ND lights up Ugandan towns

first_imgNotre Dame’s Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is teaming up with Accenture, a global management consulting company, to provide electricity to rural communities in northern Uganda in hopes of giving them the ability to start their own enterprises. Many locations in Uganda have spotty electricity, a fact reflected in the country’s low gross domestic product (GDP), IGD program director Patrick Murphy said. Murphy said Notre Dame and Accenture hope that by providing working electricity, the residents of the country will have the opportunity to form more enterprises, thereby creating jobs in the area. “It’s about electricity, Internet connectivity and training for displaced persons in Uganda with the intent of generating new jobs built upon the new entrepreneurs that are trained,” Murphy said. “What’s lacking to try to start a new enterprise now is reliable electricity.” Murphy, former managing director for the Center for Sustainable Energy, said Accenture, through their Skills to Succeed program, aims to equip 250,000 people worldwide with the training to start a business. IGD pitched the idea of providing rural Africa with electricity to the company and formed a partnership, he said. The pilot program will work to provide electricity to three initial sites in Uganda, Murphy said. “It barely puts a dent in the electricity needs, but you have to start somewhere,” he said. “That’s why it’s philosophy-driven to start with.” Over the next two years, Murphy said IGD plans to improve the initiative and work with on-the-ground partners to install electricity in other locations. BOSCO Uganda, the 31 Lengths Campaign and the NGO Educate! program will assist IGD in Uganda. “We will install power systems, install Internet where it’s not already connected and some of our partners will provide training,” Murphy said. “We have to measure the impact of how many people we can train, how much power we can provide, but the intent is to start having businesses spin out.” If the program shows some success, Murphy said he hopes Accenture will agree to expand the number of sites and the impact of the initiative. Other Notre Dame faculty are involved in the effort as well. Michael Sweikar, associate director of IGD, said electrical engineering professor Michael Lemmon is working to design more efficient models for solar micro grids. Juan Carlos Guzman, director of research for the Institute for Latino Studies, will conduct the impact evaluation of the project, Sweikar said. “One of the real goals of IGD is to help link our resources on the ground with global development challenges,” Sweikar said. “That will lead to more opportunities for students to become engaged with faculty around doing real project and contributing to global development.” The project aims to prove a philanthropic-based program can eventually turn a profit while still having a positive impact on the world, Murphy said. “We’re not just providing electricity in today’s technology, but we’re looking into the technology, models, education and enterprises that can change the way business is done,” he said.last_img read more

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Office of the Registrar to change class times

first_imgThe Office of the Registrar recently introduced a series of scheduling revisions it will implement next academic year. Senior associate provost Christine Maziar said the changes aim to reduce the number of course conflicts.  “What we have done is opened up more scheduling slots, particularly on Monday and Wednesday mornings, that allow for classes previously held on Tuesdays and Thursdays to be held on Mondays and Wednesdays,” Maziar said. Under the new system, some classes will start at 8:20 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and last an hour and 15 minutes, Maziar said.  Maziar said the current scheduling system is “inefficient and increasingly causing problems for students.” It does not permit the scheduling of courses outside standard offering times unless the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Dean approve that scheduling, she said. “When courses are scheduled outside of standard times, it creates a series of conflicts for students,” Maziar said. “Students encountered difficulties in scheduling standard courses they needed or desired because non-standard courses created conflicts in their schedules, blocking them from taking the necessary standard courses.”  The revised system will minimize these conflicts, Maziar said. “I would imagine that the ability to offer Monday-Wednesday classes on the same course offering pattern as Tuesday-Thursday classes will open up more opportunities for students to put together their schedules,” she said. “The scheduling change means that all classes will fit into standard slots, either a Monday-Wednesday-Friday pattern, a Monday-Wednesday pattern or a Tuesday-Thursday pattern, although there are important exceptions like language courses that meet five days a week or laboratory courses that require a three-hour class period.” Maziar said she expects College of Arts and Letters students, in particular, to benefit from these changes because the Tuesday-Thursday course pattern is so popular within the College.  Maziar said professors brought The current schedulingtconflict to her attention last fall when they were Unable to schedule certain classes because teaching space was largely unavailablr. Upon further investigation, she said she noticedsclassrooms were being used unproductively and proposed adjusting class times in order to increase classroom availability.  Students likely will welcome the scheduling revisions, Maziar said. She said it was important the adjustment occur at the beginning and not in the middle of an academic year so as to ensure a smooth transition to the new system “We worked diligently so that the scheduling framework would be in place before students registered for classes at the end of this spring semester,” Maziar said.last_img read more

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McDonald Center for Student Well-Being opens

first_imgThis semester, the University officially opened the Rev. James E. McDonald, C.S.C., McDonald Center for Student Well-Being in Saint Liam Hall. The facility, known as McWell for short, was endowed last year by a $10 million gift from 1979 alumnus Mark Gallogly and his wife, Lise Strickler.Kelly Hogan Stewart, Director of the McDonald Center, said the center aims to increase the well-being of campus as a whole.“We are prevention, not treatment,” Stewart said. “So treatment is more about putting back together what may have become fragmented, broken or fractured. Well-being is really about increasing a person’s capacity and their ability-thriving.”Stewart said the center, housed at 204 Saint Liam Hall, hopes to positively impact the campus through the implementation of its mission and the scope of its vision. She cited “wellness enhancement” and “risk reduction” as key elements in increasing well-being for college students, who are at an imperative time in their lives in terms of learning how be well.She said the new center’s current priority is gaining recognition on campus through pushes like engaging students with creative events and programs throughout the year.“We’re doing things like pet love, wellness expos or a spin-off cash cab,” she said.Beyond events, Stewart said the center will work to provide students with resources to pursue well-being.“A truly robust health promotion department on any college campus is very connected to many resources, whether it be the academy, the community, any other departments within student affairs, so that could include a variety of departments like RecSports, the Gender Relations Center, MSPS,” Stewart said.Moving beyond the walls of Saint Liam, well-being commissioners within the residential halls will address the wellness needs of their own dorms and promote the mission of the center, Stewart said.“It really is our opportunity to provide services and resources directly into the residential halls,” Stewart said. “The commissioners will be the point people and engage with our department as another avenue for students to tell us what they need in their residential communities.”Stewart said that in order for the center to be successful, students need to know how health promotion functions and works with students and other factors that affect health dynamics at Notre Dame.“The way I explain what is health promotion is it’s really making the healthier choice the easier choice. It’s allowing people to live balanced within an imbalanced life,” Stewart said.The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being is looking to change the way Notre Dame addresses health and in effect change how students here address health for the rest of their lives, she said.“In the United States, our health care system and our mindset is structured to focus on the broken and then they think the absence of being broken is health,” Stewart said. “But that’s just one piece of it. High quality health and well-being is actually living a life which is filled with flourishing and thriving.”Tags: McDonald Center, Saint Liam’s, student well-beinglast_img read more

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Notre Dame responds to Harvard education report

first_imgThe Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project issued “Turning the Tide,” a report aimed at remaking the college admissions process into a means of encouraging genuine ethical and intellectual engagement in high school and college-age students, on Jan. 20. Admissions personnel from various top-tier universities, including Cornell University and Dartmouth College, have signed the report, endorsing its contents. Donald Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment at Notre Dame, said the document was not widely distributed and thus, the University did not have the opportunity to sign it.“The admissions process should both clearly signal that concern for others and the common good are highly valued in admissions and describe what kinds of service, contributions and engagement are most likely to lead to responsible work, caring relationships and ethical citizenship,” the report stated.The document goes on to outline recommendations to achieve these goals. According to the report, the admissions process should place a large emphasis on meaningful community service and should prioritize the quality, not the quantity, of activities participated in while in high school.“Applications should state plainly that students should feel no pressure to report more than two or three substantive extracurricular activities and should discourage students from reporting activities that have not been meaningful to them,” the report stated.“We are going to reach out to Harvard and look at what they have said in this preliminary report,” Bishop said. “Over the next two years, they are going to work out the details and we are going to offer to get involved.”Bishop said he feels that the University already does a great job of conveying the message of the Harvard report.“There was a statement in there, early on, that said while some schools already do this [emphasize the selection of civically and intellectually engaged students], many do not — we are one of the schools that already does this,” Bishop said. “We are in alignment with what they want to see other schools do — we already do. That is why we want to join in, because we think that we can be helpful to them.”Bishop is in the process of writing a response to the report but said Notre Dame sets itself apart from other schools through its ongoing commitment to recruiting students whose character demonstrate the Notre Dame mission of educating “mind, body and spirit.”“A lot of what the Harvard process is what other schools should value, we have always valued,” Bishop said. “We have talked about our values [and] we try to reward that if we can identify that in the application.“… So as a group of students, you all are really wanting to do the right things and serve others, but you are also highly skilled and you have really intellectualized your lives. You like to think, and I think that thinking and doing, putting those together, Notre Dame students do quite well,” he said. “That is what we are looking for in our applicant pool: people that will think through and then act on their thoughts and want to not just become an expert in some academic or intellectual field, but also help make a difference.”Tags: Admissions, Harvard education reportlast_img read more

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Rapper engages in activism through music

first_imgFrom its roots in the Bronx in the 1970s til now, hip-hop and rap music has had its finger on the pulse of social issues in the United States. From Public Enemy calling to “fight the power” in inner-cities in the 1980s to Kendrick Lamar’s expression of what it means to be black in America in “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Run the Jewels’ songs of protest against police brutality, social activism has been at the heart of this genre.Monday night, in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library, Aisha Fukushima, a “rap activist” or “RAPtivist,” explored the ability of hip-hop and rap to act as a catalyst for change and explained how her background led her to a career in activism. Fukushima also performed a few recently released songs.Fukushima said her unique upbringing contributed to her early political views and allowed her to witness the power of music.“I grew up as a multiracial child, both African-American and Japanese heritage, and for me, that looked liked living in Seattle, Washington, as well as Yokohama, Japan,” Fukushima said. “I think at this early age, I started to see how global music was. That pulse of music to be able to travel around the globe. No matter where you’re performing … I didn’t know the word solidarity yet, but I was feeling that through music.”When she spent time back in the United States, Fukushima said that she first experienced the racism that would later help inform the civil rights message she would later advocate.“I was one of very few students of color in the entire school,” she said. “We had our tires slashed over 17 times. There were different seeds of hatred and discontent that would manifest sometimes in actions like that, even in my local community.”Fukushima said one avenue through which she was able to express her feelings about discrimination was through writing poetry, which she could share with her high school classes. Fukushima found that students were more likely to listen to her concerns through this medium. This experience led her towards rap, a genre that she believes there are many misconceptions about, she said.“Often times, we get the booty, bling, bullets and sometimes bourbon,” she said. “Part of my experience in traveling around the world and connecting with hip hop activists — whether they be locally or globally — there is more to the hip-hop identity than this single story.”Fukushima said that the activist roots of hip-hop are come from the Bronx.“People used the phrase, ‘The Bronx is burning,’ to describe [the 1970s] because the landlords figured out they could acquire more money by burning down buildings and collecting insurance money than through the rent,” she said. “Hip-hop was born out of this place. Hip-hop was, in many ways, a response to the destruction that was going on.”Fukushima said that this activism was not limited to the United States and cited the impact of the Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi.“He created an album, ‘Presidénts de l’Afrique,’ talking about the different African leaders he didn’t see outlined in any of his textbooks,” she said. “He traveled the continent of Africa for 10 years collecting archival materials, speaking to the families who were still alive, and putting that into an album and music videos.”Recently, Fukushima’s own activism has centered around helping the people of Flint, Michigan. “One of the issues that compelled me to speak out was Flint, and the water crisis there that has recently reached 1000 days of them not having access to clean water,” she said.Recognizing the severity of this crisis, Fukushima recorded and released a music video about the situation in Flint with all proceeds helping the residents of the city.Fukushima also advocated for restoring parts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.“A lot of time King gets boiled down to single stories — whether he is a martyr in his death or we celebrate him and his non-violence [or] we just focus on the work he did around segregation and bus boycotts,” she said.  “But people tend to leave out the narrative about the last year of his life … Around this time, he spoke out against the Vietnam War [and]he started to speak out about three main pillars … he wanted to talk about racism, militarism and policy.”Fukushima ended by advocating to engage in social activism, citing Cornel West’s idea that “justice is what love looks like in public.”Tags: #Aisha Fukushima, activism, MLK, raplast_img read more

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Zimbabwe a capella group Nobuntu performs at Saint Mary’s

first_imgThe music of a culture helps to connect and bind its members together. In Nobuntu, an a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, the five female members sing, dance and play simple acoustic instruments in order to share their music with the world.  Nobuntu came to visit Saint Mary’s on Tuesday in O’Laughlin Auditorium as one of the first stops of many on their United States tour. According to the group’s website, they will travel through the country, performing at colleges and other venues until finally ending at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It is their first time touring in the United States.  “It is a unique opportunity for the people of our community to experience the culture of Zimbabwe through women’s voices,” Richard Baxter, director of campus and community events at Saint Mary’s, said. “They have a pure, unfiltered sound that doesn’t need any amplification. It is a remarkable group with great prestige.”The Saint Mary’s Cultural Affairs Committee began planning Nobuntu’s performance in the fall of 2017 and has been working since then to bring them to the College. Nobuntu was first on Baxter’s radar because he and Nobuntu’s agent, Marc Baylin, frequently work together. This relationship allows Saint Mary’s to host various diverse groups and gives students the opportunity to learn more about different cultures and folklore.“He keeps us in mind if anything interesting comes up,” Baxter said.Baylin Artists Management, Nobuntu’s agency, promotes the group along with several other international artists. According to the agency’s website, Nobuntu was nominated for the Best Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards in London in 2015. Duduzile Sibanda, a member of the group, said Nobuntu was formed in 2011 after all the members auditioned with Baylin Artists Management and were placed together. They started by performing at small festivals and concerts throughout Zimbabwe. Since then, they have released two recordings, EKHAYA in 2016 and THINA in 2013. They performed in concert halls throughout Europe and went on tour in Canada during 2016. The women do a variety of genres, including traditional Zimbabwean songs, Afro Jazz and Gospel. “We hope to use our music in order to advocate for mutual respect, peace, love and an end to abuse around the world,” Sibanda said. “My favorite is the traditional music. We have a lot to share through it and it helps us really work for unity and friendship.” The five members grew up in the same city and have known each other since high school. Sibanda said they’ve grown closer by traveling and performing together, and their music has helped the entire group flourish. “We have all changed since joining this group and through the songs we sing,” she said. “We matured, discovered more about ourselves and where we come from. It’s a humbling experience that also allows us to learn about the traditions of our culture and how they impact us today.” Tags: a capella, Concerts, Cultural Affairs Committee, Nobuntu, Zimbabwelast_img read more

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University admits 3,507 students into class of 2024

first_imgAfter receiving 21,270 applicants, Notre Dame’s admissions department invited 3,507 students to join the Notre Dame community in the 2019-2020 application round –– a 100-student increase from last year due to expected declines in yield because of the current pandemic, associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment Don Bishop said.The University hopes to enroll 2,050 first-years for the class of 2024 and expects to admit as many as 50 to 150 students from the waitlist. Due to the global situation, Bishop said admissions expects to use the waitlist more than in past years, but they hope to establish the first-year class by the end of July.“We think families are going to keep adjusting their own personal decisions throughout the summer,” Bishop said.Forty-four percent of the class was admitted in the early action cycle while 56% was admitted in regular action. Students from all 50 states and 80 nations are represented, and the current class is 57% white students, 36.4% students of color and 6.6% international students.Although 15.2% of admits are children of alumni, legacy students will likely compose 21% of the incoming class, as they have a higher yield percentage than the general class, Bishop said.Lina Domenella | THE The University set goals to increase ROTC admits in the past few years, having admitted 125 this year in comparison to 94 last year and 65 in 2018.“We’re really working hard with the ROTC units to find more qualified people that want to be of service to America right away in the military and we feel very good about that,” Bishop said.While the University saw a 4% decline in overall applications, applicants among the most qualified groups in terms of GPA and standardized test scores were up 9%. However, Bishop said over the past decade Notre Dame has grown to consider test scores less in the admissions process.“In my 43 years, I have never seen so many applications from students with very high test scores that did not provide the normal depth in their application, in class performance, as well as thoughtful and interesting submitted essays, personal statements –– even the activities,” Bishop said. “So I’m finding that there seem to be more people prepping for these tests, and that it’s getting more aligned with socioeconomic success.”To combat this disadvantage, Notre Dame looks to increase its presence in high-achieving, lower income, middle income and first-generation college students communities by becoming more involved in community-based organizations like Cristo Rey, KIPP and QuestBridge –– which provide traditionally disadvantaged groups with access to elite colleges.This year the University admitted 398 first-generation college students in comparison to 323 last year, along with 231 QuestBridge admits in comparison to 207 in 2019.“The best predictor of success, in my opinion, is to see how much a student did with the resources they had,” Bishop said.In creating the admitted class, the University purposefully looks for students who will make the most use of the Notre Dame experience in terms of scholarship and personal formation, which Bishop said aligns with the University’s commitment to the development of the mind, body and spirit.“Our staff does an amazing job of making sure the students we are bringing into Notre Dame are more than just a number,” director of undergraduate admissions Christy Pratt said.Pratt said the admissions committee looks for students with strong academic backgrounds in addition to those who match with the University’s mission of being a force for good.“What’s most important for our review is one, are the students academically prepared for the rigors of Notre Dame? And are they involved in their communities? Are they leaders in their communities? Are they good citizens?” Pratt said.The committee gains insight into students through their essays, comments from teachers and school counselors and their activities in order to evaluate the motivation that applicants have for success.“We hope that the students who picked Notre Dame again are seeking wisdom more than accomplishment,” Bishop said, “They’re seeking to have a quality life, and to part of that life is going to be giving to others. I always like to say we’re looking for students who want to give more than they take.”With the college admissions process coming to a close for the class of 2024, Bishop hopes the incoming first-year students can relax enough at Notre Dame to still be successful without feeling an intense amount of pressure.“We are hopeful that this class now that they’re in, they will come to Notre Dame and balance their lives and be a little less stressed out about accomplishment,” Bishop said. “It’s time to develop themselves more in not just what it looks like they’ve accomplished but what they really want to do what do they really want to accomplish.”Tags: Admissions, applications, Don Bishop, ND admissions, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, QuestBridge, ROTClast_img read more

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Outgoing SGA president, vice president reflect on term

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) president Terra Nelson and vice president Olivia Allen look back on their time as leaders with a bittersweet feeling. The seniors said they hopes to create a stronger community during their work with SGA, and though their tenure was cut short, the pair feel they were successful in their endeavor.Once Saint Mary’s moved to complete the semester online, SGA had to figure out different ways to tackle their tasks and goals which they were still hoping to complete.Nelson and others in SGA continued their hard work for the student body. Nelson said she and Allen continued to meet virtually multiple times a week.Ways to help students remained a top priority for Nelson and Allen, meaning that events were to proceed virtually. Allen expressed she was still disappointed to see events in the spring semester disappear.“I am especially sad to see Love Your Body Week and our Earth Day events not happen on campus, but hopefully that will make them even better next year,” Allen said in an email.While Nelson and Allen had to shift their focus to preparing the next student body leaders, they said they were still very proud of what they were able to accomplish with the time they had. Nelson said she felt successful in having students feel similarly to how she did regarding Saint Mary’s, as it is such an important place for her.With rising SGA leaders, Nelson hopes that her advice and work with underclassmen in SGA will allow them to accomplish their plans for their time as leaders.“My advice for the upcoming leaders would be to have one mission or overarching goal for the year and really press into that and use that as your motivation throughout the year,” Nelson said in an email.Allen also hopes the next SGA leaders will focus on pushing their ideas and goals forward because you never know when you will not be able to move forward with plans.“You never know when something drastic is going to occur,” Allen said. “So fight as hard as possible for what you believe is in the best interest of the community.”Nelson said that she was able to gain many different skills during her tenure as SGA president.“SGA has given me tons of confidence and taught me how to communicate, set boundaries, advocate for myself and others and most importantly, be a part of a team,” Nelson said.Allen said she struggled to find the words to describe the benefits being SGA vice president has provided.“The lessons I have learned and the people I met have helped mold me into who I am today. I have never been more proud to be a Belle and now alum,” Allen said.While it was a difficult finish to the semester without being physically present on campus, Nelson and Allen said they were able to reflect on how crucial Saint Mary’s was for them as they recounted the opportunities and experiences gained from their time there.“The hardest part of finishing the semester online was being away from the community at SMC,” Nelson said. “It made me realize how special it truly is.”Tags: 2020 commencement, olivia allen, Saint Mary’s SGA, SMC SGA, Terra Nelsonlast_img read more

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Several Dogs, Cats Find New Home As Part Of Special Adoption Event

first_imgImage by the Chautauqua County Humane Society / Facebook.JAMESTOWN – A total of six dogs and two cats were adopted Sunday as part of a special event at the Chautauqua County Humane Society.Image by the Chautauqua County Humane Society / Facebook.Shelter officials say they will be calling more applicants Monday to set up appointments to match them up with animals.Brian Papalia, the Community Relations Director for the Humane Society, says the shelter has reduced its adoption fee to $19.Image by the Chautauqua County Humane Society / Facebook.Papalia says the urgency to find the animals a home is a mix between a newly mandated staffing reduction by New York State and preparing for the long-term effects of the virus outbreak. In event of an emergency need, Papalia says the shelter needs to be prepared for incoming pets due to illness. The humane society is urging community members to visit their adoption page to check out the dogs and cats that are currently available. Once they find an animal of interest, community members are asked to fill out the application under the adoption tab.Image by the Chautauqua County Humane Society / Facebook.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)last_img read more

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COVID: Car Sales Plunge In March

first_imgShare: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) Pexels / Ken Lund / CC BY 2.0JAMESTOWN – The U.S. automobile industry is the latest to be impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.Car sales fell sharply in March. Fiat Chrysler announced a ten percent drop in its first-quarter sales,General Motors reported a seven percent drop, and Toyota fell nine percent.Other automakers are set to announce their march or first-quarter sales next week. But analysts say none are likely to report good numbers.They blame the setbacks on stay-at-home orders and economic struggles for potential buyers.last_img read more

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