Senate discusses ND Safe app, dorm gyms

The Notre Dame student senate passed resolutions regarding first-year class council elections and received nominations for Judicial Council’s Committee on the Constitution in its meeting Wednesday evening.

ND Safe app

Keri Kei Shibata, chief of the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD), began the meeting by introducing the NDPD’s new app ND Safe. The app is designed for Notre Dame students, faculty and staff to easily access multiple safety resources, including one-button calls to the NDPD, ND Fire Department, St. Joseph County 911 and a non-emergency dispatch center.

The NDPD launched the app to address a common concern about expanding the blue-light emergency call boxes around campus. 

“[The blue-light phones] very rarely get used,” Shibata said. “We thought it would be a more effective use of resources to put a mobile blue light in each of your hands.”

In addition to the mobile blue light feature, which allows users to quickly contact emergency services and share their location, the ND Safe app includes a Friend Walk program. Friend Walk contacts a designated friend or parent and shares the user’s location so that the contact can monitor their walk home.x

ND Safe also offers a “social escape” feature, in which the app will call the user’s phone within a designated amount of time. This allows the user to flee uncomfortable situations under the pretense of a friend or family member’s emergency. 

The app has links to emergency contacts and resources related to Title IX, the University Counseling Center (UCC), University Health Services, a suicide lifeline and bike and scooter registration.

Shibata encouraged all students to download ND Safe and enable push notifications and location sharing to access all of the safety features. As of Wednesday evening, NDPD has recorded 350 downloads, Shibata said.

Dorm gyms

After the presentation from Shibata, sophomore Anna Dray, the director of University policy for the student union, updated the senate on her work to make dorm gyms more equitable. Dray has been reviewing surveys filled out by senators that reflect the state of dorm gyms. 

“There is a notable disparity between women’s and men’s gyms that we’re looking into,” Dray said.

She is continuing her research to better understand this disparity and to find out what funds dorms could use to improve their gyms.

The goal, though, is not to improve dorm gyms that already have high quality equipment, Dray emphasized. Rather, she is focusing on equity. 

“We’re just going to try to give the dorms the same equipment, so everyone has the same access to the same things,” Dray said.

Additional resolutions

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt then previewed several upcoming events, including a coffee and bagels giveaway with Residential Life on Sept. 23 and a suicide healing and memorial prayer service Sept. 27, before moving on to general orders.

The senate passed resolution SS2223-08, which suspends the elections for first-year class council representatives who are running unopposed.

Senior Madison Nemeth, Judicial Council president, and senior Jared Schlachet, student union parliamentarian, read out the nominations for Judicial Council’s peer advocates and Committee on the Constitution members. After a unanimous vote of approval, the senate congratulated the new Peer Advocates and committee members on their positions.

After the nominations, senators shared updates on resolutions they are currently writing. Sophomore Derick Williams, who is sponsoring resolution SS2223-09 to lower the barriers that limit access to campus recreational programs, recently met with Mark Williams, the director of RecSports, Christine Conway, the director of the UCC, and Consuela Wilson, the director of the Office of Student Enrichment.

“All three parties are in agreement that it sounds like a great idea,” Williams said. “It sounds like they’ll be able to utilize the systems and structures that they already have to implement this program.”

Finally, Stitt introduced a new section of the senate meeting to allow senators to discuss new ideas and collaborations during the meeting. Many senators voiced ideas based on their constituents’ concerns. Notably, senators are looking to address the shortage of bike racks outside classroom buildings given the new rule that scooters must be left outdoors. Senators also discussed gluten free options in the dining halls and petitioning the provost to grant band and ROTC members early class registration.

After closing announcements, the meeting was adjourned.

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2022-23 leprechauns talk journeys to leading Notre Dame fans

The Fighting Irish welcome four new leprechauns for the 2022-2023 year. Seniors Jake House and Jamison Cook, junior Ryan Coury and sophomore Colin Mahoney were selected. All four will be entering the role for the first time. The new Leprechauns reflected on their paths to the green suit and their hopes for the year.  

Ryan Coury

Coury did not think he would one day be the Fighting Irish mascot.

Coury grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, “bleeding gold and blue,” he said. His parents both attended Notre Dame, and he remembers singing along to the fight song with his dad every Saturday.

During his sophomore year, Coury worked for Fighting Irish media as a cameraman. He loved capturing the students’ excitement at games, and he was inspired by the role that past leprechauns have played in bringing energy to the crowd.

“I realized, man, it’s a lot easier to hype up a crowd without a camera on your shoulder,” Coury said. 

After hearing about the tryouts from friends on the cheer team, Coury decided to apply “kind of on a whim,” he said.

“In my mind, being a leprechaun was always a dream, but never something that I thought was a possible reality,” Coury said. “But the moment I realized it was on the table, I went for it.”

All four leprechauns volunteer at other events to engage the Notre Dame fanbase. His favorite part of the job, though, is being a part of a team and working with the other leprechauns.

“We are not only leprechauns ourselves, we are part of the cheer team,” Coury said. “Having those people behind you and with you at everything — it’s electric.”

Coury is a finance major with a real estate minor, and he plans to pursue sports business or real estate after graduation. On campus, Coury is the vice president of Dillon Hall and works as a tour guide for the admissions office. 

“At the core of what we do as leprechauns, we are ambassadors for the University. We are representing what [Notre Dame] stands for,” Coury said. “That’s something huge for me.” 

Jamison Cook

Unlike Coury, Cook did not grow up in a Notre Dame family, but that does not diminish his passion for Fighting Irish sports. 

Cook wanted to be a leprechaun to showcase his love for Notre Dame athletics. 

“You don’t have to be a lifelong fan to do something like this,” Cook said. “I wanted to share how much I have come to love Notre Dame on my own.”

Cook tried out for the leprechaun position three times before making the team his senior year. The tryout process involves a written application, a video application and in-person events and interviews.

“I think it’s pretty rigorous,” Cook said.

Eight to ten applicants are selected to participate in the in-person events. Over the course of three days, Cook and his fellow leprechauns led a mock pep rally, conducted a mock media interview and worked as the leprechaun at the Blue and Gold spring game. They were also interviewed by a panel of judges from the athletics department.

“If I’m completely honest, I don’t think I would have wanted to be a mascot if I was at a different school where you had to wear a big head or a mask,” Cook said.

He said he enjoys the creativity of being a “mouthpiece” for the university rather than a faceless mascot.

“I think that that’s something that the four of us really take very seriously but also have a lot of fun with,” Cook said. “We’re kind of the impersonation of what the Fighting Irish is.”

Cook is studying marketing and journalism, and he is originally from Eerie, Pennsylvania. Cook is currently recruiting for a career in brand management.

“I think [being the leprechaun] kind of gives me a unique perspective, especially for the field that I’m going into conveniently,” Cook said. “I’m very much living the Notre Dame brand and trying to bring it to life for people.”

Colin Mahoney

Mahoney believes the power of the leprechaun extends far beyond excitement at games.

“I think the leprechaun certainly has a presence on campus and has the resources and capabilities to be a force for good,” he said.

Mahoney hails from a family of farmers in Omaha, Nebraska. He was not originally committed to Notre Dame, but he switched his deposit at 11:45 p.m. the night of the deadline, partly because of the opportunity to be a leprechaun.

“I think very early on, I bought into the mission of the University,” Mahoney said. “Ultimately, I want to be a servant for others, and I think that’s what led me to Notre Dame.”

His favorite part of the job is when he gets to see a “tangible result.” Mahoney recently visited St. Adalbert Elementary School in South Bend to interact with young Irish fans. He was handing out high fives before the kids decided to hug him instead.

“That certainly felt good, because I left feeling like I had made those kids’ days better and hopefully gave them a memory that will last them a lifetime,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney lives in Duncan Hall and is majoring in finance and Spanish. He plans to pursue investment banking after graduation. 

Jake House

“The leprechaun is so special because you’re not in a mask, you get to see people face to face … and let them know that they are welcome … showing that Notre Dame is a place for everyone,” senior Jake House said. 

A romance languages and literature major originally from White Lake, Michigan, House said that he “grew up a fan of other colleges, and [Notre Dame] just wasn’t on my radar.”

“I applied to Notre Dame a few days before the application was due, because a friend mentioned it. I never really thought of it as a place for me, but I came for a visit and that first sight of the Golden Dome, you know, just walking around campus … you just get this different feel like, ‘Oh, this isn’t just a place to go to school, this is a family,’” House said.

House recalled a story from his freshman year which put him on the path to becoming the iconic Irish fighter.

“I transferred here from Holy Cross as a Gateway student, and I was a little lost one day and Leprechaun Conal [Fagan, class of 2021] came up to me and helped point me in the right direction, asked if I was doing okay and everything,” he said.

House continued, “I just felt so special because the Leprechaun talked to me and helped me out, and the chance to give that to other people, to make other people feel that way … I think it’s a gift, it’s really indescribable.”

A resident of Dunne Hall, House spoke on his previous high school experience that helped him grow into a student leader.

“I was class president in high school so I was always trying to get people to go out to events and be excited, but I was never a cheerleader or a mascot, it wasn’t my official title,” House said.

House then spoke on the community surrounding the University, saying, “Notre Dame isn’t just the students who go here, Notre Dame is the outreach to the South Bend community, it’s the alumni of course and just fans all over the place.”

House continued, “Notre Dame can sometimes feel like a bubble, it isn’t just the kids on campus bound by SR 933, Angela, Twyckenham and Douglas, it’s also Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross. The Notre Dame Leprechaun to me is about welcoming people,” House said. 

To conclude the conversation, in true Fighting Irish fashion, House had one final statement: “Go Irish!” 

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NDIAS announces designer Thom Browne as artist-in-residence

The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDAIS) announced that Thom Browne ‘88, a former GQ Designer of the Year and three-time winner of the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award, is this year’s artist-in-residence.

Browne graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in business in 1988, and he launched his fashion company in 2001. His designs have been featured in museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He is known for his reconceptualization of the suit, and he has dressed celebrities like LeBron James, Michelle Obama and Cardi B.

Each year, NDAIS gathers a group of faculty fellows, graduate students and undergraduate scholars to address a central research theme, which for 2022-2023 academic year, is “The Public.”

Thom Browne joins nine other faculty fellows, including three Notre Dame professors, a writer from the New York Times, and faculty from Villanova University, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, the University of Washington and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Meghan Sullivan, director of NDAIS, Wilsey Family College Professor of Philosophy and author of “The Good Life Method,” explained the key questions guiding the theme.

“What’s great about public life, what’s challenging about public life? What do we want public life to be like in the future? Where did our ideas of the public-private distinction come from? How does public life matter to us?” Sullivan said.

NDAIS staff and a faculty advisory board announce the theme a year in advance, and it usually involves a “big, ethical question,” Sullivan said. 

“Go back in your mental time machine to January 2021, December 2020. It was peak pandemic, social distancing was everywhere,” Sullivan said. “And I think something that was very much on the minds of all the Notre Dame folks that we were talking to is ‘we want public life to come back, we want to be able to be in public spaces again, but we have no idea what that’s gonna look like.’”

NDAIS seeks to recruit a non-professor who is involved in the theme to be a faculty fellow each year. They were inspired by the connection between Browne’s designs — which often involve suits and formal event wear — and the idea of a person’s public appearance.

“[Browne] is the top designer in men’s fashion for sure right now,” Sullivan said. “When it comes to top fashion designers who engage athletes and celebrities, he’s everywhere. And his work is weird and cool. You can’t look at that picture of Oscar Isaac in a skirt and not start doing philosophy.”

Sullivan said that she has a few goals for Browne’s engagement with Notre Dame this year. 

“One, ​​I want the Notre Dame community to realize that top fashion designers, like Thom, say and make interesting arguments about public life and what it means to us in ways that other people cannot,” she said. “Second, we want for Thom’s engagements to elevate conversation and attention about how seriously Notre Dame takes art and design.”

Sullivan also wants to give Notre Dame students a chance to “peek behind the curtain” of a business and fashion empire.

Browne will visit campus each semester, and both visits will include public-facing events.

On Oct. 25, Browne and Notre Dame alumnus Michael Hainey, former editor of GQ magazine, will sit down to discuss how fashion influences public life. 

During his spring visit, Browne will engage with a one-credit course titled “Strong Suits: The Art, Philosophy, and Business of Thom Browne,” which is co-taught by Sullivan and Michael Schreffler, associate dean for the arts and associate professor in the Department of Art, Art History and Design. 

The course will meet each Friday for six weeks, and class discussions and guest speakers will revolve around academic perspectives on the Thom Browne company. The course will culminate in lunch with Thom Browne where students are encouraged to ask the designer questions, Sullivan said. The application for the class is due on Monday, Oct. 3.

Finally, Browne will host his annual touch football game/fashion show at Notre Dame this fall.

The football game usually takes place in Central Park and is attended by models, actors, fashion editors, photographers, dancers and other artists. Every “player” wears the latest Thom Browne designs.

“It’s really meant to kind of celebrate touch football as a family activity for a lot of Americans on Thanksgiving and to celebrate the connection of his brand with this piece of Americana and American culture which he obviously came to love when he was a student at Notre Dame,” Sullivan said.

This year, 30 students can volunteer to be outfitted in Thom Browne designs and participate in the touch football game. Students can apply to be in the football “draft” before Sept. 25.

“It’s kind of a fashion show for him. It’s kind of a public art piece. It’s kind of marketing. It’s a bunch of things all at once,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she is very excited to invite a distinguished Notre Dame alumnus back as an artist-in-residence. 

“To realize that, just in our own backyard, we have this depth of talent to pull from and engage, I think it shows that Notre Dame is the best in the world when it comes to this kind of work,” she said.

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Engineering dean reflects on female leadership

In the past nine years, three women have become the first female deans of their respective colleges. Patricia Culligan, dean of the College of Engineering, said she feels very proud to hold that position.

“I think it’s important for there to be role models,” Culligan said. “If you don’t see people like you at the top, you can have the impression that you’re not really welcomed or included in the organization.”

Culligan originally studied civil engineering at the University of Leeds, motivated by her love of STEM and her desire to apply knowledge to build a better world.

“I actually selected the University of Leeds because they were known for having a high fraction of women in their undergraduate engineering programs, which for me, was like five out of 120,” Culligan said. “Anywhere else I would have been the only female.”

After graduating, Culligan went into practice as an engineering consultant before returning to the University of Cambridge to get her master’s and her doctorate in soil mechanics. 

“I went into engineering at a time when there weren’t that many women choosing to study engineering at the undergraduate level, and there’s sort of a naive thought that it’s just because women don’t know how cool engineering is,” Culligan said. “You don’t assume that there’s going to be any barriers to your success.”

Down the line, though, Culligan said that she was viewed differently and her work was undervalued because of her gender.

“For some people, that can be the point at which they exit engineering, and for people like myself, who are often stubborn, it can be a reason to push through and demonstrate that that unconscious bias is not valid.”

After holding a faculty position at MIT, Culligan moved to Columbia University, where she was the first female chair of the civil engineering department. At Columbia, Culligan became “obsessed” with green infrastructure, specifically from the perspective of urban heat island mitigation and climate adaptation.

Her research on green infrastructure and stormwater management also demonstrated the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship for engineering projects. Culligan expanded her research group to include an ecologist and an environmental scientist, but it quickly became apparent that the problem went even deeper.

“A lot of the measurements we were doing were in the field, in the streets of New York,” Culligan explained. “And we found that when you’re working in the streets, the public would come up and start to ask you questions.”

Culligan was surprised by how many people were unhappy about the development of green infrastructure in their city. She became curious about the role of green infrastructure in promoting human health and wellbeing and recruited an anthropologist to help answer this question.

“If we’re going to be designing green infrastructure for urban environments from the perspective of climate adaptation and sustainability, we should be coming up with designs that do promote human health and wellbeing,” Culligan said. “Some of the designs that have been promoted by engineers right now are not doing that.”

For Culligan, engineering is about “enabling people to live better lives.” In fact, she originally chose civil engineering because she thought it meant engineering for civilization.

“You can trace back the history of engineering to the ability of communities to stay in place — to find ways to grow food in place, to find ways to protect themselves from the elements in place, to sort of find ways even to protect themselves from aggressors in place,” Culligan said. 

That sort of problem-solving requires what she calls “master integrators” — people who combine interdisciplinary knowledge from disparate areas.

“The solution to the challenges that we face as a society today don’t rely on an individual person’s research lab,” Culligan added. “They lie at the intersection of discipline. And I’m very keen to promote that type of work at Notre Dame.”

Another of Culligan’s passions within academia is closing the “knowledge to action gap.” 

“We need to take more responsibility for ensuring that that knowledge actually makes it off our campuses and benefits people in positive ways,” she said. The intersection of that value and Notre Dame’s mission is part of what drew her to the position of dean in the first place. “Where else would you be able to move the needle like this?”

Culligan has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of women at Notre Dame this year by both speaking with female alums and meeting young talent. Thirty-nine percent of the first-year engineering students are women.

“I think it’s important that the engineering profession at any level reflects the diversity of the society you live in,” Culligan said. “If you only have one set of voices at the engineering table, the world is going to be built . . . to only reflect the needs of that one voice.”


Chip shortage results in temporary cards for first-years

The global semiconductor shortage has revealed just how essential the tiny microchips are — they’re hidden in your car, your laptop, your electric toothbrush, and even in your wallet. In fact, behind that sometimes unfortunate photo from freshman year, each Notre Dame student ID contains a microchip.

This semester, first-years and incoming grad students were given temporary IDs, instead of the personalized “Irish 1 Card” because of supply chain issues related to the chip shortage.

According to Michael Hovestol, the program director for the Campus Card Office, personalized student IDs are usually printed on blank cards after incoming students submit their photos.

 This year, the shipment of blank cards did not arrive until after move-in, so the card office borrowed temporary IDs that Residence Life reserves for summer use.

Around six years ago, the Card Office switched from using student IDs with a magnetic stripe to the contactless “Irish 1 Card.” Each Irish 1 Card contains a microchip surrounded by a copper antennae. Before the Card Office prints the student photo and information, Hovestol explained, the blank cards have a picture of the dome and gold-foiled letters reading “University of Notre Dame.”

Residence Life has a temporary ID available for each bed in the residence halls, and those cards took on a new importance this school year.

“Since we had literally no cards that we could provide students, we asked ResLife to borrow those cards,” Hovestol said. 

The temporary cards work at all contactless stations, such as entry into dining halls or dorms. However, the magnetic stripe on the back of the card does not work, so temporary IDs cannot be used at Grubhub kiosks or vending machines.

Tim Sloan, a first-year in O’Neill Family Hall, said he had difficulty ordering food at the kiosks.

“I tried to get food at some place in the LaFortune center, and [the temporary card] just wouldn’t work,” Sloan said. “I was with three other freshmen, and none of theirs did either, so we just had to use a regular debit card.”

The semiconductor shortage began in the second quarter of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for chips increased drastically, as more people were investing in work-from-home technology and other devices. Automakers began to compete for the limited chip supply, causing a rise in car prices and manufacturing delays.

The shortage caused significant delays in shipments from the Card Office’s manufacturer, ColorID, Hovestol said.

“We ordered [the cards], I think a month or a month and a half before to prevent this, but the delays got worse,” he added.

Last year, the cards were similarly delayed, but they arrived a week before move in. As the shortage is expected to continue into 2023, the Card Office is planning to order the student IDs by January at the latest, Hovestol explained.

Hovestol said that students are no longer receiving any temporary IDs. The Card Office received a shipment of 2,000 cards Aug. 19 and an additional 4,000 cards Aug. 29. 

“In a normal August, we print about 4,500 cards. And so we’re obviously over that threshold where we can cover this whole month and then into the next couple of months as well,” Hovestol said.

Students can now go to Duncan Student Center to pick up their permanent IDs and get their picture retaken, if they wish.

Natalie Sekerak, a first-year in Welsh Family Hall, said it was “a process” to pick up her permanent ID.

“They only gave us specific hours we could come, and they were all during school hours,” Sekerak said. “It was a little difficult to schedule around my classes.”

Sekerak waited in a 30-minute line before receiving her permanent ID.

“When I finally got through the line, it was a pretty quick process,” she said. “I was surprised how fast they printed it.”

As of Tuesday, Aug. 30, less than 500 first-year students did not have a permanent ID, according to Hovestol. This means about 75% of first-years have received their permanent IDs. The Campus Card Office began to reach out to graduate students Wednesday. 

The Campus Card office will be stationed in Duncan Student Center W102B until Sept. 9 for students who still need to pick up their permanent ID.

Katie Muchnick

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