The three tickets running for Saint Mary’s student body president and vice president presented their platforms in the dining hall Wednesday night.Juniors Nicole O’Toole and Marissa Pie’, who are running for president and vice president, respectively, shared a platform based on increasing communication and voicing students’ concerns.O’Toole, who is currently the junior class president, said she was inspired to run in the election after she heard the quote “honor tradition and pioneer change.” She said her ticket seeks to serve as a liaison between the students and College administration. “I firmly believe that my experience has prepared me to take on this role,” O’Toole said. “We will work hard to improve communication. We promise [that] students’ voices are heard.”Pie’ currently serves as market research and media committee co-chair for the Student Government Association (SGA). She said placing a suggestion box in the dining hall could benefit communication between SGA and students.Juniors McKenna Schuster and Sam Moorhead, who are running for president and vice president, also spoke about their platform. Schuster, currently the vice president of internal affairs for SGA, said she aims to emphasize the College’s mission statement.Moorhead, currently the Social Concerns Committee chair for SGA, said her ticket also plans to explore administrative transparency, an increased role for Senate, improved communication and the use of Dalloway’s Coffeehouse as a study space or café. She said Senate meetings enable students to provide input on major decisions. “Our priority is to promote meetings and ensure students have a way to make their voices heard,” she said.Moorhead said she and Schuster also want to enhance the Saint Mary’s community by increasing attendance at sporting events.“It’s important to support each other in endeavors outside of the classroom,” she said.Junior presidential and vice presidential candidates Anna Ulliman and Elizabeth Kenney presented a platform focused on the legacy of each Belle. They have no prior SGA experience, but they said one of their goals is to foster a more connected community.Ulliman said her ticket plans to implement Belle Legacy Days for students to engage in service one day per semester. Ulliman and Kenney said they also plan to host a dinner symposium during the school year that includes a weekend of alumnae visits as a networking experience for current and past Belles.Kenney said another of her ticket’s priorities is placing a physical calendar of campus events in the lobby of each residence hall.Ulliman said each student should be able to make the College her home.“We hope we can make [Saint Mary’s] a place that is great for the next four years, but also far into the future,” she said.Voting opens Monday morning and ends at 11:45 p.m. Students can submit their vote on Belle Tower through OrgSync.Tags: Student Government Association
Over the winter break, members of The Chorale, The Undertones and the Liturgical Choir went on their winter tours and showcased their music to audiences across the country.The Chorale, the official concert choir of Notre Dame, began their Winter Tour on Jan. 9 and will conclude Jan. 15 in Chicago. According to their website, The Chorale sings a variety of songs from the Renaissance to present day.“I was really pleased with how it went,” Carmen Casillas, senior and tour manager of Chorale, said. “There were a lot of freshmen who came on tour, which is always incredibly exciting, and I really believe that we sounded the best that we ever have.”According to Casillas, their performance on tour included songs from their Fall Concert as well as Christmas music. The Chorale practiced with when they arrived back on campus with a long rehearsal and also practiced for half an hour before each concert.“My favorite song to perform on tour is always the Alma Mater sung directly into the fight song because we invite any alums and current students to join us to sing it, but this year it was almost eclipsed by our performance of Silent Night,” Casillas said.The Undertones, Notre Dame’s 13-man a cappella ensemble, toured five cities on their winter tour in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.“We had a great time and were blessed with incredible hospitality from Notre Dame Clubs across the Southeastern United States,” Stuart Streit, junior and president of The Undertones, said.Daniel Pedroza, sophomore and communications director of The Undertones said that one of his favorite moments included recording an EP with five songs from the past semester. Pedroza also said the 13-member group had enough free time on tour to go kayaking through the Everglades.“It’s an experience that you wouldn’t get normally,” Pedroza said. “To get to tour with 12 of your best friends is great … it’s a lot of singing in the car.”The Notre Dame Liturgical Choir went on their a Texas tour and sang for one high school and five parishes in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.“It was a wonderful way for the choir to get to know each other better and share our music with parishes throughout Texas,” Patricia Bartlett, junior and treasurer of Liturgical Choir, said.Liturgical Choir’s performance during their Texas tour consisted of 17 pieces that the choir had learned throughout the year. While on their tour, members of Liturgical Choir were welcome into the homes of Notre Dame’s alumni clubs of Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.Jimmy Kelly, president of the Liturgical Choir, said that his favorite moment on tour was when he and other choristers sang the Notre Dame Alma Mater in Austin under the dome of the Texas State Capitol.“Circled around the Lone Star Seal adorning the capitol floor, we joined together in harmony as one family [and] one voice,” Kelly said.
Last night at Legends of Notre Dame, University President Fr. John Jenkins sat on a panel with Mendoza College of Business Director of Finance and Administration Fr. Mark Thesing and Sister Lois DeLee, held in celebration of the “Year of the Consecrated Life.”Thesing, Jenkins and DeLee talked about their different experiences in adopting the consecrated life, the challenges in realizing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, what inspired them to take those vows and what they found most rewarding in leading a consecrated life.Jenkins said realizing this common goal of leading a meaningful life is an important, rewarding and emotional undertaking — particularly in light of a recent campus tragedy.“One of the things that’s clear to me now is that this desire to live a meaningful life has been fulfilled in abundance,” Jenkins said. “Last night — just an example, we had a memorial mass for Lisa Yang, who took her own life, and her family was there. We gave the family a diploma posthumously for Lisa. It was just a … I don’t need to say how much of an emotional time it was for them to try to come to terms to that. But to be a part of that and to try to help them to make sense of that is a great privilege, an undeserved privilege, to be part of such a meaningful time.”Thesing said while he started pursuing priesthood when he first visited Notre Dame, he did not begin to fully appreciate religious life until the middle of his formation.“Although I knew I wanted to be a priest, and I knew I wanted to pursue that, I wasn’t quite sure where and how that was going to be lived out,” Thesing said. “Now some 38 years after entering the seminary, I can’t imagine my life without it. I can’t imagine being a priest without having the support or the camaraderie and the community that community life offered.“Here I’m wearing my collar, and I’m representing something, so I’ve got to be careful about that. It’s a public life that we live and we have to be conscious about that. … I feel a little wiser now … but I also realize that I’m living here with a bunch of students or young men, and it’s about calling them to a higher life.”DeLee said she was not fully convinced she would accept the challenges of religious life, but after starting formation and eventually completing her time as a novitiate, she said she found joy in spreading [God’s] teaching to her students and embracing God’s will.“One of my greatest joys is being able to see how my life somehow touched their lives and brought them success or brought them love from God to make their life worthwhile,” DeLee said. “We all have relationships with the Lord. We are His servants. Let Him use us where He wants to take us and then know fear is useless. You just need trust and let God do His Work”Jenkins also said the greatest joy of the consecrated life is how he has been able to impact people’s lives.“The wonderful thing about this calling, and Sister [DeLee] spoke about this too with her, is that you’re invited into people’s life in a profound way,” he said. “You have the opportunity to do what you can. You always have this sense of not doing well enough, or you’re not doing as you should, but still you have that opportunity to comfort them in their sorrows, rejoice with them in their joys and help them find the Lord in an important way.”Tags: Fr. John Jenkins, Fr. Mark Thesing, religious life, Sister Lois DeLee
This Wednesday, the arts at Notre Dame will come together at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) for the second year in a row at Art Attack, a two-hour event that will showcase the various opportunities for involvement with performance, visual and creative arts at Notre Dame.Arts at Notre Dame will be the primary hosts for the event, along with representatives from other groups such as the College of Arts & Letters, Shakespeare at Notre Dame and the Snite Museum of Art.Leigh Hayden, director of external relations for the performing arts at DPAC, has been a part of the collaborative effort on campus to increase the engagement with Notre Dame’s performing and visual arts entities.“Art Attack was conceived of two years ago as a significant effort … to introduce new students to ‘that big building’ on south campus, as well as attract returning students who may realize how much the center and the arts have to offer in terms of quality of campus life,” Hayden said.Hayden said Art Attack is an excellent opportunity for Notre Dame’s artistic community to throw its doors open to the entire student population, especially the freshmen.“An objective is certainly to attract first years — particularly seeing as 50 percent of the class of 2019 was involved in the arts in high school,” she said. “At the same time, if a returning student is a frequent visitor or has never set their foot inside this building before, even for a class or event such as the recent talk by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, we want them here, too. We hope they’ll see DPAC and the arts in a new and different way.”Stacey Stewart, outreach specialist for the film, television and theatre department, said despite the abundance of artistic talent at Notre Dame, much of it tends to go unnoticed or under-appreciated.“I’m excited to see a wide range of artistic disciplines represented this year — music, dance, musical theatre, film, and visual art — all together under one roof,” Stewart said. “I hope both students and faculty will feel welcome in our campus artistic community, whether they see themselves as artists or as audience members.”Senior Jon Olansen, executive producer of Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCO), said Art Attack aims to attract people who may still be unsure about which club or organization they should join.“Fine arts challenge people, especially students, to think creatively and with open mind, a skill that is vital in many ways throughout life,” Olansen said. “I hope that those who do not know yet if it is right for them find themselves a place in the arts at Notre Dame.”Hayden said there are many resources available to students, but many are still unaware of what exactly is being offered to them.“That’s why the Arts at Notre Dame group came together, to fill the gap in information and connectivity,” Hayden said. “Art Attack is our biggest effort to address that opportunity.”Hayden said the arts on campus are “alive and well” and the arts in college are a low-risk, high-return proposition.“While there may be many different departments and centers involved, we are unified in our effort to make what we have to offer students a memorable part of their Notre Dame experience,” Hayden said. “Show up. We all know how to put on a great event.”Tags: art attack, arts at ND, DPAC, PEMCo
Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner will jointly receive the Laetare Medal at Notre Dame’s 2016 Commencement, the University announced in a press release Saturday.The Laetare Medal is awarded each year to American Catholics “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to the press release.University President Fr. John Jenkins commended both men for their dedication to the nation and for their civility. “While both have been loyal and committed partisans, they were leaders who put the good of the nation ahead of partisan victory, seeking through respectful dialogue honorable compromise and progress,” Jenkins said in the press release. “Speaker Boehner’s resistance to a simple reductionism made him suspect in his own party; Vice President Biden reminded his fellow Democrats that those in the other party are ‘our opponents, not our enemies.’”According to the press release, Vice President Biden has served two terms in the Obama administration, and oversaw the $840 billion stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and leads the Ready to Work Initiative.Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990, former Speaker Boehner served as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee where he authored several reforms, including the Pension Protection Act and a school choice voucher program for low-income children in Washington, D.C., according to the press release. “In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise,” Jenkins said in the release. Boehner and Biden join the ranks of past Laetare Medal recipients President John F. Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, Martin Sheen and many others.The University’s 171st Commencement will be held May 15. Tags: Commencement, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Laetare Medal
Writer, comedian and actress Casey Whitaker is this year’s Margaret M. Hill visiting artist in residence, an annual series made possible by a gift from Hill, an alumna and Broadway producer, according to a College press release.“Saint Mary’s is forever grateful to Peggy Hill for her gift to the College which allows us to, year after year, host artists who coach and instruct our students,” professor of theater Katie Sullivan said in the release. “The students receive advice about how to make their way in the professional theater world. They also have the opportunity to ask the artists various questions about their technique, particular roles or scripts or shows, how to balance career and personal life and how to take the first steps after college.”According to the release, Whitaker trained with Second City in Chicago and has toured with Second City’s Shred Co. for the past three years. In addition to her work as a performer, Whitaker is a freelance comedy writer for the card game, Utter Nonsense: an Inappropriate Accent Game.Currently, Whitaker is directing Saint Mary’s theater students in their spring production, a play she wrote called “Lucky, Liar, Loser.” The play will run from April 27-30 in Little Theater.“Lucky, Liar, Loser” tells the story of the aftermath abuse takes on nine women, according to the press release. The play includes sketches, shadow puppetry and modern dance and includes choreography by Hannah Fischer, a 2011 alumna.“The play presents a uniquely complex mix of the serious and the comic that is always unexpected, creative and highly theatrical,” Mark Abram-Copenhaver, associate professor of theater, said in the release. “‘Lucky, Liar, Loser’ is a sophisticated treatment of this emotionally charged and current subject matter.” Tags: Casey Whitaker, Margaret M. Hill Visiting Artist, Second City
Editor’s note: Throughout the 2018 midterm election season, The Observer sat down with various student organizations and professors to discuss political engagement and issues particularly pertinent to students. In this ninth installment, Saint Mary’s students discuss problems they have faced while trying to vote.Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, many Saint Mary’s students realized their names had been removed, or purged, off voter rolls in their home states. Some students discovered this fact just days before the election.Political Science professor Patrick Pierce said one of his students and her entire family were purged from the voter rolls in St. Joseph County, Ind. Pierce said purging procedures vary on a state-by-state basis, and usually occur when a voter has not cast a ballot in recent elections. “Typically, [voter purging] pertains to removing someone from the voter rolls if they haven’t voted for a certain number of elections,” he said. “There was a relatively recent ruling [by the Supreme Court] that, if you didn’t vote in an election or two, you could be purged from the rolls, but that varies by state.”When a voter has failed to vote in recent elections, a confirmation notice is sent to the voter. If the voter does not respond to the notice in time, their name is purged from the role. Junior Guadalupe Gonzalez, president of the Saint Mary’s Define American club, said many Saint Mary’s students discovered they were purged from the rolls after checking their registration status online or by calling their local representative. “No warning was sent [but] thankfully, our students knew their right to a provisional ballot,” Gonzalez said. “But how many other people know about provisional ballots? This information and the process need to be more transparent.” Gonzalez said she has helped Saint Mary’s students register to vote during past elections, so she has witnessed the difficulties that many have to face just to get registered. “Every state has different policies, some more difficult than others,” she said. “We have students from Michigan who could not vote because Michigan demands first time voters vote in person — they cannot ask for an absentee ballot for their first time. Being a student compromises your ability to vote because you might not be able to take a day off to drive up.”Junior Mary Stechschulte, a Michigan resident, said she was not able to vote during the 2016 presidential election despite having registered to vote well in advance. During her freshman year at Saint Mary’s, Stechschulte said she registered to vote at a campus event and then drove home to vote at her designated polling place. But, when Stechschulte entered the polling place, she discovered she was not actually registered to vote. “I walked into the polling station, and the lady checking IDs’ face dropped after looking up my name,” she said. “She said that I had not registered to vote. I was in shock; I had taken all of the necessary steps to be able to vote, even taking four hours from my busy college life to vote and the machine still said I had not registered.”Stechschulte said she was devastated walking out of the polling station.“I felt heartbroken,” she said. “I wanted to do my part for the election and vote for what I believed in.”Stechschulte said she and her family did everything they could to get her registered — they even sent a letter to the Secretary of State — but the problem was discovered too late to allow Stechschulte to vote in the 2016 election. When Stechschulte returned to campus, she said she discussed what had happened with her friends. She soon realized she was not the only student who did not get to vote in the election. “After some more discussion with my friends, I realized that I was not the only college-aged student who mysteriously did not get registered to vote,” she said. “I did receive my registration confirmation from the Secretary of State a few days after the official numbers came back from my home state [of Michigan], but it was too late for me to vote.”Junior Genesis Vasquez’s early voter registration was rejected two days before the midterm elections. She said she applied for an absentee ballot but never received it. “Two days before the election, I got an email saying I would not get the ballot because my signature did not match and I may not be registered where I indicated on my application,” she said. “Which was a lie, because before I did the application, I updated my address.” Like Stechschulte, Vasquez said the right to vote is not something she takes for granted. “Voting is really important to me because my parents have had trouble becoming citizens and cannot vote,” she said. “I vote for them, and I vote to have good people in office that will make a positive change and do something new that will benefit the people.” Despite never receiving an absentee ballot, Vasquez said she was able to return to her hometown of Chicago and cast her vote in the midterm elections. However, Vasquez said she feels it was not a fluke that her registration was rejected. “I know I was not the only one who had a similar experience to this,” she said. “My friend and I said, ‘The system tried to not let us vote, but we were not going to let that happen.’ I was very fortunate that I am from Chicago and I could have gone to vote.”Pierce said he also knew of students who have experienced trouble obtaining an absentee ballot. Pierce said these election administration issues have always been apparent, but they were more evident during the recent midterm elections because of the high level of turnout among young people. “You’re seeing the problem amplified because turnout is higher,” he said. “You have more people who want to vote, so when the system isn’t operating effectively, you’ll have more evidence of that ineffectiveness. This was an extraordinary election for young people in terms of turnout and partisanship, because you saw them breaking for the Democrats far more strongly than young people ever have.”Gonzalez said the midterm election and even the past presidential election raise the issue of voter suppression. She said she feels that most Americans do not see voter suppression as “a real issue.” People will look for obvious intent behind acts of voter suppression, but Pierce said voter suppression often occurs because of structural issues.“Counties have gotten used to getting by with what they have — they have increasingly faced tough fiscal situations, so they’re looking for areas to cut,” he said. “That gets manifested in reducing the number of polling places and having fewer staff within the county offices. You will find those issues affecting counties with poorer citizens.”This kind of voter suppression can manifest itself as long lines for the polls, shortened deadlines for early voting and malfunctioning voting equipment, Pierce said.Often, Gonzalez said, voter suppression occurs in underrepresented or marginalized communities and many Americans do not hear about the issues that plague these communities. For example, in the midterm election, some polling places opened late, disrupting people’s work schedules and daily lives. “We’ve heard how some polling places were not open until noon, and if they were open, there were only three machines and a waiting period of hours to just vote,” Gonzalez said. “When you are an individual that depends on that paycheck, it takes a real effort to take even 30 minutes out of a work day to vote.” Pierce said that the public should pay more attention to acts of voter suppression, with a focus on voting purges and Voter ID laws.“Voter suppression is certainly something that’s out there and you can witness it most easily in the purges and Voter ID laws — those are probably the two egregious examples of voter suppression,” he said. Pierce said civic engagement has seen a shift in concern, from a worries about increasing voter turnout to a concerns about the “false issue of voter fraud.” The concept of voter fraud was referenced by President Trump in early 2017, who established a presidential commission to study alleged voter fraud.“There is simply no evidence of any significant and meaningful voter fraud going on,” Pierce said. “You’ve distracted people and redefined the issue so that it’s not longer about a democracy and engaging everyone to participate in the process.”Pierce said Americans should be more concerned about Voter ID laws than voter fraud. “Voter ID laws are really important and awful,” he said. “They’re new, so there’s not much political science literature on the topic, but the most important work, which was done by a couple of folks who are at [University of California at] San Diego, found that Voter ID laws significantly reduced turnout among folks of color and folks who were liberal.” Gonzalez said news about voter suppression should move people to action. Some of the ways to prevent voter suppression, she said, include educating ourselves on the history of voting rights in America, engaging in conversations about voting rights and volunteering to help register people to vote. “Research who is running and pay attention to their campaigns,” she said. “It is also so rewarding to be part of elections by volunteering. I cannot vote, but I still consider myself American and I understand my civic duty as raising awareness and encouraging participation. I find volunteering in this way does work as a catalyst.”Part of this awareness involves encouraging and teaching students to follow up on their registration, Gonzalez said. “We could set up times where we tell students, ‘it’s time to call your polling place,’ just to be completely sure,” she said. “And again, we just need to really work on preparing students for what to do if [their vote] has been rejected.”Gonzalez said every American should have the opportunity to vote in every election. “How can we call ourselves a democracy, an exemplary one at that, if there is no equity in access so every citizen can vote and guarantee that every vote will be counted,” she said. Tags: Midterms, president trump, voter suppression, voting, voting purge
Students interested in receiving academic credit for studying “The Good Place” and philosophy should start trying to earn points for their positive actions.This fall, the departments of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and Philosophy are joining forces to create “The Good Class,” a six-week, one-credit class that will serve as an interdisciplinary study of “The Good Place,” a hit sitcom on NBC. The class will be restricted to FTT majors and students in the philosophy major or minor, and will feature a visit from television writer and producer Michael Schur, who created “Parks and Recreation” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in addition to “The Good Place.”Meghan Sullivan — the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Chair and professor of philosophy, and one of the architects of The Good Class — said the department typically aims to bring in “people who have some philosophical dimension to their jobs but they’re not philosophy professors” to speak each year. This year, someone suggested Schur.“We all love ‘The Good Place,’ students reference it in class all the time and in their writing, and it’s really creative and well-done, philosophically,” Sullivan said.So, Sullivan wrote an email to Schur, which got passed through the Notre Dame community to Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin, who gave it to his daughter, Jennifer Joy Philbin, who is married to Schur. From there, Sullivan said, Schur agreed to come to campus as long as he could talk to a lot of students about philosophy.In order to ensure Schur’s trip to campus was as fruitful as possible, Sullivan explained, she wanted to make his visit “a whole production” and find a group of students guaranteed to be “totally obsessed with the show” and then “weaponize them” to make the most out of a day with the creator.The idea for a one-credit class about philosophy and “The Good Place” came together between Sullivan and Ricky Herbst, the cinema program director at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, who suggested they bring in FTT professor Christine Becker to teach the television aspects of the class.Becker jumped at the chance to be involved with the class, as “in addition to loving the show and loving Mike Schur,” it gives her an opportunity to expand her “world of teaching” in a new way.“I was fascinated by a crossover with philosophy and thrilled with the idea of being able to work with someone bringing different approaches, and then students who will have different ways of thinking,” she said. “I always love it when I have students from other majors in my FTT classes because they ask different questions, they think in different ways, they challenge me.”While Schur’s visit itself will be the main event of The Good Class, Sullivan said he will also speak to around 450 freshmen in God and the Good Life — a large class that satisfies the first philosophy requirement — and attend a larger event with the broader Notre Dame community.The professors haven’t set an official syllabus yet — although Becker said formulating the class has been the most fun she’s ever had building a course — but they know it will probably end up featuring an even blend of television and philosophy studies.“There are ways in which they’re not fully discrete. So I don’t think it will be like this day will be FTT day and this day will be philosophy day,” Becker said. “I think the goal is more, where can we find these intersections in the fabric between them and the idea of even storytelling as a notion is philosophical.”The interdisciplinary nature of the course will ultimately be beneficial to students from both departments, Herbst said.“That’s something that we should be finding in more of our classes here, because it’s the way almost every other business is trying to train its people,” he said. “It’s to give them broad exposure and cross-train.”Sullivan added that the show itself is “enormously culturally important for expanding interest in philosophy” in today’s society, which the class will explore.“Everyone does philosophy at some degree in their life, and philosophy is a very important part of everyday life — and a lot of times people don’t believe us about this,” she said. “And for good reason, because a lot of philosophy books are exceptionally boring, but art like this is the counter-example.”In addition, Becker said, this class — which will ultimately speak to “understanding how storytelling is forged” — is a natural extension of the FTT department, as it ensures its students will “be smarter consumers of film and television and have fun along the way.”“You’re not someone who just watches TV, you’re someone who can have an elevated experience of it,” Becker said. “There’s value in understanding how these things are made, how the creative process works, how the industry works, understand the economics behind it and that kind of stuff. You become a media-literate person, but it’s a blast if you like it.”The target demographic for the class, Becker said, is students who are able to hit the ground running in terms of knowledge of the show and creative thinkers. This goal, along with the idea that the class will be a small discussion group, led the professors to create an application with questions that refer to “The Good Place,” such as, “We recently discovered that no one has passed The Good Class in centuries, so please provide your suggestions for how the course should be fairly graded going forward.”“We thought, OK, well we have to have an application, and then the thought is, well, how do we vet people?” Becker said. “We said, ‘Let’s come up with “Good Place”-like questions.’ … One of our ideal students would be someone who’s seen the show, knows it backwards and forwards on day one of that class.”That application is available online — where Sullivan said the professors will likely post updates about the course so anyone who is interested can follow along with it — and is due April 7 by 11:59 p.m.In the end, Herbst said, using “The Good Place” as a case study will show students the benefits of blending two disciplines in an interesting and enjoyable way.“We can be smart about fun things, and we can have fun with smart things,” he said. “And we need to do that much more.”Tags: Department of Film Television and Theatre, department of philosophy, interdisciplinary, media studies, michael schur, philosophy, Television, The good place
Although water is one of the most abundant resources in the world, it exists on a wide spectrum of drinkability. Bottled water tends to be the safest option, while river and lake water should be considered non-potable. However, well water falls into a gray area. At times it can be consumed safely, but it can also potentially contain dangerous heavy metals.City water is tested regularly, but testing for well water is completed much less frequently, as it must be done at the homeowner’s expense, according to a flyer distributed by the Saint Mary’s department of chemistry and physics.This means heavy metals, such as arsenic, can build up in the water, and according to the flyer, “long term exposure can pose a significant health risk.”The department hopes to aid Saint Mary’s students and the wider community in learning how to test their well water.Their water-testing project began about two years ago as a community research study.“Community research is a little challenging, because the pathway to getting a project is less obvious than with more traditional science research,” Kimberly Cossey, chemistry professor and head of the project, said in an email.Cossey said she began at the local level of community engagement.“The first step of any community research is meeting people and networking, so that you know what is needed,” Cossey said in the email.Then, the group had to map out the exact procedure the department would use to test the well water.“The next step was to determine the methods that we would use for the science part of the project,” she said in the email. “I decided to use ICP-OES (an instrument used to test water samples), which [test] not only arsenic but also other heavy metals, even in low concentrations. Thus, we could test for multiple potential contaminants at once, and give residents the results.”Cossey and a student collaborator, senior chemistry major Katelyn Long, have begun a pilot study where students will be able to test and send in the results from their water.This process is fairly simple, Cossey said.“We give residents a kit that has water bottles, and instructions on how to collect their water,” she said in the email. “They run the tap for a few minutes, and then collect the water into the water bottle. Residents can test multiple locations in their home, as water is not the same from every tap (due to things like water softeners, RO [reverse-osmosis] filters, etc.)”Next, Cossey will test the water with Long.“They bring the samples back to Saint Mary’s, and we treat the samples with chemicals,” she said in the email. “This is necessary for testing, and also makes sure that the samples stay ‘useable’ until we can test them.”According to Cossey, the next steps for the project involve collecting, calibrating and distributing data from the project.“The primary goal is to decrease health risks in the community by letting people know what’s in their drinking water,” Cossey said in the email. “We don’t want anyone to be drinking water with arsenic or lead on a regular basis without realizing it.”The project also seeks to discover local problem areas that may have issues, she said.“We are also looking for patterns in location and time,” Cossey said. “After testing one location found to have arsenic for several months, we have found that the amount of arsenic varies. … By mapping the places where high levels are found, we can identify neighborhoods that may need more immediate testing. This way those residents can know if they should be concerned.”Tags: department of physics and chemistry, South Bend, South Bend community, water
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: PexelsOLEAN – A man was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated following a hit-and-run crash on Delevan Avenue in Olean Monday.New York State Police say Richard Kehler, 43, of Olean, fled the scene prior to trooper’s arrival.Police report Kehler was later located at his residence where he allegedly refused a standardized field sobriety test.Kehler was then arrested and transported to the State Police Barracks in Olean, where troopers say he refused to submit to a chemical breath test. Police say he was released with appearance tickets for Olean City Court, where he is due to appear later this month.