Swifties react to Ticketmaster site fiasco

“A surge in activity on any IT service can cause it to be unavailable to some or all of the people trying to access it,” Tracy Weber, office of information technologies (OIT) assistant vice president, told the Observer.

Taylor Swift fans across the tri-campus helped generate the 3.5 billion system requests on Ticketmaster’s website on Tuesday, Nov. 15, causing hours-long delays for Swifites jockeying to purchase presale tickets for Swift’s sixth headlining concert tour, “The Eras Tour.”

Swift hasn’t gone on tour in five years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since her 2018 “Reputation Stadium Tour,” the singer-songwriter has released four studio albums including “Midnights” which came out in October 2022. Swift was supposed to go on tour for her album “Lover” but cancelled due to the pandemic.

Notre Dame junior Jillian Brunner, a self-described “uberfan” with two Ticketmaster accounts, spent seven hours waiting to secure tickets on that mid-November Tuesday. Sales commenced by venue time zone at 10 a.m. for verified fans.

“I went to the library. I had one Ticketmaster account on a MacBook and one on the desktop computer, and my friend had his, one on his MacBook and one on the desktop,” Brunner said. “I was skipping all my classes, but I had to go TA at [2 p.m.], so I left my computer with [my friend]. He ended up getting one date when I was gone.”

After hours of site glitching, Brunner managed to pick off tickets for the two concerts in Mile High Stadium in Denver on July 14 and 15, doling out almost $500 in the process. Brunner expressed her frustration with Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster.

“Ticketmaster has a monopoly on everything. So they suck,” she said. “They take advantage of people, and their fees are almost as expensive as their tickets — it’s so stupid. Something needs to change.”

Brunner added that the “same thing” happened when concert tickets came out for Harry Styles’ ongoing tour, “Love On Tour.”

“When Harry Styles tickets went on sale, it was the same issue. It’s the same problem every time,” she said. “The demand is so high for some artists that Ticketmaster can’t handle it, but I don’t know who could handle it. It seems impossible.”

Notre Dame junior Jessica Wysocki, a Taylor Swift “Twitter stan,” bought a “Midnights” vinyl to guarantee a presale ticket line boost.

“That’s my big Taylor Swift collection — I have all of her vinyl,” Wysocki said. “I had the line boost which made it more likely that I would get verified. I signed up for the verification a long time ago. And I got it, but none of my friends got it. We all signed up, including my parents [and] none of them got it. So, I’m pretty sure the line boost is why I got a presale verification code.”

Wysocki was prepared for a hectic day on the morning of Nov. 15, but she said the fiasco exceeded her “expectations of bad.”

“I went to my first class, plugged my computer into the outlet and I just sat there. We had a review for an exam, but I didn’t care… immediately when [10 a.m. struck], I hit the button to be in the queue [and] there must have been thousands of people ahead of me,” she said. “We put a hotspot on someone’s phone and moved my computer across campus, so that I didn’t lose my spot in the line. About six hours later, I got in.”

Though happy to get a seat, Wysocki said it was disappointing to learn about so many diehard fans missing out on ticket opportunities.

“I have a lot of friends on Twitter … that couldn’t even get tickets for their young daughters, and it was unfortunate,” Wysocki said. “I would say Ticketmaster had an upper hand in this.”

Weber, drawing from Notre Dame’s own experience responding to spikes in network traffic, e.g., during class registration and football Saturdays, said a “well-designed IT service” will anticipate peaks and have the ability to scale up to meet the demand.

“There’s complexity to this because all aspects of the service need to be able to scale. It can also be expensive to build in all this flexibility to IT service components like servers, software and networks,” she said. “Even with autoscaling, supporting [millions of] requests in such a short time is very difficult to handle.”

Contact Peter Breen at


‘Black Panther’ two, in a theater near you

Little did I know, when I took up a suggestion at my favorite Observer department meeting on Sunday to write a review for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” I’d be enjoying almost four hours of my Monday afternoon, time I ought to have spent doing ethics homework, at the Cinemark in Mishawaka. Though I’m quite sure this was the first time I have ever gone to a movie theater alone, it’s not that I’m in any way movie theater adverse. I enjoyed watching “Minions: The Rise of Gru” in theaters with my friend Nate over the summer as much as the next 20-something-year-old. So, when I came across the opportunity to review a sequel who’s antecedent, 2018’s “Black Panther,” I had yet to watch, I jumped on the chance. It just didn’t cross my mind that they still released movies that weren’t on Netflix.

I know this is becoming a farfetched review — but please hear me out. Take Gregory Peck’s advice in “To Kill a Mockingbird”: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around.” I took the story because I was greedy. I have yet to write for scene since fall break. As a liberal studies major, I encounter enough literature without appropriate context or foreknowledge all the time. Try understanding a lick of Dante without a multifaceted grasp of Medieval astronomy — I had no idea. Try understanding the Gospels before reading all 46 books in the Catholic Old Testament. It wouldn’t be the worst. Some points, like love your neighbor as yourself, stand alone.

Upon entering the theater, I did know that the lead actor of 2018’s “Black Panther,” Chadwick Boseman, had passed away. Therefore, I was not surprised that funerals and goodbyes were thematic points of emphasis. Two moments of silence were demarcated during the two-hour, 43-minute run time, at the beginning and end, when images of Boseman in character were flashed about the screen. Boseman was the first Black actor to star in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. A Cincinnati Reds fan, I had enjoyed watching Boseman play Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film “42.” The man carried a tragic colon cancer diagnosis for the final four years of his life — spending his brightest moments in the spotlight knowing he was good for dead.

I hand over all credit to the movie producers for creatively maneuvering the death of the real-life and fictional Black Panther. Strong female African American actors were the unequivocal answer. Shuri (Letitia Wright) knocked it out of the park in terms of superhero style. “Wakanda Forever” was par for the course in terms of my experience of Marvel and comic movies in general go — a familiar action arch. The emotional rawness of Boseman’s death on top of the universal joy of watching women triumph in roles typically played by white men (e.g., Superman, Batman, Spiderman) had me thinking when I left the theater, as if I had just left a drama.

Speaking briefly on the plot elements I have deciphered from the notebook I scribbled upon in the dark theater, a mythological element named vibranium seems to be central to the movie conflict. I was blown away by the underwater kingdom of the Talokan — very Gunganesce. I would have liked to see Namor disintegrate into pieces on that dessert and it’s not possible for Shuri to have survived that spear wound. The fact that Talokanil could lure all those sailors to drown themselves hit home to me as a reference to Sirens. The film, at its best, incorporated cultural elements from indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas as well as the West. No doubt, most of these references flew over my head. But, because I could sniff all the allusions I was missing, I knew it was a good movie.

Title: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Starring: Letitia Wright, Tenoch Huerta, Angela Bassett

Director: Ryan Coogler

If you like: “Black Panther” (2018)

Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5

Contact Peter Breen at


BRAC book author lectures on the largest NGO you’ve never heard of

Friday morning in the Hesburgh Center, author and former speechwriter Scott MacMillan delivered a talk on his new book, “Hope Over Fate: Fazle Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty.”

Abed, an oil executive in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, founded BRAC, originally the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee, in the early 1970s in response to the Bhola cyclone and the end of the Bangladesh Liberation War. BRAC, considered the world’s foremost non-governmental organization (NGO), serves over 100 million people in Africa and Asia.

Ray Offenheiser, Notre Dame’s Pulte Institute director and BRAC USA chair, welcomed attendees to the morning’s event, which marked BRAC’s 50th anniversary, over Zoom.

“BRAC is the largest and one of the most prestigious NGOs that perhaps you may have not ever heard of,” Offenheiser said. “This is perhaps not surprising as it is a southern-based NGO that emerged out of a liberation war and multiple years of famine in faraway Bangladesh.”

Offenheiser traced BRAC’s humble beginnings, from the response of a few dedicated individuals to Bangladeshi population displacement half a century ago to the sprawling anti-poverty organization, which today operates 12 large social enterprises, one of the largest microcredit programs in the world and the most renowned private university in Bangladesh.

“Over its 50-year history, BRAC has literally lifted tens of millions of poor families out of extreme poverty. Lending a deep appreciation for local context with smart economics and business acumen, it has developed highly innovative programs to tap and develop the capabilities of the poor at the village level and empower them with agency to address their own problems on their own terms,” Offenheiser said.

Before ceding the stage to MacMillan, Offenheiser introduced the “extraordinary leader” behind the international development organization, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, who passed away in 2019.

“Trained as an accountant in the United Kingdom, [Abed] abandoned his role as director of Shell Oil’s operations in Bangladesh to devote his life to poverty alleviation. BRAC is his creation. It’s both his life and BRAC’s achievements that we’re celebrating here today,” he said.

MacMillan, now Abed’s biographer and BRAC USA’s learning innovation director, was a freelance journalist traveling around Africa prior to joining BRAC in a communications role in 2011. He would then serve as Abed’s personal speechwriter up until his death three years ago.

“The time I spent with Abed, I sat across from him at his desk on the nineteenth floor of the BRAC high-rise in Dhaka. I sat with him in hotel rooms in New York, in Des Moines, in Miami — wherever he happened to be traveling if he was doing a commencement speech or got some honorary degree. He asked me to work on his speeches,” MacMillan said.

According to MacMillan, Abed “didn’t really like to tell his story very much” to groups of people and “was not exceptionally good at marketing himself.” MacMillan thought that this was a “remarkable quality,” given that running a nonprofit usually requires adept self-promotion.

“He was the kind of guy that if you ask him a question, he will give a very thoughtful answer. The kind of person that, when he spoke, you sort of leaned in to hear what he had to say,” MacMillan said. “He really believed very strongly in keeping your head down and focusing on the work and letting the work speak for itself.”

Surmising BRAC’s scope of services within an elevator pitch would be quite a feat, MacMillan admitted. BRAC is not only “one of the world’s largest providers of microfinance,” it provides education for about a million students, “mostly girls,” at any given time, tends to neighborhoods with essential health goods and services by means of “tens of thousands of community health workers,” administers the “12 social enterprises that generated all this revenue” and so much more.

But, MacMillan said, as he got to know Abed, he began to detect an essential thread of BRAC’s anti-poverty mission and work — hence what MacMillan captured in the title of his book: “Hope Over Fate.”

“I noticed, as I spoke to him, that there was an underlying unity, if you will, to the work that Abed was doing, going all the way back to the 1970s. And it was this idea that hope itself could help people overcome the poverty trap,” he said. “Hope and agency over fatalism and despair [was] the theme.”

Following MacMillan’s talk, Keough School of Global Affairs dean Scott Appleby facilitated a panel discussion with the biographer alongside BRAC University anthropology professor Samia Huq and Winona State University global studies professor Michael Bowler. Mushtaque Chowdhury, founding dean of BRAC University’s school of public health, joined the collocutors from Dhaka over Zoom.

Chowdhury, who joined BRAC when it was five years old and worked there for 42 years, added to the discussion his friend Abed’s most endearing qualities, besides being an extraordinary manager.

“[Abed] was a great believer in the power of women. He always thought that if you want to change society, it has to come through women, and that’s why if you look at BRAC programs, all BRAC programs are women-centered,” Chowdhury said. “That was one of the reasons why BRAC has done well, which also means that Abed was right.”

Chowdhury said that Abed, in contrast to other universities and development organizations in Bangladesh at the time, was a strong believer in research “autonomy.”

“Because of [Abed’s] support and his understanding and ready acceptance of the research results, the research and development division was able to really become big and contribute tremendously to the development of the [BRAC],” Chowdhury said. “It was very instrumental in really building BRAC as an evidence-based organization.”

Huq spoke about how the pioneering research experience at BRAC came into BRAC University, which was founded in 2001, in a “big way.”

“The university was going to have strong research foundations to generate evidence for the practice of development both at BRAC and beyond,” Huq said. “This evidence-based, knowledge-based thinking and its outreach to the community, through community service and through civic engagement was also going to transform the next generation of Bangladeshi citizens in not just doing development but doing in general differently.”

According to Huq, Abed also underlined the importance of replicating the interdisciplinary approach found within liberal arts universities.

“Thinking holistically about complex issues, coming up with good solutions to complex problems, is going to be very important for a variety of reasons,” she said. “[The hope is] to excite students to go out there, to build communities, to look at community problems and to understand the flourishing of themselves as the future citizens of Bangladesh.”

Bowler, a 1978 Notre Dame alumnus, spoke about his experience visiting Bangladesh as an undergraduate, seeing BRAC’s research in action. The Congregation of Holy Cross opened its ministry in East Bengal during the mid-1800s. 

“I went to Bangladesh first thanks to the support of Fr. Hesburgh, and he put me in touch with Fr. [Richard] Timm, [who sent] me out to rural Bangladesh to experience BRAC and their non-formal education,” Bowler said. “I thought it was absolutely fabulous.”

The morning event concluded with two rounds of questions concerning the success and failures of BRAC’s growth outside of Bangladesh and the future direction the NGO should pursue. Chowdhury said he hoped BRAC would continue to invest in its research while Huq stressed BRAC University initiatives.

Contact Peter Breen at


Notre Dame Swing Club dances to the beat of their own drum

Since 1998, the Notre Dame Swing Club has taught students across the tri-campus. Today club president Ryan Mantey alongside vice presidents Anna Schmidt and Megan Sherry teach an hour-long lesson three days a week on the jazz-inspired social dance and some of its derivatives: East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop and Charleston.

Less formalized than Old World ballroom dancing, swing dance developed out of the Harlem Renaissance, Schmidt said. The accompanying music can totally vary.

“It’s actually a deeply African American dance and it has spread across the country,” she said. “Social dancing is really big in Europe so ballroom dancing there is popular, [but] swing is a little bit more loose.”

The easiest swing style to learn is east coast, the club executives agreed. If “you’ve ever seen old people” swing dancing, Schmidt said, it’s likely west coast. This year, the club is focusing on Lindy Hop, the original style of swing dancing.

“Lindy Hop requires a lot of energy,” Schmidt said. “It’s the historical young people’s dance. If you’ve seen swing dancing aerials, where people are getting thrown around, that’s a Lindy Hop.”

The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the Smith Center and at 6 p.m. Thursdays in “The Rock.” After an hour of instruction, there’s a second hour for open dance.

“Much of the actual learning happens when we have our open dance,” Schmidt said. “We play music, and you dance with people — like that’s pretty much all that happens — and you get really comfortable with it.”

It can be intimidating to pick up social dance without prior exposure, Schmidt added. The typical club meeting, about a handful of couples, provides a relaxed environment for twisting and turning.

“I first learned [how to social dance] here at swing club a year ago and now I’m teaching,” she said. “You get close with everyone that you’re working with, you learn everyone’s dance style and everyone feels really comfortable asking us questions. It’s not like you’re in a huge group.”

In social dances like swing, there is a lead and a follow. Basic moves incorporated specific footwork routines and maybe a spin thrown in the middle, but Schmidt said it’s important not to get too caught up on these details.

“[Experts] talk of swing dancing as a sort of language, where the lead is speaking, and the follow is listening. Your dancing is quite literally a form of communication,” Schmidt said. “The footwork is sort of secondary to the communication you have going on. You’re usually connected at each of your hands.”

Mantey underscored this fondness for communication between dance partners through tension and pressure, and through the ways each partner maintains his or her frame and follows through on momentum.

“Even slight shifts [in pressure] tell my follow, ‘I want to go forward, or I want to go back.’ I raise my hand and that’s an invitation to a turn of some kind,” Mantey said. “The structures and the footwork patterns get to be swept away […] you really do focus on just rocking, communicating with your partner.”

The swing dancing club puts together a signature dance every semester. Last weekend, the club held their fall dance in the LaFortune Student Center ballroom.

“Though we don’t have a competition, that’s kind of like our big event that we do so people can come and get to do everything they’ve learned,” Schmidt said.

Because of a variety of converging factors, according to Schmidt, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for clubs to reserve space on campus through the Student Activities Office (SAO) for dances, even with a priority request.

“We don’t have a location for a spring dance. [SAO] told us they couldn’t do it for us,” Schmidt said. “We have to go find an outside venue now and we don’t know how we’re going to do that. Dorm dances have a proud history. That one’s fine, but there are some things where I’m like ‘we’re a social dance club, please get this priority!’”

Contact Peter Breen at


Community mourns losses during transgender day of remembrance

Editor’s Note: This story contains mentions of violence.

Community members gathered around the Grotto on Monday evening for a prayer service in remembrance of those who lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. PrismND and the Gender Relations Center (GRC) co-sponsored the vigil.

Molly Doerfler, PrismND president, led the memorial in mourning for the 32 known transgender people who lost their lives to acts of violence based on gender identity in 2022.

“These victims, like all of us, are loving partners, parents, family members, friends and community members,” Doerfler said. “They worked, went to school and attended houses of worship. They were real people who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them.”

According to Doerfler, 2022 has seen an uptick in legislation that does not uphold the dignity of transgender and gender non-conforming persons.

“In addition to praying for those who lost their lives, we pray for quality of life for the living and an end to discrimination,” she said.

Doerfler encouraged community members to participate by coming forward to light a named candle to place by the Grotto.

“Tonight, we will read the names of those who have died and light a candle in their memory to proclaim the importance of life, the value our people bring to society and the human dignity that all people have,” she said.

Thirty-two lost names and stories were then delivered aloud, starting with Regina Allen.

Brianna Chappell, Notre Dame student government director of LGBTQ+ initiatives, was one of eight student speakers sharing the epitaphs of those murdered in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Kathryn ‘Katie’ Newhouse was a 19-year-old Asian American neurodivergent transgender woman,” Chappell stated. “She was an Illinois native who had a passion for hiking, sightseeing and advocating for trans rights. On March 19, 2022, she was killed by her father in Georgia before he died by suicide using the same weapon.”

Raymond “Ray” Muscat, Chappell continued, was a 24-year-old grocery worker described by coworkers as a kind soul with a glowing smile.

“On May 8, 2022,” she said, “Muscat was shot and killed by his girlfriend in Independence Township, Michigan.”

After the last name, Kenyatta “Kesha” Webster, was called, prayer intentions were offered by sophomore Elijah Mustillo for the souls of all those murdered this year, and in years past, as a result of anti-transgender violence.

Following intentions, Mustillo invited those gathered to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer. Then, everyone shared a sign of peace.

Arlene Montevecchio, GRC director, closed out the memorial at the Grotto, thanking student leaders of both PrismND and the GRC.

Montevecchio directed students to “safe spaces” on campus —naming PrismND, the GRC, campus ministry and the University Counseling Center (UCC) as “folks on campus who want to provide a safe and inclusive community here.”

Before concluding, Montevecchio urged the audience to remember the victims names that were just read off and cautioned about the continual dangers of anti-transgender violence.

“Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victims’ transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, forcing them into unemployment, poverty or homelessness,” Montevecchio said. “These deaths also highlight the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. May all of us continue to work for justice, peace and love in our world, today and every day.”

Contact Peter Breen at


Real estate conference details Church property trends

Within the second-floor conference rooms of McKenna Hall, the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate’s (FIRE) Church Properties Initiative (CPI) hosted its first on-campus conference last week entitled “The Future of Church Property.” Forty-three conference sessions took place, from 15-minute lightning talks to 45-minute panel discussions.

FIRE director Dan Kelly welcomed colleagues from many universities, representatives of Catholic dioceses and other religious denominations, leaders from the nonprofit world and the real estate industry, and Notre Dame faculty, staff and students.

Kelly said that CPI covers properties owned by religious organizations and nonprofits — churches, graveyards, hospitals and parking lots — although FIRE’s work spans all areas in the real estate sector.

“We’re hoping that this conference… can help to advance the ball in terms of research, in terms of education and in terms of real-world impact [for church properties],” he said.

The Catholic Church is the largest non-governmental landowner in the world, according to the FIRE website, with an estimated 177 million acres

Villanova University management professor Matt Mannion led off Monday’s opening panel, addressing the challenges faced by church leaders. Villanova offers the world’s first and only Master of Science in Church Management degree.

“We have an infrastructure that’s built for a time that no longer exists so that we have more properties and facilities than we can potentially use and or sustain,” he said. “The things you own, end up owning you.”

Mannion narrowed the Catholic church property discussion to the diocesan and parish levels, attributing, in certain cases, the cause of financial and mission strain to sex abuse scandals and declining Sunday Mass attendance.

A most glaring example, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, sold “over 600 church properties” since coming out of bankruptcy in 2018, Mannion said.

In May of this year, the New York Times reported that the $121.5 million settlement involving the archdiocese was “among the top five payouts in abuse litigation involving the Catholic church in the United States.”

In New Brunswick, Canada, the bishop there made a different observation, that “it’s unjust to ask 10,000 people to try and [financially] sustain 31 parishes and all the associated properties,” Mannion said.

Jumping in, Nadia Mian, an urban planner from Rutgers University, spoke to the factors impacting church property managers such as zoning bylaw regulations, historic preservation boards and community activists known as NIMBYs.

Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Kevin Rhoades spoke Tuesday afternoon. Bishop Rhoades was notable among church leaders in attendance as he is in charge of making decisions about diocesan properties.

“I really didn’t have a lot of knowledge in this area, nor the data needed for these decisions,” Rhoades said. “Because of my own inclination towards our evangelizing mission, I was often reluctant to close or sell parish buildings and properties and tried to think of creative uses for our facilities.”

Rhoades thanked FIRE for cataloging Fort Wayne-South Bend diocesan property using GIS, or geographic information systems.

“[The] high caliber data that we now have really helps us in our pastoral planning,” he said.

CPI program manager Madeline Johnson explained that GIS is an umbrella term for an ecosystem of tools that use and integrate spatial data, “cartography for the 21st century.”

Johnson said that GIS is used at the diocesan level in inventory and property management.

“Think of it as a series of linked spreadsheets, where you’ve got a [geo-located] shape on the map that defines the property boundary,” she said. “It’s not limited to property management applications. It could be cultural artifacts that are located within the church.”

This mapping application shows all building permits issued by the SJC/City of South Bend Building Department. Courtesy of St Joseph County GIS

The number of columns in that spreadsheet is endless, Johnson said. FIRE and CPI add the most recent property appraisals, church or otherwise, into this map.

Johnson also overlays available demographic information such as school enrollment into the data set to inform property management decisions.

“Another capability that is made possible by having property records in this form is that you’re then able to integrate it with a full ecosystem of GIS-based research and tools that exist out in the world,” she said.

South Bend community member Richard Williams asked Bishop Rhoades during a Q&A session after Johnson’s talk to include data from church properties of other Christian denominations in Notre Dame’s GIS model.

“Because this is the universal church,” Williams said, “I would ask that you also, in particular for South Bend, include the other churches because we may be able to show how we can map and pull a city together that has been fragmented for years.”

Williams explained his reasoning for raising this point, saying “I just wanted to offer that as a challenge to FIRE and to the bishop and to Notre Dame.”

Contact Peter Breen at


Glynn Honors opens new lounge in O’Shaughnessy, fosters scholarship

On Oct. 27, the Glynn Family Honors Program celebrated the opening of its new, 1,500 square-foot lounge on the second floor of O’Shaughnessy Hall with apple cider and donuts.

For the 400 undergraduate students in the Glynn program, the multipurpose common room will serve not only as private study space, but also as a hub for Glynn-specific events like alumni speakers and senior thesis workshops, program co-director Margaret Meserve said.

The Glynn program offers select undergraduates in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, College of Science and School of Architecture “the opportunity to pursue academic excellence within a community of like-minded learners,” according to the program’s website. 

“It’s an honors program for academically ambitious, intellectually curious students in Arts and Letters, Science and Architecture,” Meserve said.

Notre Dame developed an honors program in the 1980s and in 2006, the program became known as the Glynn Family Honors Program, growing to its present size of about 100 students per year.

In the program’s current form, Meserve distinguishes two primary features: a unique path through Notre Dame’s core curriculum and sponsorship for undergraduate research which Glynn students are expected to integrate into their senior thesis.

“The support for research and the sense that you’re going through Notre Dame with a cohort of other people who are also doing research and thinking about a senior thesis is also a really great opportunity,” Meserve said.

Reimagining humanities spaces

Over the past decade, academic programs all across Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been receiving makeovers.

On the third floor of O’Shaughnessy Hall — the location of Glynn’s old 1,250 square-foot lounge — the honors program will be saying goodbye to their neighbors, the program of liberal studies (PLS) student lounge.

But down on the second floor of O’Shaughnessy, the Glynn program will welcome as neighbors the newly remodeled Tech Ethics Lab and Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values.

These aforementioned departmental areas and several others in O’Shaughnessy and Decio Halls have been renovated in recent years as a consequence of the $400 million Campus Crossroads project, Meserve said.

“If you go back to 2015 or 2016, Campus Crossroads, which is the buildings by the stadium, opened up, including new buildings for anthropology and psychology and music,” Meserve said. “And at the same time, Jenkins Nanovic Halls, down towards the south end of campus, opened up with new space for political science, sociology and economics.”

Easily half the College of Arts and Letters suddenly had new departmental suites built on a new model designed to facilitate student-faculty interaction.

“For the very first time, those are integrated spaces where the department office, all the faculty offices, graduate students, undergraduates, classrooms, lounges, the mail room, the coffeemaker — everything was under one roof,” Meserve said.

Faculty offices, which had previously been found in the crevices of Decio, Malloy and Flanner Halls, were reconnected with the main department office — former “storefronts,” which used to be located in either O’Shaughnessy or Flanner Halls.

Thirty to 40 years ago, “your office was in Decio, it was in Malloy, it was on another floor of Flanner not near the department,” Meserve said. “When I started at Notre Dame, Decio felt like a dorm for faculty. It was like 250 single offices and not even like a bench in the hallway, just absolutely like little cells lined up.”

Under the old model, neither students nor faculty in the humanities had any sense of an academic home on campus.

“The idea is to bring the faculty all together,” Meserve said, “But also, for me, it was very important to feel like if you are an undergraduate here and you declare a humanities major, you have a place to go that feels like your own.”

Meserve, who has been managing these renovation projects for the College of Arts and Letters in O’Shaughnessy and Decio Halls, said that so far, Notre Dame has done projects for: history, English, East Asian languages, German and Russian languages, PLS and smaller programs as well — “taking this empty space and trying to reimagine it.”

The classics department is receiving their renovation over winter break and a new project is currently underway for the Initiative on Race and Resilience on the third floor of O’Shaughnessy.

“The last few departments that we have to do are American studies and Romance languages. And those are in the planning stages,” Meserve said. “Eventually, every humanities program will be in a new space and thus far, we’re more than halfway there.”

The new Glynn program lounge, known affectionately as the “Glounge” by its students, is complete with an open study area plan, faculty offices and fresh Einstein Bros. Bagels brought in every morning.

John W. Glynn ’62 and his wife, Barbara, have maintained their financial backing of the program throughout its most recent evolution.

“We are very grateful to the Glynns who continue to support the program, they gave a gift that made this renovation possible,” Meserve said. “We’re very excited, it’s a beautiful new space … We’re really pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

A unique path

The centerpiece of the Glynn program is a two-semester, first-year honors humanities seminar taught by the same professor to a small group of about a dozen students. The reading and writing intensive course fulfills the core curriculum’s writing and rhetoric and University seminar requirements.

Meserve said that the seminar is meant to be an encounter with literature and the intellectual history of primary texts.

“The idea is that, in the course of a year, you should cover a broad range of chronology, different authors, different voices, different kinds of texts,” she said. “We let every professor set their own syllabus, and some of them will choose a theme, like tragedy or war, or [they will] focus on the Catholic intellectual tradition or the environment.”

Seminars’ syllabi span literary history, touching upon authorities from Plato to Dante to Tolkien.

“[Professors] usually set books on the syllabus that go from the Old Testament or the Iliad and the Odyssey, all the way up to the twenty-first century,” Meserve said.

Glynn students enjoy fresh Einstein Bros. Bagels in the ‘Glounge’ every morning. / Courtesy of Jack McEnery

“The hope is that an exposure to literature of all stripes in the humanities seminar, that all these diverse encounters will compel students to question how they ought to understand calling in their own lives,” professor Jillian Snyder said.

Jack McEnery, a junior PLS major, remembered his “Gleminar” as a stimulating meeting of the minds between professor and students.

In addition to the humanities seminar, the Glynn course of studies includes honors philosophy, theology, science and mathematics courses, typically taken in the first or second year.

Notre Dame’s core curriculum requires that humanities majors complete a combination of three total math and science courses. Glynn students in the College of Arts and Letters must take one more for a total of two science and two math classes.

Scholarly excellence

Every Glynn student must write a senior thesis. Along the way, the Glynn program offers funding and students participate in research and writing colloquiums, Meserve said. Though it’s not required, students, for the most part, write their thesis with an advisor from their major. Topics are as variable as students’ interests.

“We have art students who do creative projects. Someone just did their piano recital as their senior project,” Meserve said. “Last year, we had a student who published their own children’s book.”

Emily Hannon, a senior history major, used Glynn funding to conduct research this summer at the Library of Congress on the development of American history textbooks

“I’m specifically looking at how the women’s liberation movement changed the way that women are discussed in American history textbooks,” she said. “My thesis is a little strange because it’s more of historiography, which is the history of history.”

Hannon chose American Pageant, a common American high school textbook used for AP United States History initially published in 1956. A challenge with studying textbooks is that they are often destroyed when newer editions are released. The 17th edition of American Pageant came out in 2019.

“I used a Glynn grant to go to DC to go through all the editions of the textbook over the summer,” Hannon said. “The Library of Congress is one of the few places that actually keeps all of these old editions.”

Hannon intends on going to law school to work in the field of public education following graduation and anticipates a 40-to-80-page senior thesis with the history department to be ample preparation.

“Undertaking a long-scale writing and research project is really helpful for being a lawyer and managing thoughts,” she said. “[My research] will also give me more of a handle on how different forces engage in shaping public policy.”

The Glynn research and writing colloquiums, classes that Snyder teaches, serve as a memorable bookend, along with the humanities seminar, to the Notre Dame honors student experience.

Being back in these colloquiums with other Glynn students “is really cool to see, because it’s one of the weird things where your freshman year, you’re together all the time and then you finish your requirements and go off into your major and don’t really see anyone,” Hannon said. “It’s cool to come back now and see what the students I had class with freshman year are doing now.”

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Saints stomp Maple Leaves

The Holy Cross women’s basketball team dominated Goshen College on Saturday afternoon at home in McKenna Arena.

Senior guard Jayda Miller’s 33 points steered the Saints past the Maple Leaves 84-48.

Holy Cross scored first, getting on the board with a corner three from junior guard Lauren Morris less than a minute into the game.

Goshen countered quickly with a long two, but a rebound by sophomore forward Grace Adams led to a Miller three-pointer, giving the Saints a 6-2 advantage.

Three more Holy Cross buckets, including a layup and another three-pointer from Miller, drove the Saints ahead of the Maple Leaves 13-2 after four minutes of play, forcing Goshen to call a timeout.

The Maple Leaves knocked down a layup shortly after the break but were unable to change the narrative for the rest of the period.

The Saints, traversing speedily down the court in transition, jumping on loose balls and shooting clean from the three-point and free-throw lines, came away from the first quarter with an imposing 28-11 lead.

During the second quarter, the Saints continued to win the battle in the paint on both sides of the court. Sloppy play midway through the quarter generated quite a few more fouls against the Saints, but Maple Leaves failed to work this to their benefit.

The score at halftime stood at 44-28, and Holy Cross hustled off the court, anxious to complete the groundwork they had laid over the first 20 minutes of play.

Less than a minute into the third quarter, Morris picked up her fourth foul and was sat. Three more layups from Miller, amidst a good of deal possession squabbling and a Goshen bucket then hushed away any Maple Leaf momentum that could have come from the 15-minute break.

The Goshen press proved ineffective against Holy Cross, and the Saints built their lead, finishing ahead 60-39 at the end of the three quarters.

Holy Cross came out in the fourth quarter as hot as they’d been all game.

The Saints picked up four layups less than three minutes into the fourth, three by Adams and one by sophomore guard Jordyn Smith, before the Maple Leaves had the chance to put up any fourth quarter points.

The ample Goshen roster remained loud on the bench to the bitter end, but the Saints were the ones dribbling it out on their way to an 84-48 victory.

In the final period of play, Holy Cross tacked on 15 points to their third quarter lead, finishing as 36-point winners.

On top of Miller’s 33 points, Adams came away with 13 rebounds, six on offense, and Smith eked out six steals of her own.

Head coach Tom Robbins attributed the Saints’ firm performance to the squad’s preparation following a frustrating loss against Bethel on Thursday.

“We had a bad loss a couple of days ago and the players really took ownership amongst themselves and set some goals and really brought themselves together to prepare for this game,” Robbins said.

Robbins was impressed by his players ability to finish out the game, having played hard from start to finish.

“We had a lot of tired girls at the end of that game,” he said. “But we have enough. We were strong enough and in good enough shape to finish this game.”

Robbins credited Miller’s dominant offensive showing to the team’s young supporting talent. Unlike in previous years, the senior has not been forced to take so many shots.

“[Miller] has really developed some more shot selection that’s not always been the case,” he said. “I thought it really came through today, because she got really hot, and it would be a temptation for her to just keep shooting no matter what, but she kept within her lane.”

The defensive leadership from Adams and Smith stood out to Robbins as well.

“I felt like Grace and Jordyn Smith took the team on their back in a lot of different ways,” Robbins added. “Beyond just scoring … I thought those two players, they showed that everybody else this is how you win, this is what winning basketball looks like. Follow us.”

Saturday afternoon’s victory lifts Holy Cross to 2-2 on the season. The Saints will match-up against Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) Wednesday back on their home court.

“We’ve kind of had been developing a rivalry with [IUSB],” Robbins said. “They’re one of the best teams in our conference and one of the best teams in the region.”

As it stands, the rivalry is a little one sided — the Holy Cross woman have yet to beat the Titans.

“We look at them and I’m not sure they’re looking at us yet,” Robbins said. “We want that to be the case. We want to get them to a position where they’re starting to look at us as a threat.”

This early-season, statement win for the Saints is as if to say: we’re ready to compete locally and in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference at large.

The Saints are back home in South Bend to compete against the Titans on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Holy Cross awards new scholarships

As Holy Cross continues to see record application numbers, interim provost Michael Griffin said the College is turning toward trusted partners to foster student excellence.

Griffin identified the two networks through which the College will offer more scholarships this year: dependents of Notre Dame employees and families who participate in the SAGE scholars rewards program.

Half a decade ago, under former College President Fr. David Tyson, Holy Cross began covering the full cost of tuition and fees for those eligible for Notre Dame’s tuition benefit, Griffin said.

“Covering full tuition for Notre Dame employee children was one of the first things [Tyson] did to strengthen Holy Cross’ bond with Notre Dame,” Griffin said.

Starting this year, Griffin said, Holy Cross College is providing room and board costs for Notre Dame employee children who maintain a certain high school grade point average (GPA).

“Children of those whose parents qualify for the tuition benefit don’t pay anything for tuition and fees. That already exists,” Griffin clarified. “What is new is that for students whose high school GPA is 3.4 or above, we will also cover their housing if they choose to live on campus.”

Griffin said the grant, named the Hesburgh Housing Scholarship, is a recognition of the special relationship found among the tri-campus.

“Fr. Hesburgh was a very good friend of Holy Cross College and always was keen to point families who were interested in a Catholic education to come to the tri-campus,” Griffin said.

The financial source of the housing voucher, Griffin said, is a fund started in Fr. Hesburgh’s name.

“We have a Hesburgh Fund that some friends of Fr. Hesburgh began while he was still alive and that people still donate to,” Griffin said. “That is something that people can donate to kind of honor Father Hesburgh and the role he played at Holy Cross.”

Griffin expects the scholarship to benefit the academic performance of students from Notre Dame employee families, especially first-generation students.

“What we are finding is that living on campus is a real benefit to academic performance, and we want to make that possible,” Griffin said. “The research is clear that for first-gen students, it is a marked difference. It is a marked increase in academic success when they live on campus.”

Director of financial aid Rick Gonsiorek added that the scholarship’s underlying intent is to strengthen the College’s community.

“[The scholarship] removes a financial barrier from students to fully enter into that campus life,” Gonsiorek said. “Holy Cross College wants to offer as holistic an educational experience as possible.”

Though the range of people who qualify for the scholarship is wide, the housing grant will only affect a small percentage of Holy Cross College’s population, Gonsiorek said.

“The total number of Notre Dame dependents going to school here is a little bit less than 20,” Gonsiorek said. “As the word gets out, I expect to see more Notre Dame families take advantage of this incredible opportunity.”

Holy Cross College will also begin offering scholarships this year through the SAGE Scholars FastTrak pre-admission program, Griffin said.

“[SAGE] is a program that is run through employers where families and students can accumulate points by taking steps towards wellness, college readiness [or even] community service,” Griffin said. “We add scholarships to their sage reward points,” he said.

Gonsiorek equates FastTrak to “speed dating.” He said the program flips the whole admissions process around.

“This FastTrak Program is a new program that allows the colleges to reach directly out to the students and identify them on a number of admissible characteristics,” Gonsiorek said. “It’s like a private college search network.”

Gonsiorek said FastTrak is particularly useful for finding students who might otherwise think they would not be able to afford college.

“There’s a whole large group of students out there who are intimidated by the college admissions process,” Gonsiorek said. “They’re first-generation students. They’re scared to even apply to schools let alone a private school. It’s such a large price tag.”

Through SAGE FastTrak, Holy Cross can offer pre-admission and relay guaranteed scholarship packages to prospective students whom the College believes would be a good fit on campus, Gonsiorek said.

“What we also are finding is that, when we identify pockets of really trusted partners like Notre Dame, like SAGE, by giving scholarships, more of them, one of the things is we get is more of the kinds of students who thrive at Holy Cross,” Griffin said. “That’s the win. We continue to increase our student excellence.”

Contact Peter Breen at


‘Entergalactic’: A taste of happiness

On Sept. 30, Kid Cudi released his eighth solo album, “Entergalactic,” alongside a Netflix animated rom-com of the same name.

A Cudi fan since middle school, I’m glad to be afforded the opportunity to check in on my fellow Clevelander while carrying out research for this review.

Out of the album’s 15 tracks, “Livin’ My Truth” and “My Drug” best capture the polar themes of independence and love that Cudi develops in this work. You hear Cudi latching onto these two avenues toward happiness from within the structure of loneliness and alienation that underlies all of his music.

I am thrilled to see Cudi, a man who has struggled like the best of us with mental health troubles and addiction through most of his life, finding that elusive fulfillment inside himself. Right off the bat, tracks two and three of the album, “New Mode” and “Do What I Want,” acclaim the joys of a humbly confident worldview. One hesitation Cudi’s new mindset may warrant is its predisposition toward carelessness. I’m not saying that the guy shouldn’t party, but only warning about the piled-up mental burden that unrestrained indulgence in freedom lends itself to. All I hope for is Cudi’s happiness, that this newfound independence is grounded in Cudi’s recognition of his worth as a human being rather than in others’ perception of him as a celebrity.

The second theme, love, is the more dominant thread of the work. It’s a win for Cudi fans that this love seems to be for an actual human being in contrast to the love of marijuana that so dominates Cudi’s earlier discography. As heard in the songs “Angel” and “Can’t Shake Her,” the love Cudi has for a presumed girlfriend takes on a messianic component. Amidst the throngs of perhaps decades-long depression, Cudi has regained his will to live life to its fullest thanks to the deliverance by the hand of some lucky woman. Again here, I see a danger in Cudi’s music that possibly stems more from my own aversion to the virtues lauded by the 2022 music industry than something Cudi has done personally. Due to the sensual nature in which Cudi describes his love, I’m worried that Cudi may become too dependent on his love for his girlfriend and that he might even be conflating love with a chemical drug. I wish Cudi’s love life as much success as I would any man.I just hope that he found a well-ordered type of love that’s good for him down to the soul.

The animated movie is worth a watch for Cudi fans, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the standard Netflix viewer. The themes from the album — love and independence — play out in a colorfully animated New York City. A street artist and a photographer, neighbors, fall in love despite the best efforts of that toxic ex-girlfriend. A good dose of the new album, former Cudi music and kaleidoscope visuals makes the film more of a psychedelic musical more than anything else.

Though I don’t imagine myself blaring any of Cudi’s new music on repeat as I still do today with songs like “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” “Just What I Am” and “Erase Me,” I’m so happy that Cudi put out this multimedia project. I think it’s got to be hard for an artist like Cudi, who has founded his career on themes like sadness, to break out with a positive ideology both personally and professionally. Cudi’s creativity will forever be his greatest appeal, and that the reason why I have always resonated with his music. In “Entergalactic,” this hallmark shines brilliantly through.

Artist: Kid Cudi

Album: “Entergalactic”

Label: Republic Records

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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