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Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s student governments build community in beach volleyball match

For the first time ever, the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame student governments went head-to-head in a beach volleyball game.

They met at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the sand volleyball courts on Saint Mary’s campus.

Saint Mary’s students arrived at the sand volleyball court with colorful posters to cheer on their student government. Free shirts were given to those in attendance, music was playing and students lined the blue fence of the court to watch the student governments face off in the sand.

Saint Mary’s Student Government Association prepared for the big game by having a volleyball training camp on Thursday night. Becca Jones, a senior at Saint Mary’s who is the co-chair of the sustainability and food services committee, said the training consisted of making TikToks and doing sit-ups.

“A lot of us don’t have that much experience, but we have a lot of spirit,” Jones said before the match.

Jones’ teammate, Vinni Paradiso, was confident in her team’s ability before the match.

“I think we’re just going to have to work as a team and come together as a family to get the [win] tonight,” Paradiso, a sophomore co-chair of the media and marketing committee, said before the game.

Notre Dame started off with a big lead when they won the first of three sets.

When the second set rolled around, the teams switched sides of the net and were given a few minutes to talk strategy.

Saint Mary’s won the second set, leaving the score 1-1 before the third and final set. The third set was filled with several long rallies, but ultimately Notre Dame won, winning the game overall.

Volleyball was not the only skill on display Friday night.

Patrick Lee, the Notre Dame student body president, showcased his air guitar abilities while standing on the sidelines between sets.  He frequently “strummed” along with the music being played throughout the match.

Prior to the game, Saint Mary’s SGA president Angela Martinez Camacho and vice president Josie Haas answered several questions about the event.

Because this is the first time the two groups have met on the court, Camacho and Haas explained how it came to be.

“It really just started randomly in the summer,” Camacho said. “It was like three in the morning, and I texted Josie.”

Shortly after, the two reached out to Lee and Notre Dame student body vice president Sofie Stitt to start planning.

Along with how this event came to be, Camacho shared what sparked the inspiration for the tournament.

“It is in our platform that we wanted to create a greater connection within the tri-campus,” she said.

Haas echoed Camacho’s sentiments.

“Building the connection with Notre Dame and Holy Cross always starts at the top,” she said. “When [students] get to see our student governments having fun together, and having this camaraderie, that makes all the difference.”

After the game, Stitt gave some insight on future plans involving tri-campus relations.

“There’s some stuff in the works,” she said. “We’re really excited to keep doing stuff with [Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross] moving forward.”

In a post-game interview, Lee was asked how it felt to win.

“It was definitely more about just having fun and promoting tri-campus community,” he said. “I think sports are a great way to come together.”

Contact Cathy Doherty at cdoherty01@saintmarys.edu.

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Outdoor WiFi, lights, furniture to be installed in new Belle’s Corner outside Le Mans

Every day, students pass the west entrance of Le Mans Hall and watch as workers spread gravel, lay patio tiles and work to turn the space into… What?

Construction outside of Le Mans Hall on what will soon be a patio for the new Belle’s Corner outdoor space.

With no report from the College, Saint Mary’s students do not know what the construction is for.

In 2020, the space was a popular hangout spot called Belle’s Corner. Due to COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting eating in the dining hall, it was outfitted with tables, chairs and string lights to give students an outdoor seating option.

So why get rid of it?

According to Ben Bowman, director of facilities, the furniture used in Belle’s Corner was moved to Belle’s Backyard in 2021.

“We wanted that furniture to be closer to the main east and west walkway,” Bowman said. “We thought it would be more attractive.”

However, the College still wanted to offer an abundance of outdoor seating. The new Belle’s Corner will be a paved outdoor seating area with tables, chairs, lights and fireplaces and is currently under construction.

Bowman discussed many features of the new space, including highlighting its natural beauty.

“We’re trying to preserve the trees that are there and keep a canopy over the patio space,” he said.

The previous Belle’s Corner setup caused many issues with lawn maintenance, but the new permeable paver system will allow rainwater to travel between the pavers and down to the roots of the trees below, Bowman said.

Additionally, this new space will be outfitted with WiFi, something Bowman hopes will draw students to the space. There will be electrical power for a DJ booth for the patio to be utilized at outdoor events.

A map showing what the new Belle’s Corner will look like once construction is complete.

A common complaint among students, however, was the lack of information and student input.

“I don’t even know what’s happening,” said Le Mans resident and senior Isabella Thompson-Davoli. “I figured it out by now that it’s some sort of patio, but it would have been nice to hear about it from the College.”

Junior Le Mans resident Anna McMahon had similar thoughts.

“I really liked the way the area used to be, I hope it doesn’t change too much,” she said.

Bowman said there was input on the project, just not from students.

“There are a lot of administrative offices that overlook that space,” Bowman said. “They asked for facilities and administration input.”

Another common complaint from students was that construction is being done now rather than over the summer.

“I like the idea, but it’s going to be getting cold soon, so I probably won’t even use it until next spring,” Thompson-Davoli said. 

Bowman said there was no way around it.

“We had difficulty this summer with contractors and labor shortages,” he said.

Regardless, Bowman said the new space will require 180 tons of gravel and boast 400 inches of lights and 111 pieces of furniture. The construction will also maintain four trees that are natural to the area.

Contact Katelyn Waldschmidt at kwaldschmidt01@saintmarys.edu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Claire Reid at creid6@nd.edu.