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Flaherty Hall hosts first color run to benefit breast cancer research

Runners on South Quad on Saturday morning will turn pink for a cause at Flaherty Hall’s color run, the Flaherty Fights 5K.

“Flaherty Fights 5K is our revamped signature event supporting breast cancer awareness and research,” junior and Flaherty Hall vice president Karina Solman said. “In the past, we have done Flaherty Fights, a tabling bake sale event in [LaFortune Student Center], but this year, we decided to amp it up to a color run 5K with pink powder and pink-themed snacks and t-shirts at the finish line.”

This will be the first year Flaherty has held a 5K run. Solman said the hall executives wanted a new signature event that was “more fun, interactive and campus-and-community-facing,” while still retaining the enjoyment the bake sale event brought attendees in years past.

All proceeds from the 5K will be donated to the breast cancer research program at Saint John’s Cancer Institute, which is based out of Santa Monica, California.

The Flaherty Fights 5K will take place Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m. by the South Quad flagpole. (Courtesy of Gracie Wetli)

Solman said hall executives settled on Saint John’s after Flaherty donor and namesake Mary Hesburgh Flaherty visited the dorm last spring and talked to its residents about her life and charity work.

“This event means a lot to all of us in Flaherty because Mary Flaherty is a breast cancer survivor,” Solman said. “When she came and spoke to us last year, we were all moved by her story.”

Solman added that when she, Flaherty Hall president Gracie Wetli and co-vice president Ceci Driano assumed their roles in hall government last spring, they wanted to make their dorm’s signature event “extra special.”

After deciding the event would be a 5K, “we reached out to Mary Flaherty about where she would like the proceeds to go, and she suggested St. John’s … she has been chair of the board of their foundation in the past and is still very much involved with them,” Solman said. “They have a world-renowned breast cancer research program and also work in promoting awareness for women, so she told us that they would be honored to be the recipients of our fundraising efforts.”

The 3.1-mile run will begin at the South Quad flag pole at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants can register the morning of the run beginning at 8:15 a.m. or online in advance using Student Shop ND. Registration is $15 per participant.

Hall president Wetli encouraged anyone interested to participate, even those who do not consider themselves runners.

“Since this is a color run 5K, it is meant to be very lighthearted and fun,” she said. “Walkers are more than welcome to participate in the 5K, and you will be supporting a great cause in the process. There will also be a free shirt for participants while supplies last.”

Wetli added that both 5K participants and others should come to the bake sale at the start and finish line, which will have donuts and bagels.

“We are very proud of the effort put forth by many members of the Flaherty Hall community to make this event happen. Our signature events commissioners, Celeste Hirschi, Jane Stallman and Adi Yabut, have been extremely helpful in planning this event,” Welti said. “I would also like to give a special thanks to our hall staff … for supporting us in planning this event. We have gotten to work with parking service, RecSports and various vendors throughout the process.”

Contact Claire Reid at creid6@nd.edu

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On-campus farmer’s market gives students a taste of South Bend

The Notre Dame student government South Bend engagement committee held the first on-campus farmer’s market this past Friday, Sept. 16. The event featured local South Bend restaurants, artisans and vendors.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Fieldhouse Mall, students could purchase food from Vegan Bites by Jas, Purple Porch and Mom’s Keiflies. They could also shop for handmade jewelry and art from Skye is the Limit and Gems of Pride.

farmer's market sign
Student Government director of South Bend engagement Quinn McKenna (middle) and other students pose by the On-Campus Farmer’s Market sign at Fieldhouse Mall on Friday. / Courtesy of Notre Dame Student Government

Student government director of South Bend engagement and senior Quinn McKenna said items available for purchase ranged from kombucha to handmade jewelry to Polish pastries.

“Purple Porch had a variety of food including, but not limited to, premade sandwiches, brownies, blueberries, paw paws — a fruit native to Indiana, kombucha and specialty sodas,” she said.

The farmer’s market was the first event held by the South Bend engagement committee, a new body added to student government by the Lee-Stitt administration this academic year.

McKenna said the goal with the farmer’s market — as well as with the South Bend engagement committee as a whole — is to expose students to what South Bend has to offer.

“This department aims to pop the ‘Notre Dame bubble’ and move students to engage with the community in ways other than service,” McKenna said. “South Bend has a very vibrant and creative community, and this department was created to expose students to more of that. Therefore, this market acted as a means of introduction to some local businesses in the hopes that students would venture into the community independently to explore more of what South Bend is all about.”

Sophomore Andres Alvarez, a South Bend native and member of the committee, said about 500 students, faculty, staff and campus visitors checked out the farmer’s market Friday.

Alvarez said many vendors sold out more quickly than expected due to the event’s higher-than-anticipated turnout.

“Some [vendors] were creating more products as they were sitting in their chairs because they were selling out so fast, and others had to return to their shops to get more inventory,” he said. “We learned from the farmer’s market that the Notre Dame community wants to shop locally.”

He said the popularity of the event was encouraging for his committee as they plan future events to engage students with the South Bend community this year.

Currently, he said, the committee is in the process of creating a “South Bend Passport”, which will serve as a guide to introduce students to off-campus restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and other local businesses.

Alvarez said they are also working to invite local community members to campus to teach students about the history of South Bend

“Even though we are Notre Dame, we all should take the time to listen to some prominent voices in the neighboring community.”

Contact Claire at creid6@nd.edu

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Before graduation, this junior hopes to walk a mile with 500 students

When junior Lane Obringer transferred to Notre Dame from Saint Mary’s College last year, the self-described extrovert from Charlotte, North Carolina, was eager to make new friends.

“It was difficult to meet new people. You felt like you were living your freshman year all over again while being a sophomore, and COVID probably made things difficult as well,” Obringer recalled. “It takes a lot of extraversion to hop right into meeting new people all over again … and I am a very extroverted person, but I wanted to create a platform to streamline the process rather than attending a million club meetings.”

Obringer said she wanted to create a way to meet lots of people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an environment where they could have real and honest conversations.

This became the inspiration behind the Instagram account she founded last semester, @lanewalksnd.

In the account’s bio, a link leads to a Google Calendar where any Notre Dame student can sign up for a 20-minute, one-mile walk around Saint Mary’s Lake with Obringer. As of Sunday, she has walked with 73 students and is almost 15% of the way to her goal of walking with 500 students before she graduates in the spring of 2024.

Her thoughtfully-designed Instagram feed features photos of each student she’s walked with, decorated with their names and facts about them in Obringer’s flowy and often colorful calligraphy.

Obringer started @lanewalksnd last semester and, when she began the project, she said she was certain only her close friends were going to sign up for walks.

“I thought … I wouldn’t really meet other people, and my first four walks on the very first day were all people that I had literally never seen in my entire life,” she said.

That very first day was Easter Monday this past spring. Soon, Obringer was going on four walks every day last semester, including Saturdays and Sundays.

This semester, she said she’s limited her schedule to three walks per day so that she can “be more present” with every walker.

“The benefits of doing this project are definitely meeting other people,” she said. “That sounds kind of surface level, but there’s something to be said about walking around campus and seeing a friendly face or recognizing someone’s name.”

Obringer added the walks have allowed her to connect with many people outside of her typical social circle. Furthermore, the @lanewalksnd project relates to Obringer’s future career goals.

A psychology major with minors in innovation and entrepreneurship and gender studies, Obringer hopes to pursue a career in organizational health, which she describes as “fun HR.”

“It’s understanding how people and teams work; how to make you like your job,” she explained.

In her studies, Obringer said she finds it interesting that 97% of psychological studies focus on the clinical or abnormal, while only 3% of studies focus on positive psychology. She tries to incorporate positive psychology into her walks and the interactions she has with each walker.

On every walk, she said she takes into account this question: “How do you make someone feel like a valued member of a community?”

“So that’s what taking their photo at the end of the walk and posting it on the Instagram is about … because you feel like, even though it’s very, very small, you’re part of something larger and, ultimately, that’s what I think a lot of Notre Dame students strive for,” she said.

For the duration of each walk, Obringer said she tries to give walkers space to talk about whatever they want.

Junior Drew Braaten, a business analytics major with an interest in filmmaking, walked with Obringer at the beginning of this semester. He called the walk a “15-minute, new friend appointment.”

“It was a beautiful Friday afternoon,” he recalled. “I was super interested in hearing about the project and asked her questions about how she keeps up all the walks. Lane was interested in my video-making. We finished the conversation with the wholesome story of the last time she cried.”

Sarah Mahoney, a sophomore environmental science and pre-med student who walked with Obringer in April, said “there was never a gap” in their conversation.

“Sharing a personal experience and conversation is a truly impactful way to get to know another person on a deeper level,” Mahoney said. “[Lane’s project] is such an inspiring project and a great way to unite students in the ND community.”

Contact Claire Reid at creid6@nd.edu.

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Women’s clubs share their experiences

This semester marks 50 years since women first stepped foot on Notre Dame’s campus as students.

To honor this milestone, The Observer reached out to leaders from five student clubs that are either geared toward women or focus on advocating for women’s rights.

Baraka Bouts Notre Dame Women’s Boxing club

When Rachel Salamone was a first-year, she knew she wanted to try a new sport.

Walking the stadium concourse at the Student Activities Fair three years ago, Baraka Bouts, the Notre Dame Women’s Boxing club, caught her attention.

“I had heard a bit about the boxing club, but when I saw people throwing mitts at the Activities Fair, I thought it was the coolest thing I had seen all night and I was sold,” she recalled.

Now in its twentieth year, the boxing club is the largest women’s club on campus, Salamone, now the club president, said. With over 300 members, it is also the largest all-female boxing club in the world.

Salamone said the club “works to instill confidence, skill and community” in its members through daily training. At least 100 club members train each year for the club’s best-known event, the annual Baraka Bouts boxing tournament – three nights of club members going head-to-head for one minute and 15 seconds in the Duncan Student Center’s Dahnke Ballroom.

“The dual nature of Notre Dame Women’s Boxing that blends female empowerment with boxing and makes quality education more accessible in Uganda makes the program especially unique and inspiring,” Salamone said.

Feminist ND

Chess Blacklock, a senior with plans to go into public health after graduation, is the president of FeministND.

She said FeministND was one of the first student organizations she got involved in as a freshman and joined its executive board as service chair her sophomore year before becoming president as a junior.

Blacklock said the club’s mission is to “shed a positive light on feminism and the value of the ideology and movement as well as to bring a greater awareness of women’s role in history and women’s contributions to our current society.”

“We bring strong women’s voices to campus, celebrate powerful women and encourage women to seek out positions of power,” she continued. “Additionally, we seek to provide a space free of political or religious bias [for] students to share their opinions and ideas concerning gender issues and feminism while also acting as a general support group for women.”

One of the club’s biggest events is its annual menstrual product drive, which collects pads and tampons for local shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Blacklock said the success of last year’s menstrual product drive is one of the club’s proudest accomplishments.

“This past year, we collected over 900 products to donate,” she said. “Additionally, we collaborated with Campus Cup to allow students to sign up and receive a free menstrual cup. We had over 300 sign-ups for this programming, and while many students picked theirs up for personal use, many also chose for us to donate them.”

FeministND currently has about 200 members. The club has existed since 2016, but Blacklock said feminist clubs have had a presence at Notre Dame since women were admitted to the University half a century ago.

“Though we know these previous clubs existed because of the active role alumni have in our club, we don’t know too much about how these clubs operated due to the lack of consistent and thorough record keeping,” Blacklock explained.

Magnificat Choir

Hannah Schmitz, a junior theology major living in Welsh Family Hall, is the alumni relations and social media manager for the Magnificat Choir, a liturgical choir that welcomes all tri-campus students who sing in the treble range.

The choir sings each week at the 5 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass at the Basilica and rehearses three times a week.

Schmitz said she decided to join the choir last fall when she was looking for community and a way to continue doing music ministry.

“I had grown up singing in a church choir, and it was something that I had missed doing my freshman year of college,” she said.

After realizing how much joy the choir had given her in just a year, she said she desired to pursue a leadership position.

The choir currently has about 45 members and Schmitz said they’ve built a great community centered around a passion for music and enjoyment of one another’s company.

In addition to rehearsal, choir members participate in group outings about once a month, including ice skating, volleyball and volunteering in the community.

“But honestly, sometimes we have the most fun just going to dinner together after a rehearsal or Mass and enjoying each other’s company,” Schmitz said. “During the fall semester, we love singing at the football Masses and seeing everyone decked out in Notre Dame gear.”

Schmitz said her proudest moment with the choir was last spring when they recorded the first half of their upcoming album.

“We worked for months to prepare these pieces before diving headfirst into a five-hour long recording session in the Lady Chapel of the Basilica,” she said. “We are very proud of what we accomplished so far and we are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to finish the album this upcoming spring. We are all very excited to hear the final product.”

Network of Enlightened Women

Gavriella Aviva Lund, a senior neuroscience major with a minor in theology, said one of her many passions is “bringing people of diverse backgrounds together to learn more about each other and to find common ground to build stronger communities locally and beyond.”

In fall 2020, Lund and Theresa Olohan ’21 began the process of founding a chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) on Notre Dame’s campus.

NeW is a national organization, originally founded at the University of Virginia in 2004, that connects conservative college women and creates a space for them to talk about public policy and conservative values, Lund explained.

Lund said she and Olohan wanted to establish a chapter at Notre Dame to “provide an open community where women on campus could discuss and learn about social and policy issues they cared about while developing a network of women across the country who pursue the same mission as leaders in their professions.”

NeW at ND was established in the spring of 2021, and, now, the club has about 125 members. They meet at least twice a month, and members have enjoyed fun activities such as roller rink trips and ice skating, as well as lectures and professional development opportunities.

Lund currently serves as president of NeW at ND and said, though the club is branded as a space for women with “conservative values,” it does not endorse specific political parties or candidates.

“The university setting was originally meant to be a space where ideas are exchanged, which requires a difference of opinions,” Lund said.

She said NeW at ND plans to highlight this with the theme of the club this year: “Embrace and Engage.”

Instead of being afraid of those with different opinions on social issues or policies, she continued, she encourages people to, first, embrace the dignity and goodwill of every person and then “engage in an open dialogue to understand where our peers are coming from.”

“Coming together as one united community, we can learn so much from each other and make prominent social change,” Lund said.

Shades of Ebony

Thaddea Ampadu, a senior accounting major, is the co-president of Shades of Ebony, a club geared toward Black women at Notre Dame focusing on service and sisterhood.

Shades was founded 21 years ago by Arienne Thompson ’04 and Terri Baxter ’05 to create a space where Black women could come together and share their experiences.

Its mission is to “unify, empower and inspire women of all shades” through engaging in dialogue and service in the South Bend community, Ampadu said.

The club’s general meetings – which take place weekly or biweekly depending on what leadership has planned – often include discussions on topics like mental health, mentorship, career development, social life and equitable access to resources at Notre Dame and beyond.

“There are very few women of color on campus, and because of this, there are rarely opportunities to meet and have dialogue,” Ampadu said. “Attending our meetings is always the highlight of my week because I don’t have to explain certain parts of my identity because most, if not all, of us share those same identities and experiences.”

She said Shades has about 30 active members and about 50 who attend events more occasionally.

The club cohosts events and holiday parties with other student clubs including Wabruda, the Black Student Association and the Gender Relations Center.

Last year, Shades was named the “Club of the Year” by the Club Coordination Council. Ampadu and other club leaders are proud of the events Shades has organized and their successful efforts to revive the club after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The community is absolutely beautiful,” Ampadu said. “When we meet, I can visibly see how relaxed and comfortable our members become surrounded by women that look like them.”

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Campus Ministry offers monthly LGBTQ+ masses

Almost two years ago, Ryan Palmer, then a sophomore, attended Campus Ministry’s annual LGBTQ+ Retreat.

The typically-overnight retreat is geared toward LGBTQ+ Catholics and hosts speakers like Michael O’Loughlin, author of “Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear.”

Palmer said he looks back fondly on the experience and noted it allowed him to meet other LGBTQ+ students who shared his Catholic faith. However, he noted that only about 30 students attended the retreat.

“To be honest, it touches a relatively small group of people because so many LGBTQ+ people have already kind of given up on the Church. They already have felt unwelcome,” Palmer said. “For the few of us that are still trying it … it’s very tight-knit, and it’s a really important safe space for people.”

Campus Ministry chaplain to LGBTQ+ students Fr. Joe Corpora, said he’s also observed that many LGBTQ+ people “are beyond the Church.”

“You can’t blame them,” Corpora continued. “A lot of LGBTQ people say, ‘I left the Church because it left me,’ and I understand that, but our hope is that we can provide an opportunity through Campus Ministry to invite people to give the Church a second chance.”

This year, Corpora and Campus Ministry will offer monthly Saturday Vigil Masses geared toward LGBTQ+ students in the Dillon Hall Chapel. This semester’s Masses will take place Sept. 24, Oct. 29, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3, each at 5 p.m.

Corpora said Campus Ministry began holding Masses for the LGBTQ+ community last semester but decided to create a more formal schedule this year. 

He said they settled on holding the Masses once a month so students could continue to attend their dorm Masses or other Masses most of the time. However, if he finds that some students only feel comfortable attending the LGBTQ+ Mass and would not attend Mass otherwise, he may add more Mass dates.

“It’s an LGBTQ Mass, but anyone is welcome,” Palmer said. “It’s very affirming of the community, and that’s really great because, oftentimes, it’s really hard to find a community to worship with as a gay person because there are a lot of people, especially at a place like Notre Dame, who are not accepting of you, and you just don’t feel comfortable around them. So it’s really nice to be able to worship in a community of people where you can feel comfortable being yourself.”

Corpora said creating an environment where LGBTQ+ Catholics can feel comfortable being who they are and not feel forced to choose between being gay or being Catholic is crucial. He wants these students not to feel that they have to “fit in,” but rather that they belong.

“When you fit in, you have to sort of change how you are to fit in,” Corpora explained. “But when you belong, you are who you are … and you don’t have to change who you are before God to belong.”

Corpora said while he knows there will be Catholics and members of the Notre Dame community that object to the LGBTQ+ Masses, he is trying to follow a model he feels is inspired by Jesus Christ and the Pope.

“What I would say to anybody is ‘I am trying to follow the model of Pope Francis, who has asked us to accompany people wherever they are in their lives,’” Corpora said. “The most important proclamation of Jesus was not about laws. It was about love and accompanying people in life.”

Claire Reid

Contact Claire at creid6@nd.edu