U.S. Open in New York and subsequently became the youngest men’s tennis player to reach No. 1 in the world. That name was especially familiar to me. At only 19 years old, Alcaraz has become quite popular among young tennis players. I texted my brother, “didn’t we see him practice?” The answer was yes, we did.

Less than a month earlier, I had gone to the Western & Southern Open, a hard court tournament in Cincinnati just before the start of the U.S. Open. It’s less well known than the grand slam, but all of the major players — both on the men’s and women’s sides — go there every year without fail. It was at this tournament my family and I saw Alcaraz practicing on a court with just three rows of bleachers set up on either side. (There are high schools with more seating room than that.)

I had gone to the Western & Southern nine years ago and hadn’t been back since this August, but it had me thinking: Professional tennis is the best sports experience for fans out of any sport out there. Don’t believe me? Here’s why. 

There’s nowhere else you can get closer to athletes

Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams. One day in Cincinnati gave me and my family the opportunity to see all of these top-ranked players, along with dozens more. We went on one of the qualifying days, where players are competing to make it into the main draw of the tournament. This means the top players are probably not playing actual matches, but that’s even better. Instead of having an assigned seat in a large stadium court setting, you can stake out your favorite players on the practice schedule and attend their 30-minute to two-hour practice sessions. 

And most will stay after practice to sign hats and tennis balls for all the fans who stuck around for the entire practice session. When I went to the tournament in 2013, Novak Djokovic stayed for nearly an hour interacting with fans along every inch of the fence.

What other sport has professional practices open to everyone in the venue? The athletes even just walk on their own to the courts, meaning the player casually walking next to you could be No. 1 in the world or someone’s hitting partner. You never know. 

And, you have the freedom to choose who you watch. For instance, in the early days of bigger tournaments, you buy your grounds ticket with an assigned seat in the center court stadium. However, you have free reign to any of the practice courts and other matches for the entire day. It’s almost too much freedom as you have to decide which players you want to see the most. 

It’s international and year-round

The men’s ATP tour and fellow women’s counterpart WTA tour spans over 30 countries with players of more than 100 nationalities. And while you most likely know of the four grand slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, the tours are hosted in countries and cities all over the world, giving its global fan base a chance to see their favorites anywhere.

Talk to a tennis fan in the U.S., and I would bet there’s a good chance their favorite tennis pro isn’t American. But even though they’re from a different country, they can most likely see them play in person in several cities across the U.S., from Miami to D.C. 

And with the four major tournaments spread out from January to September, there’s never a shortage of high-level tennis to watch.

It’s fun

As a disclaimer, I have played tennis my whole life, and it’s sort of a family sport, so I am a bit biased when it comes to rating how enjoyable tennis is to watch. But, there’s nothing tennis fans care about more than seeing good tennis, and it’s easy to get sucked in. 

Whether you want to check eating strawberries and cream at Wimbledon off your bucket list or need something to do in Cincinnati for a day, try a tennis tournament. Go to watch tennis, hang out with friends, drink, eat — whatever! I promise it’ll be a grand slam.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

The views in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Viewpoint

This time is yours

For 16 years, I’ve measured my life in school years.

Fall is an exciting fresh start, full of hope and promise. Winter is a halftime break. Spring is a time to wrap up and summer is a timeless in-between. It’s part of the reason I’ve always disliked spring. The trees and flowers may start to bloom and the sun comes out behind its permacloud, but the season is more so a period of goodbyes, endings and change. And sometimes, I don’t want to talk about the way that it was.

Freshman years are for learning names, sophomore years don’t matter all that much and when junior years roll around, there’s a feeling of superiority and independence that comes from being an upperclassman.

And then there’s senior year: the beginning of the end, the pinnacle of it all. 

College is a place where everyone here is in a different stage of their life, but also the same — learning more about the subjects that have always interested them, figuring out what they want to do in their life and taking leaps of faith toward the future.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’ll measure the passing of time once I’m done with college. When everything you’ve ever known is different, what happens? But the thing about your four years at college is that it’s so much more than school. It’s living steps away from your best friends. It’s being no more than one degree of separation away from any student. It’s laying on the quad until 3 a.m. on a Monday night just talking.

For some people (read: me), it’s finishing up the newspaper at 4 a.m. so it can be distributed throughout the tri-campus. While The Observer is my college endeavor, everyone devotes themselves to their own passion in their four years here.

I spent the past summer living away from home for the first time. (Yeah, I’ve lived at Notre Dame for the past three years, but something about living in a small dorm room with your best friend makes campus feel a lot like home.) Living somewhere else made me realize that Notre Dame is an escape, for better and for worse. 

Here, days are measured in class schedules, lunch breaks, study sessions, parties, extracurricular meetings, on-campus jobs and walks around the quads. Weeks are measured by assignments, tests and time until mid-semester breaks. Then before you know it, fall turns to spring real quick. 

And a lot of the time, you get too caught up to think about it. 

As I spent most of the summer trying to decide what I wanted to say in this column, my mind kept going back to what I learned from a magazine writing class last semester taught by Kerry Temple. He talked about the importance of thinking time: time to mull over ideas and thoughts and time to figure out what you actually want to write, not what you write in the rush of the moment. He said he gets that most college students don’t have time to do this.

It hit me that he was right — I didn’t feel like I had the time to let thoughts, ideas and feelings simmer in my mind.

And that’s the advice I have for first-years. Give yourself time to stop and think. College is fun, but it’s more bittersweet and fleeting than you first realize. Measure it by the number of nights spent with friends, hours spent in a meeting for your favorite extracurricular and minutes of a home football game. The time is yours.

The views in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

A version of this column was published in our Aug. 19 issue.

Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a senior majoring in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. Contact her at aguffey@nd.edu.