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Students line up at UHS clinic to receive booster shots

Students snaked out the Stepan Center Thursday morning to receive their bivalent booster shots.

The line for the clinic, which was hosted by University Health Services (UHS), went all the way to the snow-covered sidewalks. In fact, when the clinic opened at 10 a.m., students were already lined up to get their COVID-19 booster shots.

Inside the building, a sign was set up with instructions for people with and without their vaccine card on how to check in. A mask was required to proceed into the building for the shot. 

Bethel Aninyei, a graduate engineering student, was one of the people waiting in the line outside for their booster shot.

When asked why she came to the clinic, Aninyei said it was because the shot will be mandatory for the upcoming school year, as announced by the University last November. She said she probably wouldn’t have come to the clinic if it wasn’t, since she had already received the first booster.  

Going to the University-run clinic had two main advantages for sophomore Anna McCartan. One was the clinic’s convenient location, and the other was that she would not need to worry about submitting information through her UHS portal.

“Mostly, it’s really nice just walking a couple minutes from my dorm and not really having to worry about submitting it separately on the portal, like automatic uploads,” McCartan said. 

McCartan said she caught COVID for the first time this fall.

“I think since I had gotten the disease so recently, I probably would have waited longer, because I think I still have some antibodies from having it. So, it probably would be more effective later, but since they’re requiring it, I think I would sign up now,” McCartan said.

The convenience of going to the University-run clinic was also expressed by junior Chris Barile.

“It’s the closest thing, and also they upload your information right to your portal,” he said.

Barile said he probably would not have gotten the bivalent booster if it was not required because he is already boosted.

Diana Taylor, a nurse at the clinic, said that the bivalent booster is different from the earlier monovalent booster because it protects against more strains of Covid-19.

“This one has the Delta, the Omicron and the BA.5. So, it’s a totally different strain of what those first boosters came out,” she said. “The bivalent means more than one, so there’s two new things they’ve added onto there, so the booster you had is not the same as this.”

Contact Colleen at cfarre23@nd.edu.

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University offers bivalent booster clinic

Notre Dame will host a vaccination clinic for the COVID-19 bivalent booster, which is required for students to enroll in the 2023-2024 academic year.

The clinic will be held on campus in the Stepan Center on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, as announced in emails to the student body on Dec. 7 and Jan. 12. Students must register in advance through University Health Services (UHS).

If students receive the Pfizer-BioNTech booster at the clinic, documentation will be automatically uploaded. Students who elect to get the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster off-campus must upload their documentation to their UHS student portal.

As of Sept. 1, the bivalent booster is the only booster offered nationwide. Any student who received a booster dose after Sept. 1 is in compliance with the requirement, as long as documentation is uploaded. The deadline to receive the booster dose is March 1. 

The University announced the student booster requirement in an email from UHS director Edward Junkins on Nov. 14. All students, including undergraduate, graduate, professional and those participating in virtual research or learning, are included in the requirement.

The bivalent booster marks an additional vaccine required for students to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID for the 2023-2024 academic year, in addition to two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine was also required this year for the third time since 2020.

If students do not fulfill the bivalent booster requirement or receive an exemption, a hold will be placed on their accounts to prevent registration for classes for the 2023 fall semester. Those who have already received an COVID vaccine exemption need not apply again.

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‘Know that you are never alone’: Community, family mourns loss of ND sophomore

James “Jake” Blaauboer passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Nov. 11. Blaauboer was a sophomore at Notre Dame, veteran of the U.S. Army and avid runner, but most importantly, he was a brother, a son and a friend.

Born in December 1995, Blaauboer grew up in upstate New York in a small town called Clifton Park. He lived with his loving parents, Mary and James “Jim” Blaauboer, and younger sister Molly Blaauboer. 

Molly Blaauboer, only 20 months younger than Blaauboer, said she was always the “proud younger sister,” following behind Jake throughout their schooling. 

“Molly is very outgoing and social, and Jake was very reserved and would keenly observe,” their mother, Mary Blaauboer, explained. 

Jake and Molly Blaauboer grew up together in Clifton Park, New York with their parents, Mary and Jim Blaauboer. / Courtesy of Molly Blaauboer.

Right out of high school, Blaauboer enlisted in the U.S. Army, and then spent the next few years of his life in active and reserve duty, during most of which he was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado. 

After his service, Blaauboer started community college and applied to a myriad of other universities and colleges — one of which was the University of Notre Dame. Although his parents said they had no personal connection to Notre Dame, the family grew up watching Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish win football games. 

Blaauboer first transferred into the University in the fall of 2019, where he was a sophomore English major in St. Edward’s Hall. 

His family explained that although Blaauboer loved to read and write, he didn’t know what he wanted to accomplish with an English degree— which was why he took a leave of absence from the University in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

When he left Notre Dame, Blaauboer went directly into technical school where he learned to be a welder. Working with his hands was something that Blaauboer began during his time as the Army when he was randomly selected to be a mechanic, Molly Blaauboer said.  

“We’re getting outreach now about how great he was at being a mechanic and what a great soldier he was, which we totally believe, but it’s interesting to see the ripple,” she noted. 

After he finished technical school, the family said Blaauboer moved to Maine to work as a welder, far away from his hometown in New York. 

While the family was in Maine celebrating Easter 2022, Molly Blaauboer mentioned that Blaauboer announced his intention to return to Notre Dame unexpectedly. 

“This is completely out of the blue,” she said. “[He said,] ‘I have something to tell you guys … I’ve applied to be unparoled from Notre Dame.’”

Jake Blaauboer was only 20 months older than Molly, who said her teachers always liked to have another Blaauboer in their classrooms. / Courtesy of Molly Blaauboer.

Molly Blaauboer noted that this wasn’t unlike Blaauboer and that he often changed his mind about what he wanted to accomplish with his life. 

“I would joke about how I wonder what he wants to do this week,” she laughed. 

Mary Blaauboer explained that Blaauboer wasn’t happy as a welder because he needed something more intellectually stimulating. The family said he loved to debate politics, philosophy and history with anyone who would listen. 

“He’s an intellectual person, you know, he was a deep thinker. He was a reader,” Mary said. 

Blaauboer had to go through an entire re-entry process, Molly said, and finally found out he was retuning in July. So, in August 2022, now 26 year old Blaauboer moved to Notre Dame for the second time but as a history major instead. 

Because adjusting to college life can be hard — especially the second time — Notre Dame’s care and wellness consultants in the Center for Student Support and Care put together a support group filled with re-admitted students, including Blaauboer and fellow sophomore Ua Tom.  

Tom, a theology major and native of the Bronx in New York City, said he was originally a Gateway student, but he took time off from the University because he didn’t want his first semester at Notre Dame to be controlled by the COVID-19 pandemic. While away, Tom returned to NYC and was a teacher in Chinatown. 

“All of us re-admits, we have our mental health issues, for sure, every single one of us. But that’s also what got us close,” Tom noted. 

The support group, colloquially named “we back” by the members, met every Wednesday at 4 p.m., according to Tom. 

“Self-deprecation was the highest form of humor that we have for ourselves in that group. We dropped out but we’re back,” he joked. 

Tom explained that Blaauboer stood out as a natural mentor and leader of the group.

“When Jake spoke, people listened, he was just so earnest and genuine. Jake always checked up on me and was a wonderful influence on myself and the rest of the readmitted students,” Tom said. “He happily and naturally took on the role of an older brother and mentor, and whenever I saw him it would totally make my day. It was clear from the moment that I met him that he had a big heart. His positivity and compassion was contagious.”

Tom said he would never forget one moment when Blaauboer helped Tom during a difficult period of time.

“I’ll never forget when I was really having a tough time [at the beginning of the semester] when I was in the thick of [transitioning] and really struggling to focus on class,” he explained. “Jake gave me a hug. He told me he was there for me, and I wasn’t alone.”

Although he had only known Blaauboer for a short time, Tom noted how much of an impact Blaauboer had on him, saying that he wished they had spent more time together. 

“He really was a light of a human being. He was such an easily likable guy who was really gentle and kind,” he said. “In some ways, he knew us better than we knew ourselves.”

Apart from classes and the support group, Blaauboer was also active in the Notre Dame Running Club. Race coordinator for the club and Stanford Hall junior Jonathan Karr said Blaauboer was an active member of the group and often volunteered to drive the team to and from meets. 

“He was very supportive of the entire team. He took pictures when we ran, he wanted us to succeed, and he cheered for all the runners,” Karr said. 

Karr emphasized how deeply grateful he was for Blaauboer’s positive influence on the team and for him personally. 

“I was a very close friend with Jake, and he really helped the team,” Karr noted. “He really, really embodied what it means to be a Fighting Irish.”

The family also emphasized how important running, particularly the routine of the sport, was to Blaauboer.

“He was strict with himself,” Mary Blaauboer said. “Routine and ritual were important to him in every aspect. So, there was a routine for food and exercise and friendships and then the school and work and everything. For him, overlapping those things was uncomfortable.”

They said he also loved comedy and was a huge fan of movies. Overall, the Blaauboers said the outpouring of love they have received from family, friends, teammates and anyone who knew Blaauboer has meant a lot to them. 

“That’s an amazing blessing and comfort — to know that he’s remembered and prayed for,” Mary Blaauboer said.

The family said Jake Blaauboer loved movies, comedy and running. He would also debate politics or philosophy with anyone who would listen. / Courtesy of Molly Blaauboer.

Tom emphasized that anyone, who knew Blaauboer personally or not, can honor his memory by living fully and not being afraid to reach out to others.

“Live with the same spirit that he did,” Tom said. “Reach out and ask someone how they are doing, like he did for us.”

Fr. Pete McCormick, the inaugural assistant vice president for campus ministry, echoed Tom’s sentiment during Notre Dame’s mass of remembrance on Nov. 16.

“Sometimes words fail and can’t always communicate the depths of sorrow,” he said. “Be unafraid to reach out to a member of hall staff, the University Counseling Center (UCC) or campus ministry. Know that you are never alone.”

Contact Bella Laufenberg at ilaufenb@nd.edu.

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University announces additional COVID-19 booster requirement

All Notre Dame students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — are required to receive the COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine, director of University Health Services (UHS) Edward Junkins announced in an email Monday. 

Students had previously been required to receive the initial COVID-19 vaccine and a booster.

Those who do not receive the bivalent booster will not be able to enroll in classes for the 2023-2024 academic year, the email said. Students can apply for religious or medical exemptions.

“Bivalent booster vaccines provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 and, unlike previous monovalent boosters which were designed only to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19, the updated bivalent booster vaccine protects against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants,” Junkins said in the email.

The CDC recently recommended a bivalent booster for those over 5-years-old who received their last booster at least two months ago in a Nov. 11 report.

The email, which did not mention any requirements for faculty or staff, said the University will hold an on-campus vaccination clinic in January. The deadline to receive the booster or an exemption is March 1, 2023.

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Clemson game ends in victory and injury, again

By Bella Laufenberg and Peter Breen

First-year Macy Gunnell entered Notre Dame Stadium this weekend feeding off the crowd’s energy and looking forward to a fantastic game. She left the field in an ambulance. 

The three-loss University of Notre Dame football team upset the No. 4 Clemson Tigers Saturday night, with a final score of 35-14. This primetime matchup was reminiscent of the 2020 Clemson-Notre Dame game when only socially-distanced students were allowed to watch in person. 

Before Saturday’s competition even began, the campus was electric, Gunnell said. Everyone was expecting to rush the field if Notre Dame could pull off the win, hoping to experience this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon and not worrying about the consequences. 

Broken tibia ‘worth it’ for the win

“I’m definitely feeling the adrenaline of the game the entire day,” she said. “The whole game, I mean, it was perfect.”

Gunnell, a Saint Mary’s College nursing major, said the feeling in the stadium began to shift when the game was about three minutes away from finishing. This was when she and her friends began to move down section 35, the first-year student section behind the tuba marching band row, in preparation for what was to come. 

Before she reached the field, Gunnell said the crowd was overwhelmingly aggressive, pushing and shoving her into the ground. 

“People immediately started springing out from the stands, jumping onto the field, and as that happened, people just progressively started pushing more and more forward,” Gunnell explained. “Then next thing you know, there’s bodies on top of bodies, and I was unfortunately at the bottom of that pile.”

While she was trapped under the pile, Gunnell described the experience as “absolutely terrifying.”

“It was just a complete 180 switch from being excited to rush the field and the next thing you know, I’ve got 20 people on top of me,” she said. “It was scary, I was genuinely scared that I was going to get seriously hurt.”

Gunnell said, although she was grateful for making it out without more serious injuries, she did break her tibia during the commotion.  

“As soon as I was able to get out from under the pile, the realization of the pain of what just happened hit me. That’s when I knew that I needed to get someone’s attention and get myself out of there,” Gunnell recalled. 

She also expressed how thankful she was for the band members and friends that pulled her out and stayed with her for the 30-plus minutes it took for the medics to reach her. 

After being shuttled out of the stadium by EMTs and going to a nearby hospital in an ambulance, Gunnell said she was huddled in the emergency room waiting room for seven hours with around 10-12 other game day survivors, including some other students and older alumni. 

“Funny thing was, whenever I got to the ER, there were actually several students there in the waiting room with me from injuries from the game,” she said.

Gunnell said she spent the whole night in the waiting room, before leaving around 7 a.m. and deciding to try another hospital in the morning. Now, Gunnell said she has a cast, crutches and some good spirits. 

 “I don’t really think it’s any single person’s fault,” she said. “I think this is a good story. I’d say it’s worth it with the dub that we got.”

Trampled band stays in the stands

Junior trumpet player Megan Ebner watched the mayhem unfold from the stands.

“When you’re in the band, you represent the University,” Ebner said.

Band members had complied to band directors’ instructions not to rush the field during the 2020 Clemson upset and understood going into this year’s matchup against the Tigers, they would have to stay put in the event of a field rush.

“We all kind of knew it’s just a general rule that we can’t rush the field,” Ebner said. “[We] stayed in the stands, and it was crazy.”

As the fourth quarter wrapped up, Ebner and the rest of trumpets standing in the final row of the band’s stadium seating struggled to redirect rows of students streaming down the bleachers around the immobile pack of musicians.

“We told the people, ‘You have to go to the left on the right,’ and the ushers were trying their best, but the students really just wanted to get onto the field,” Ebner said. “We were telling them, ‘You can’t come through here. There’s no space. If you tumble down and hit a bass drum, we’re all going down [and] it’s going to hurt a lot, so you need to go around.’”

While students started pushing and piling up, the band could do nothing but attempt to maintain their footing.

“It’s not like the band was funneling onto the field. We just weren’t moving,” Ebner said. “It was definitely a bit scary with all the people and no one really being in control.”

Quarantined students rush to redemption

Roommates Andrew Koo and Eddie Walsh were excited to rush the field this time around, after receiving a phone call from the University’s COVID-19 response unit Monday morning of the week leading up to the Clemson game in 2020.

“I knew that I’d be shafted for the game. I was going to be screwed,” now-senior Koo said.

Koo’s roommate in Dillon Hall, Walsh, had been hauled off to The Foundry the day before following a positive COVID test.

“I had tested positive, and so obviously, that put me and Andrew in quarantine,” Walsh said. “Me for the next 10 days [and] Andrew for the next week — both out for the game.”

Koo was in denial, anticipating the game to be one of the biggest nights of his four years of college.

“I tried everything I could on the phone with the quarantine people,” Koo said. “I considered not even showing up to the Joyce Center to go.”

As Koo tried to rationalize the situation, he said he couldn’t help but feel hurt seeing the social media posts, knowing that he’d have to carry this missed opportunity in the back of his mind for the rest of his college career.

Walsh meanwhile, maintains that that night was the best day of a “pent-up” fall 2020 semester. 

“I’m standing on a balcony on Eddy Street screaming. Everyone in town is going wild,” he said.

Koo and Walsh were watching the game together in the student section this Saturday. With each Irish score, they grew more and more excited about a chance for field-rushing redemption.

“We were just looking at each other at each touchdown and then next, thinking, ‘Oh my God, we’re actually gonna be able to do this,’” Koo said.

Though the journey from high up in the stands was daunting, there was something freeing about throwing caution to the wind on the way to the field.

“At one point, my foot got caught under a bleacher and I was like, ‘Oh, this is it. I’m breaking an ankle,” Walsh said. “But luckily nothing bad happened. It seemed like everyone had a good time.”

Koo and Walsh never thought that after their sophomore year, they’d ever get a chance to rush the field again.

“Last night felt a lot sweeter, knowing the situation,” Koo said. “Especially since it was our senior year, and we were able to finally do that. It was a great feeling.”

Contact Bella Laufenberg at ilaufenb@nd.edu.

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu.

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Glee Club prepares for fall concert

Notre Dame’s Glee Club has been an important part of campus for 107 years. And after all of these years, they have some specific traditions that they continue to carry out. One of these traditions is their fall concert, happening Friday night at 8 p.m. in DPAC. The club has about 60 students, all of whom have been working toward their fall concert for nearly a full semester. 

Director of the club Daniel Stowe explained the amount of time and energy expected by each student that gets involved in this club. They must not perfect their musical talent but memorize the music that they are composing. Hours of work are put into practicing, but that is not the only time the club spends together. Students within the Glee Club travel across the country and world to perform their acapella music, resulting in a lot of time spent together as a group. 

“It’s a brotherhood you can’t really make anywhere else, because instead of just hanging out, we go on these tours and these trips and we’re spending all this time together,” Mike Hanisch, co-president of the Glee Club, said. “Nor is it like normal college students. We’re also in this process of creating really high-quality music and putting on concerts at insane venues. It’s a really unique relationship with all these guys that you can’t really find anywhere else.”

Students start auditions early in the year. Stowe has recognized an increasing number of students with past musical experience, however, that is not required to be a part of the club. After these auditions, the students quickly move into preparing for their many performances. The first few weeks, students focus on the classics that they always perform, such as the Notre Dame Fight Song, then they move into more individualized pieces. This leaves students with a little less than two months to get their pieces to the level they are expected to perform at. 

“They pick it up pretty fast and we want to do everything from memory, so that is another level of rehearsal commitment,” Stowe said.
Stowe ensures that the music is not simple and easy for the students of the Glee Club. Their performances consist of literature that spans across geographic locations and time periods. It is intentional that they work on diverse musical arrangements, Stowe says.

“It’s as wide a range of music as we have ever done and they are doing it beautifully,” Stowe said. “From Renaissance music, to Sting and Phil Collins, and they are doing great. I think people will be really impressed by the range of musical experience.”

The students are also able to recognize the difficulty level of the music they are working on. Hanisch expressed excitement about the music they will be playing this Friday, while also acknowledging that the work was not easy for them to pick up.

“It’s been the most difficult set I would say that we’ve done since I’ve been here and it’s been a difficult process and we’ve grown so much and it’s just very exciting to be at a level now where it is ready to be performed,” he said.

Considering the club’s importance on travel and being together, these past few years have not always been easy for them. During COVID, there were a lot of setbacks for the club. Travel and the tight-knit community were impeded on. This year, Stowe has noticed that among the upperclassmen there is more positive energy as they celebrate their time to travel and perform, free of COVID protocols. 

“They were freshmen when everything shut down during COVID, so they still realize how precious the experience is,” he said. “They’re very good at conserving the experience and making sure that it moves on.”

This observation is not just apparent to Stowe. The upperclassmen themselves recognize that they are cherishing every moment of this experience, Hanisch says.

“We really need to make the most of every concert because we don’t know when this could be taken away again,” Hanisch said. 

Hanisch was able to partake in a normal year of Glee Club his first year. He said that the year has helped him have a greater appreciation for this year. 

“Now we’ve kind of realized every show is a privilege to be able to put on and I think that has changed the vibe for this year,” Hanisch said. 

Hanisch added that he thinks the rest of the student body can take away just as much from the concert as club members. 

“It’s really a way to connect with other members of the student body and just really see what kind of talents people have to bring to the table,” Hanisch said. “And also, just to enjoy the music in itself. It’s really beautiful music that we’re performing.”

Contact Emma Duffy at eduffy5@nd.edu.

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University, city enters into flu season

Over 6,000 free vaccinations were administered exclusively for students during the first flu blitz, University Health Services (UHS) director Edward Junkins told The Observer. Faculty, staff and dependents are eligible to make appointments for the second blitz.

The UHS orchestrated its annual flu vaccine blitz in the Stepan Center on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21. The secondary blitz takes place this week on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.

Junkins supplied the rationale: influenza is a highly communicable infectious disease that consistently causes morbidity. 

Influenza, Junkins said, is an illness that can quickly overwhelm the resources the University has in place in the event of a widespread outbreak.

“[Morbidity] means loss of time from work, significant symptoms, so body aches, high fever, dehydration and putting people at risk who have chronic illness,” he said.

Though Notre Dame has a primary care clinic located on campus in Saint Liam Hall that takes care of urgent needs, Junkins said that the University does not have the resources to take care of hundreds of students.

“Even though we have a high vaccination rate, we still get breakthrough infections and that very quickly overwhelms our clinic, our pharmacy,” he said.

In agreement with Junkins, St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox said he thinks Notre Dame’s flu blitzes are advantageous to the community because of the congregate living on campus.

“It is obviously important for the campus community because there is a lot of congregate living,” Fox said. “So, the risk of spreading any respiratory illness is significant. So, any opportunity to reduce that is beneficial.”

Aside from the congregate living, Fox said he regards Notre Dame to be a well-protected, heavily vaccinated community. Fox underscored the blitz’s effect on South Bend.

“And while much of the campus lives in congregate living settings, you know, it’s not a closed campus,” he added. “There’s a lot of interaction with Notre Dame students, faculty and staff out in the community, or volunteering or going to Martin’s or going to Finnies or wherever.”

The COVID pandemic’s third flu season beginning this fall, Fox pointed out the growing importance of flu vaccinations in 2022 than in direct years past.

“Over the last couple of years in general, the flu rates have been lower because there were a lot of COVID mitigation strategies in place and people who were sick were likely staying home or staying in their dorm,” he said.

Fox predicts that flu cases will increase now that pandemic era practices have gone away.

“Now that most of the community is following virtually no mitigation strategies, I expect that this will be probably a more normal flu season,” Fox said.

With these risks, last year saw over 90% student compliance with the flu vaccine mandate, Junkins said. The 6600 student-dedicated appointments at the first blitz were all taken.

“Shots in arms,” he said. “We still have about another 5000 or so students who still need to meet the requirement. I would predict about 3000 of those students will come back through during this next Blitz.”

Some students will get the vaccination over fall break but the University said they plan to set it up so that students can receive their vaccine for free before they travel home and back, Junkins said.

“Of course,” Junkins said, “[the flu vaccine] is required in order to be able to register for the spring semester.”

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu

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Notre Dame Stadium transitions to cashless payment options

Notre Dame Stadium is in its second year of going cashless, and its effects have prompted the entire campus to switch to accepting cards only. While this is Notre Dame campus’s first year going cashless, this is Notre Dame Stadium’s second year operating as such. All athletic facilities went cashless last year as well. 

The move was promptly made after the Coronavirus pandemic, to limit the movement of physical cash.  

Another reason involved security implications regarding cashiers’ handling of money. “We had a lot of people in our food area sitting there counting money.” Wendy Mott, Cash Manager for the University in the Office of Treasury Services, said. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars go through in cash, and they were spending their whole time counting it. Sometimes we would have up to three people count the same deposit.” 

This process also caused problems due to a shortage of employees. “Right now we have a lot of difficulty in hiring people, as everybody does, and especially in those food service areas,” Mott said.

 “Instead of counting cash, [employees] are able to be deployed to do other important things in the job as necessary, as [the University has] difficulty hiring her people.”

With a cashless process comes many benefits for the audience. These include saving time for the audience by ensuring faster lines when receiving food. “They don’t have to wait as long,” Mott said. “I think it’s a time saver.” This process was implemented in 2018 by GrubHub, where the client can order food and be in line without his physical presence in attendance. 

While she gave praise to its benefits, she also acknowledged the difficulties many international students face due to a lack of resources when coming to the United States. They usually come without a bank account, she said, but instead with physical cash. Thus, the treasury department worked to place handheld devices which trade physical currency to a card. 

“Something we did different this year,” Mott said, “was that we rolled out kiosks, Campus card kiosks, that are located one in Duncan and one in LaFortune.” In addition, students can use their Domer Dollars from their Irish1card, which can be used in stadium venues. “Hopefully,” Mott said, “80 plus percent of the students shouldn’t even be impacted by going cashless.”  

For the football game vs. Stanford on Oct. 15th, Levy, a third party concession stand vendor, will roll out a new credit card system, which will make transactions faster. As Lee Sicinski, Associate Vice President of University Events, said via email, “We will be replacing our point of sale system with a product from Shift4. Moving to this new system should modernize the purchasing experience, allow for faster transactions, and provide a wider variety of cashless payment methods (tap-&-go, Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc). We expect this technology to ultimately enhance the experience for all fans, and get them back to their seat faster.”

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New study improves monoclonal antibody analysis

A recent Notre Dame study conducted by the College of Engineering has developed an improved method of analyzing monoclonal antibodies, which can be used to treat various diseases.

Monoclonal antibodies are often used to treat cancers and arthritis because of their ability to boost the immune system.

Merlin Bruening, a professor of engineering at Notre Dame, worked as principal investigator in this study.

“We’re working on capturing specific monoclonal antibodies that you might be taking for a treatment for some diseases,” Bruening said.

The project has been ongoing for over five years, but the researchers made more significant progress in the last few. Monoclonal antibodies have only recently risen as a viable source of treatment and became especially relevant due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Bruening said their process could be used in analyzing antibodies to treat this virus.

“It’s amazing to me that antibody proteins are now drugs,” Bruening said.

Because monoclonal antibody drugs are harder to produce than other small molecule drugs, they take more time to develop. Junyan Yang, a fourth-year doctoral student in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department, has played an active role in conducting the experiments surrounding the antibodies and refining the process of capturing them.

He said the researchers analyze antibodies by first flowing a “fermentation broth” through a membrane filter in order to capture the monoclonal antibody. From there, they use a secondary antibody that binds to the captured one and measures its fluorescence in the form of a light signal so they can determine its concentration.

“We want to make sure this batch of the monoclonal antibody has enough concentration that people are looking for so that they are safe,” Yang said.

Once they determine that the monoclonal antibody has the correct conditions, it is ready for patient use and can go out from the lab. 

In the future, the research group aims to develop tests that can quickly test the fermentation broth for the right characteristics, such as the correct concentration and functional groups. By doing so, adjustments can be made to reach the right conditions in a matter of minutes rather than days.

The project has important ramifications for the manufacturing process of monoclonal antibodies. According to Bruening, instead of creating a new system for every new monoclonal antibody that a pharmaceutical company may develop, these filters may be applied to any process, making it far more efficient.

While this process has come a long way, Bruening clarified that it is constantly evolving. In fact, the research group hope to eventually make it publicly available. They have a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, which opens the doors to the commercialization of the membranes. They are also currently working with a company to bring it to the market, because it is too difficult for people to make themselves.

In the meantime, improvements continue to be made, and the group plans to further refine and develop the process while remaining optimistic about the future.

“We need to improve it first,” Bruening said. “And then hopefully commercialize it.”

Elena Que


Contact Elena at eque@nd.edu

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University to require flu vaccines for students

Director of University Health Services (UHS) Edward Junkins announced in an email Wednesday that all Notre Dame undergraduate, graduate and professional students will be required to receive a seasonal flu vaccine again this fall.

This is the third year the University has required students to get the flu vaccine. The requirement began in the fall 2020 semester during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[B]ecause symptoms of the flu can often mimic COVID-19, minimizing the cases of flu on campus can preserve UHS testing resources for COVID-19 testing and help conserve local health care resources,” Junkins wrote in Wednesday’s email.

As in previous years, the University will offer free flu vaccines to students at its annual flu blitz. This year, the first Flu Blitz will take place Sept. 20 to 21. The first round of vaccines will be for students only.

The second flu blitz will be open to students, faculty, staff and dependents from Oct. 11 to 12.

Registration is required for both flu blitzes and will open Monday, Sept. 12.

Junkins wrote that students are also permitted to receive their flu vaccine at a local primary care provider, pharmacy or walk-in clinic but must upload documentation proving they received the vaccine to their UHS patient portal. 

Students who fail to get vaccinated by Monday, Oct. 31 will have a hold placed on their student account — preventing them from registering for classes next semester.

According to the email, students, faculty and staff who have any other questions or would like to submit a request for a medical or religious exemption to the vaccine should email immunizations@nd.edu.

Students who previously received an exemption from the flu vaccination requirement do not need to provide updated documentation this year, Junkins wrote.