Although animal-loving students may suffer when they leave pets behind and come to Notre Dame, residents of some dorms can still interact with the furry friends belonging to their rectors. New rules instated in the last decade prohibited pets in residence halls, so pets already living with their rector owners in the dorms were “grandfathered in” as residents of their respective halls, Farley Hall rector Sr. Carrine Etheridge said. Etheridge unexpectedly became the owner of Farley, a Pekingese mix, about 10 years ago. “Farley was a stray, and security brought her to my attention on a bitter, cold night in December,” Etheridge said. “She would have frozen to death, but she’s been living here ever since, and it’s been a lot of fun having her.” For the past 10 years, residents of Fisher Hall have become accustomed to the mellow, friendly basset hound named Ellie, who belongs to Fisher Hall rector Fr. Rob Moss. “She’s kind of a fixture,” Moss said. “She was my mother’s dog, and I probably won’t have another one in the future, but I don’t think she’s moving anywhere.” Fisher Hall residents christened Ellie as the dorm’s unofficial mascot, and she often attracts crowds during dances and parties in the hall, Moss said. “There’s one chair in the main lobby that I let her sit on, so it’s pretty much her throne,” Moss said. “She’s so friendly that she practically flirts with some students, and she puts up a little fuss if the assistant rectors don’t pet her.” Ryan Hall rector Breyan Tornifolio has enjoyed the companionship of Ella, a cocker spaniel-springer spaniel mix, since she arrived at Notre Dame five years ago. “Ella is a great companion to have,” Tornifolio said. “The women like having her around, and it’s nice having her there when I get back from a meeting or while I’m in my room.” Etheridge, Moss and Tornifolio all said their dogs comfort homesick students and help them deal with difficult situations, such as the loss of a family member or illness. “Farley is very sensitive and will sit by a girl who is in trouble or in need of help,” Etheridge said. “She’s particularly good with girls who have broken up with their boyfriends, but she’s heard everything and she never breaks her confidence.” Similarly, Tornifolio said she encourages her residents to feel comfortable around Ella and to confide in her because she is “the best secret keeper there is.” Sr. Sue Dunn, who resides in Cavanaugh Hall, said her dog Leo is a substitute for Cavanaugh women who miss their own animals at home, she said. “He came through when I had to break hard news to residents in the hall,” she said. In addition to supporting students through trying experiences, residence hall dogs often receive a great deal of attention and special treatment, including walks and treats from students. This Christmas, Tornifolio said Ella even received a gift from one Ryan resident’s mother. Moss also said one Fisher student carved a wooden picture frame for Ellie a few years ago, and Ellie often rides the elevator and goes on rounds with security guards. Etheridge said the women of Farley enjoy dressing their dog in costumes for every occasion, including dances and football weekends, and Farley knows which students keep dog treats in their rooms. “We put her in a black taffeta dress for dances, and she wears either a football jersey or cheerleading costume to pep rallies, which people love to see,” Etheridge said. “Once, we had a luau, so some girls made her a grass skirt and used walnuts instead of coconuts for her top. We have a lot of fun with her.” Although allergies to dogs present a point of concern, only Moss ran into issues with allergic students in the past, but this problem was resolved when the student moved from the first floor to an upper floor, and no problems have occurred since. Despite the responsibilities of having a pet in a residence hall, the rectors unanimously agreed their pets make life in their halls more lively and interesting. Tornifolio said she “couldn’t imagine Ryan Hall without a dog.” Other dog owners living on campus include Fr. Austin Collins, resident of Dillon Hall and owner of an Irish setter named Big Red. “It’s just fun having a dog,” Etheridge said.
Notre Dame students are pledging to “Spread the Word to End the Word” today to fight insensitivity toward those with disabilities as part of “End the R-Word Day.” “Spread the Word to End the Word [is] a campaign started by Soeren Palumbo, a 2011 graduate, and Timothy Shriver,” said Maureen Connelly, co-president of Special Olympics Notre Dame. “The ultimate focus of the campaign is to spread awareness and help people realize the hurtfulness of the derogatory use of the word ‘retarded’ and to encourage them not only to pledge to not use it, but to encourage other people to not use it as well.” This year marks the fifth “End the R-Word Day.” While Palumbo instituted the day at Notre Dame, the University is just one of hundreds of colleges and elementary, middle and high schools across the country participating in the campaign. Palumbo, a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame, founded Special Olympics Notre Dame his senior year with a group of students in an effort to increase engagement between students and disabled members of the community through athletics. Palumbo, who is pursuing a JD/MBA at the University of Pennsylvania, will be speaking at tomorrow’s “Spread the Word” rally at 7 p.m. in the Hesburgh Library’s Carey Auditorium. “I’ll be there to talk about where ‘Spread the Word’ came from, how did it start, how did it grow, what role did Notre Dame play in those two things, why is it important, where is it going [and] what is Notre Dame’s role in the future of the campaign,” Palumbo said. Students can commit to the cause by signing banners from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in both dining halls and LaFortune Student Center. Connelly said students are encouraged to not only pledge themselves to the campaign, but to solicit participation from friends. “Encourage others – truly spread the word to end the word. If you hear someone using it, it’s uncomfortable, but at the same time it’s so powerful to have someone tell you, ‘Hey, you really shouldn’t use that in that sense,’” Connelly said. “If you never really realized how offensive it was before, it kind of opens up your eyes. People are scared sometimes to speak out against it, but they don’t realize that some people truly don’t know that it’s offensive.” Palumbo said the campaign is about more than ending use of the r-word. “I think that it’s important to end the use of the r-word because language not only informs us, language transforms us,” he said. “When we use divisive words or exclusionary words or dehumanizing words, like retard or retarded, we not only build up barriers between people and isolate people and exclude people, but we ourselves become the barriers. We force others out when we define our world through exclusionary language.” Using these insensitive terms is not just hurtful to people with disabilities, Palumbo said. “At the same time, I think that it robs us without disabilities of that perspective, that dimension of the human experience that I think is very enriching and contributes to a more complete and more beautiful understanding of what it means to be human,” he said. “When we use the words retard or retarded, we embrace the attitude that it engenders and we prevent all of that.”,A few years ago, I had a conversation with my brother that changed my life. I was sharing a story about an autistic boy, Liam, with whom I had spent time as a camp counselor for people with special needs. My brother commented that Liam was a boy with autism rather than an autistic boy. Liam was a person first; autism should be used to describe, not to define. Before this, altering labels seemed like trivial semantics. That night, however, I realized that language matters. While words inform and share, they serve another function. Whether consciously or subconsciously, our words define and limit our outlook on the world, our opinion of others and our understanding of how others should be treated. By defining Liam as an autistic boy rather than a boy with autism, I was also confirming my view that Liam was somehow different from me and somehow separate from me. Wednesday, March 6, was the fifth annual Spread the Word to End the Word Day, a campaign devoted to raising awareness about the dehumanizing effects of words such as retard and retarded. As stated by Special Olympics, these derogatory slurs promote “painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.” I believe the elimination of hurtful words such as retard and retarded will help fade the differences that seem to set people with physical and intellectual disabilities apart and allow humanity to emerge as the defining characteristic of us all. I am not asking for donations of time or Domer Dollars. Rather, I ask my classmates to recognize that words dictate how we view and understand others in our community and consequently influence our actions. Whether you joined the myriad of people around the world by signing the pledge on March 6 to uphold the dignity of all people, I encourage you, as a member of Notre Dame community, to do even more. I urge you to practice what you preach by extending the spirit of inclusion and love that is intrinsic to the Notre Dame family to everyone, regardless of ability. Rachael Palumbo senior Pangborn Hall
In the fourth lecture in the Ten Years Hence series, Tara Kenney, managing director at Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, spoke Friday on the significance of impact investing in emerging markets.“Impact investing is a concept that has gained a lot of traction in our market today,” Kenney said. “There is a way forward in terms of promoting inclusion for the masses in our society today.”While 2 billion people live in poverty and lack access to basic financial services, technological improvements have the potential to deliver these services to the impoverished, Kenney said.“For the first time in history, major developments make it realistic to imagine a world where we can change this,” Kenney said. “Technology, especially digital and mobile communications, big data and micro-finance make a vision of a financially inclusive world a possibility.”Kenney, who also serves as a board member for Accion International, a nonprofit organization that supports microfinance institutions, said the company is setting the example in the field of impact investing.“We’ve tried to build the next frontier of financial institutions,” Kenney said. “We’ve pushed them to think outside the box and tried to build a strong industry, and, moreover, as a leader in the space we feel it incumbent on ourselves to be the role model for what is and is not ethical in this sector.”Kenney said though the majority of people in developing countries lack access to traditional banking channels, many of these people have access to cellphones.“Eighty-eight percent of the world has a cellphone in their pockets, and almost half are in emerging markets,” Kenney said. “Even in some of the most remote corners of the world, you have access to Internet and Facebook.”Providing access to financial services for this impoverished yet technologically literate demographic is a potential source of economic growth, Kenney said.“By 2025, the emerging markets will be roughly be half of the world’s consumption standards,” Kenney said. “If you take a look at the lowest segment of the population earning less than two dollars a day, that can be a huge marketplace for banks and growing consumer goods markets.”Kenney said Accion, which has helped build 63 microfinance institutions in more than 30 countries, carefully selects possible investments to ensure that the organization can maintain future growth.“Working towards scalability and profitability is our mantra,” she said. “We have to remain relevant and look to the future.”Part of Accion’s success in securing profitable investments comes from taking calculated risks in environments the company knows well, Kenney said.“It was incumbent for [Accion] to invest where others would not go,” she said. “It’s enabled us to grow our platforms and to be a standard-bearer in the industry to understand things like capital protection and over indebtedness.”Kenney said Accion operates in an environment which encourages collaboration even among traditional business rivals.“We’re working both with MasterCard and Visa to promote access to credit cards in emerging markets,” she said.Tags: emerging markets, impact investing, Tara Kenney, Ten years Hence series
Notre Dame’s African Students Association (ASA) will hold its annual Midwestern African Students Association Conference February 5-7. During the conference, several other African student associations from various Midwestern universities will participate in networking, discussion and a celebration of African culture, Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu, senior and president of Notre Dame’s ASA, said.Susan Zhu The African Students Association is a student organization dedicated to educating and celebrating with the Notre Dame community the rich cultures of Africa, Nwaogwugwu, said.“The club seeks to establish a home away from home where Africans and those interested in learning more about Africa can come together and share their love for the continent,” she said. “Our goal is to promote all aspects of African culture through informational meetings and monthly activities in hopes of bringing light to Africa and its future. We hope to better educate club members in hopes that they, in turn, can educate those around them.”According to Nwaogwugwu, the ASA’s various activities and fundraisers throughout the year include monthly meetings, a welcome-back mixer, concession stand, haunted house trip, membership drive and game night during the fall semester. In the spring semester the ASA sponsors the “signature” ASA Weekend, trips to other University ASA events, and “Africa on the Quad” in collaboration with the Student Union Board. Notable events this year will include a joint discussion with the Black Student Association about “integral connections within the African Diaspora” in February, as well as a March reading from an African author.This year marks the fourth Midwestern African Students Association Conference. Nwaogwugwu said the conference grew out of a previously annual “Africa Week” on campus, which inspired ASA leaders to “think it would be awesome to have a conference where we host other Midwest African student organizations to gather for networking, conversations and entertainment, and thus began ASA weekend.”According to Nwaogwugwu, putting on this year’s conference has involved a lot of preparation, including making sure the conference’s panel is comprised of a diverse group of students and securing a line-up of performers and food.The theme of this year’s conference, according to the ASA website, is “Connecting to Africa: Uniting the Diaspora.”“The theme of our first conference was ‘Africa is Not a Country’,” Nwaogwugwu said, “The 2014 theme was ‘Changing the Face of Africa,’ and last year our theme was ‘This is New Africa.’ We started this whole weekend with the intention of educating those around us as we strived to dispel a few of the misconceptions there might be about Africa as a whole, like it being a country. Each year since, we have continued the discussion and the sharing of personal experiences to make it easier to not form a single narrative about the place that many of us call home. This year’s theme was selected because we feel the next logical step is to understand ways in which we can all connect back to Africa and use our unique talents to make it better.”According to the ASA website, as well as Nwaogwugwu, the conference will begin on Friday with an opening mixer in the LaFortune Student Center Ballroom. The first event Saturday will be a panel discussion in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library.“A number of ND students that will share the ways they have and continue to connect with Africa,” Nwaogwugwu said. “In the afternoon we will have #ASATalks which are academic, cultural and professional presentations [and] discussions.”“Africa Night” will be held in Stepan Center on Saturday evening and consist of a showcase of African-themed dance performances, songs and fashion and include the groups Troop ND and First Class Steppers. On Sunday the conference will conclude with a praise and worship service in the chapel of the Coleman-Morse Center and brunch in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall. Attendees of the conference include Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students as well as students at Wabash College, Indiana University and Case Western Reserve University.“I hope this conference informs more people about Africa, existing engagement opportunities, and about our club as a whole because (the) African Students Association, as well as ASA Weekend, is for Africans, Africa enthusiasts and those curious about Africa, because we would all love to share her with you,” Nwaogwugwu said.Tags: African Students Association
When she was younger, first-year Saint Mary’s student Dalanie Beach wanted to do everything and be everything when she grew up. As she grew older, she said she found she could be anything and do everything by becoming a writer.“You can step into the shoes of anyone you want to be and just go with it,” she said. “And I think that’s my favorite thing about it. I can be anything when I write”.This mentality led her to self-publish three novels between the ages of 13 and 16 through an online publication site. As Beach gained more writing experience, she said she chose to remove the novels from publication, and followed the advice of a teacher who told her to take her writing to the Midwest Writers Conference.While there, she pitched her contemporary young adult novel “Reckless Intention” to three agents and later signed with Bradford Literary Agency. She then embarked on a lengthy revision process with her agent and is currently working on finding a publisher for the novel.“You can publish without an agent, but it is hard to do in today’s world when there is increased emphasis on the business side of things,” Beach said. “[The agent] handle[s] the business side while the writer handles the creative side. If you just send a novel to a publishing company, they generally won’t even open it. But an agent verifies, yes, it is worth their time.”However, Beach said she does recommend self-publishing if someone has strong business and marketing skills. Working with an agent and going through six revisions of her novel taught Beach a lot about the realities of being a writer and how a work evolves, she said.“I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of good writing which is definitely hard,” Beach said. “Sometimes you write a scene and it’s not working, but you really love it and you have to cut it out because it’s better for the manuscript as a whole.”Despite the novel not yet being published, Beach said she is still writing. She quoted writer Franz Kafka when she said “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity,” and added writing and characters have always been her passion and motivation.She is currently working on a novel based on Charles Dodgson, known by the pen name Lewis Carroll. She said the idea came from a research paper she wrote last semester and over winter break when she read Dodgson’s diaries.Beach said through the novel, she hopes to clarify some of the misrepresentations of Dodgson present in modern society, such as claims that he was a pedophile or drug addict.“I want to focus on him because he was so deep and complex. There’s a crazy amount of writing he has done,” she said.After writing for so many years, Beach said she can no longer read without a pencil.“If something strikes me as beautiful or meaningful, then I have to pause, re-read it and think ‘What did the author do here?,’ ‘What did they employ to make this happen?,’ ‘How can I use this in my own writing?’ It has definitely changed the way I read for the better,” she said.As a first year, she said she looks forward to a few more years of college where she can strengthen her skills as a writer and learn about different styles and strategies. Beach said she has seen her own style and voice evolve since that first novel she wrote when she was 13.“When I was younger, I would kind of imitate other authors,” she said. “I think that’s important for a writer to do, and then later on it is important to develop your own voice. Mine started coming out in ‘Reckless Intention,’ where I started playing around points of view.“My shift in focus has gone toward the characters. I develop this person to represent something about humanity that I feel like needs to be said. And I feel like I have a certain goal in my writing now, to create something beautiful and truthful.”Tags: author, Dalanie Beach, student, writing
As members of the class of 2019 receive their diplomas and complete their undergraduate careers, their eyes turn toward beginning their lives after college. For some, this beginning takes the form of employment, others in the form of further graduate education and some will begin their post-graduate lives doing service.According to the University‘s “First Destination” statistics for the Class of 2018, 65% of Notre Dame graduates are expected to be employed within six months of graduation. Ryan Willerton, Notre Dame’s associate vice president for career and professional development, said the University expects consulting, financial services and technology to be the most popular industries for Notre Dame graduates. Willerton also said many of the class of 2019’s first jobs will be steppingstones for the rest of their careers.“For many of them, it’s a first destination; it’s a first stop for a student who might pursue this for two or three years and then realize, ‘I’ve got a great education as a foundation, I have an opportunity to learn these skills and network, get into the Notre Dame alumni network as well, and then be able to leverage that for a career pivot,’” he said. “That’s really what we’re trying to do here in the [Center for Career Development] — give students the tools so they understand how to utilize these resources for the rest of their life. It’s not just about getting a first job or getting into grad school — these are the tools that you need, these are the skills you need to develop and the competencies you need to gain, so you can pivot and you can advance your career from there.”Senior David Scaramucci, a management consulting and Peace Studies double-major, said he credits the Center for Career Development with providing him the infrastructure necessary for landing a job in consulting prior to his graduation.“I knew I wanted to go into consulting and they just have everybody there — it was an easy middleman to help me as a student to connect with the employer,” he said.While about two thirds of the senior class will enter the workforce, 22% of the Class of 2018 pursued graduate degrees, according to the First Destination survey.Senior Evan Nichols, a biology major and Constitutional Studies minor who will be pursuing a PhD in biology at Stanford University in the fall, said his experience performing research as an undergrad was an impetus for his decision to pursue a graduate degree.“I’ve been working with a professor on campus doing research for three years now, and I kind of got the bug for research and being able to ask questions and answer questions, I really then set my career path because these are the things I’d like to continue to do,” Nichols said. “ … Going to graduate school and getting a PhD is the first step on that process, so I’m really excited to do it.”If recent trends in Notre Dame graduates continue, approximately 7% of graduates will pursue service directly out of college, Willerton said. This number is almost 10 times larger than the national average for college graduates.“Notre Dame’s service number is much higher than many other colleges and universities, and that’s one of the things that makes Notre Dame distinct,” he said.Notre Dame’s placement rate — or the percentage of alumni with post-graduate plans — of graduates six months after they receive their diploma hovers around 98%. Willerton said this high rate is a result of the way Notre Dame educates students for real world success.“You need to make sure you’re developing not only the leadership skills but also the interpersonal skills,” Willerton said. “When we talk to our employers, we hear over and over that Notre Dame students excel in their interpersonal relationships. The ability to work as a team, those are core skills that students are going to need and its one of the reasons Notre Dame graduates are finding their way into managerial and leadership positions more than other universities because they have these skills.”Scaramucci said his academic track at Notre Dame has prepared him with those interpersonal skills as well as a critical perspective of his surroundings.“I think sometimes you’re in class and you’re like, ‘I don’t understand how this relates to outside life,’ but I think my management consulting major was so much group projects and presentations that I’m so comfortable doing that now and that’s a lot of what consulting is,” Scaramucci said. “From the Peace Studies perspective, you see how complex problems can be and how sometimes well-intentioned proposals sometimes have negative consequences and how you should be aware of those and how you should critique them when they arise.”This process of developing leadership skills in and outside the classroom, Willerton said, begins with the University’s unique residential system.“It starts in our residence halls,” he said. “The residential tradition and what we have here where you’re starting off as a freshman living with seniors and you’re seeing that modeled behavior where they understand that college is more than just going to class and relaxing and playing sports and going to games, it’s really about figuring out who you are as a person and how you translate that into the rest of your life.”Nichols said his time at Notre Dame has helped him expand his academic horizons beyond his immediate interests.“I’ve really gained an appreciation for having a holistic intellectual life. Not being able to just focus on a single discipline like biology, but also being able to think about some of the bigger questions,” he said.“ … I think a lot of disciplines are all trying to answer similar questions when you really zoom out and get the big picture view. So, I think being able to appreciate other people’s approaches to things and being able to digest them is what I’ll be able to carry out of Notre Dame.”Tags: Center for Career Development, Class of 2019, Commencement 2019, First Destination
As part of the recently launched multi-year facilities update, for which Saint Mary’s received approval to issue a bond of $51.5 million, the tunnel system between Le Mans Hall and Cushwa-Leighton Library will be reopened for student use. Though the official reopening date is pending, plans to renovate the tunnels have been in place since the beginning of last semester.In an interview with The Observer, vice president for strategy and finance Dana Strait said reopening the tunnels would ensure that the newly installed 24-hour spaces in the library are used by students, even during the colder winter months. Maeve Filbin The tunnel between Le Mans Hall and the Cushwa-Leighton Library is currently closed to students. As part of a larger facilities update, the tunnel will be renovated and opened to student traffic.“We also have to ensure that they’re accessible, so that students who are in wheelchairs or who need a little bit more physical assistance … [are able] to get through,” Strait said. “So, part of opening that tunnel this fall will involve installing accessibility ramps so that they can really be used by all students.”In a January email to students, library director Joe Thomas said the renovation work would be completed within the next three months.The tunnel system was initially created to connect the buildings on campus to the central utility plant, Strait said in an email, and is currently owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.“In this case, the Sisters were so generous as to approve reopening the tunnel for student use as part of the overall library renovation,” she said.At one time, the tunnels connected the Convent, Holy Cross Hall, Moreau Center for the Arts, Regina Hall, Le Mans Hall, Haggar College Center and the library, Adaline Cashore, director of donor relations, said. Cashore, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1970, remembers traversing these underground passageways.“They were warm and dry in the winter,” Cashore said in an email. “They were relatively well-lit and wide, but the head room was low. You could reach out above and to the side and touch the pipes. So, it’s understandable why the Sisters decided to close them to pedestrians.”The tunnel connecting Le Mans Hall to Haggar and the library was built in 1982, when Cushwa-Leighton was first constructed and Haggar — which served as a library up until that point — was renovated, Cashore said.“It has a completely different feel from the older network,” she said.Since the tunnel’s original opening, it fell into disrepair over the years, and was eventually closed to the public due to dangerous conditions. However, Strait said the new renovations will make the tunnels safe and accessible for all students.“The College is in the process of making the necessary investments to ensure that it [is in] compliance with ADA requirements and recommendations, so it is available to all students, including those with accessibility needs,” Strait said. “The College will also take care of improving the aesthetic condition of the space, incorporating fresh paint and a thorough cleaning.”The work will be finished within the next few months, and the tunnels will be opened for student use before the end of this academic year, Strait said.“We are hoping that April gives us at least one good snow so that students can appreciate the warmth provided by this newly-opened tunnel before the academic year is done,” she said.Tags: Bond, Cushwa-Leighton Library, Le Mans Hall, renovations, tunnels
In a Saturday email to students, Dean of Students Andrew Polaniecki announced Holy Cross will begin the move out process May 6.“Beginning on Wednesday, May 6, Holy Cross is able to provide Indiana residents access to residential halls for the retrieval of belongings from dorm rooms,” Polaniecki said in the email. “Then, beginning on Saturday, May 9 all students will have access to dorm rooms.”Using a link for their residence building, students were given the option to select a day and time to retrieve their belongings.According to the email, students must inform a hall staff member of their arrival and undergo a temperature check. Students are allowed to bring one guest to the residence halls to assist with the retrieval process; any other guests must remain in their vehicle. All visitors must follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks.In an effort to minimize contact, students are required to bring their own cleaning supplies, gloves and packing supplies.“When finished, students will complete a check-out sheet, leave keys and submit a picture of the clean/empty room,” Polaniecki said. “Rooms will be inspected by Holy Cross staff each evening to ensure proper move-out and check-out policies and procedures were followed.”The College asks students who are ill or who have ill family members to stay home.“Before traveling to campus, we ask everyone to be familiar with the appropriate local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines regarding social distancing, essential travel, public gatherings and other activities so you can make your best decision given your specific situation and location,” Polaniecki said.Tags: COVID-19, Holy Cross College, move-out, residence halls
Tags: 10-week winter session, Mental health, second wave, spring semester 2021 Following the Sept. 23 announcements of Notre Dame and Holy Cross’ plans for a long winter break and late start to the spring semester, the Saint Mary’s community awaited the College’s decision on how it would proceed. Plans to follow the same semester model as the other two institutions of the tri-campus community were released the next day.After the Nov. 20 end of the fall semester, students will begin a 10-week winter break. The spring semester is set to begin Feb. 3 and end May 19. No midterm break will be given during the period, similar to what occurred this semester.Sophomore Aranza Sierra said the semester without a fall break has taken its toll on students and she is ready for the upcoming extended break.“I am really looking forward to this break just because I feel like this semester has really been nonstop,” Sierra said. “I’m ready to not think about school for the upcoming 10-week break.”Sierra added that she thinks students thought this semester would be doable without a break.“I think that a lot of us thought that we could make it through the semester without any breaks, but now that we are actually living through the semester and while yes we are so close to the end of the semester, it still seems so far away,” she said. “Especially with professors stacking projects and paper, and all these assignments on top of each other.”Sierra also addressed concerns for students’ mental state, including her own.“I think I can speak for a lot of students that I am burnt out and no longer have the capacity to deal with or think about school-related matters,” she said. “It would have liked there to be like a day or two where all the students could have a day with no class and almost a type of mental health day. I know we have the weekend to rest, but weekends are no longer weekends, rather days to catch up on work you couldn’t complete during the week or were too at capacity and burnt out to finish during the week.”Junior Damariz Olguin echoed the same feeling of needing a long break after the fast-paced semester.“I will be relaxing and enjoying spending time with family after a packed and stressful semester,” she said.Olguin also commented on the College’s recent announcement of offering a handful of courses during the winter break to lighten the course load for students in the spring.“While Saint Mary’s has given students the option of a winter term, the semester has left me burnt out and I don’t think it is the right move for me,” Olguin said.However, Olguin does have concerns over the long winter break after an at-home end of spring semester and summer.“Hearing how long our break will be gave me flashbacks to the summer,” Olguin said. “Although I participated in SSLP through ND virtual experience, I found myself doing nothing after it and having large periods of free time.”As for the spring semester and the way it is set to take place, Olguin said she understands why the College decided to begin so late, but added that another semester without a break will be strenuous.“I understand the lateness of the start of the semester due to COVID,” she said. “However, another semester without a break will be very rough.”Sierra said she is a bit worried about another semester without the traditional break and hopes for at least one day off to destress.“It has been really hard not having a break in between the semester [and] it’s always go-go but we just need a time or day specifically free of school-related tasks to let go of everything,” she said. “I honestly do not mind that the semester is beginning February, just because I feel exhausted and I need as much time as possible to get back to myself because I know this has been a really challenging time not just for me but for everyone. And I’m sure a lot of have lost a little bit of our motivation and ourselves. Having those 10 weeks will ground us a lot more and let us be the people we once were before everything happened.”
View Comments LOS ANGELES, CA A Magical New Year’s Scare Leave it to Teller (the silent half of Penn & Teller) and magician Todd Robbins to create a show billed as being “inappropriate for the faint of heart—or those under 18.” Play Dead, running through January 12 at the Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater, combines storytelling, illusion and telepathy to explore the border between life and death. The description alone gives us chills! Happy New Year, everyone! We can’t think of a better way to ring in 2014 than with an evening at the theater—and luckily, there’s are plenty of exciting productions to choose from across the country. Check out our first Countrywide Guide of the year, featuring Momma Rose, life and death, S&M and more! BOSTON, MA A New Touch of Venus Catch the Tony-nominated play that The New York Times called “good, kinky fun” when David Ives’ Venus in Fur begins performances at the Huntington Theatre Company on January 3. Chris Kipiniak is cast as Thomas, a modern-day playwright/director who shares an erotically charged audition with a mysterious actress named Vanda (Andrea Syglowski). See them smolder through February 2. GLENCOE, IL Luck of the Irish—or Lack Thereof Playwright Conor McPherson is a poet of the everyday, and Port Authority centers on a trio of Dublin men from different generations delivering a series of monologues that trace their response to life’s challenges. Writers Theatre’s well-reviewed production of this 2001 drama continues through February 16. Don’t miss these tales well told. ARLINGTON, VA Let Them Entertain You It’s always a good time to see Gypsy, and one of the biggest stars of the DC theater scene, Sherri L. Edelen, will take on the titanic role of Momma Rose in Signature Theatre of Viginia’s revival. Joe Calarco directs a cast of Signature veterans in a production that was extended through January 26 even before previews began. As usual, everything’s coming up roses for this beloved musical. ROCHESTER, NY Step on the Gas John Cariani’s romantic comedy Almost, Maine ranks as one of America’s most produced plays. The actor-turned-playwright returns to the Maine woods with Last Gas, which centers on a single dad who manages the last convenience store before the Canadian border. See what happens when his old flame comes back to town at Geva Theatre Center in a production running from January 7 through February 2.