Categories
News

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.”

Categories
News

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

Categories
News

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.