SMC dedicates week to disabilities awareness

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Diversity Board (SDB) will be holding a Disabilities Awareness Week this week. Events will be held daily, including Disabilities Awareness Activities Table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium today. “The purpose of Disabilities Awareness Week is to make people aware that there are disabilities all around us, whether the disabilities are physical or learning disabilities,” senior Adrienne Quatman, Students With Disabilities chair, said. There is a showing of “I am Sam” Tuesday in Vander Vennet at 8 p.m. with refreshments provided, Quatman said. On Wednesday, Josh Diehl, professor of psychology at Notre Dame, will give a lecture on Autism in Vander Vannet at 7 p.m. An SDB Gives Back to the Dining Hall Staff night is Thursday. A Disabilities Awareness table will be set up Friday in the Student Center atrium, Quatman said. According to Qautman, bracelets will be sold in the Student Center atrium all week for $1. Proceeds will go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The week is one of SDB’s annual events and it grows from year to year. “This is one of our annual events that we have had since the board was created,” Quatman said. “We have expanded on it, and each year it is different depending on who the board’s chair is. This year we have chosen to focus on a variety of disabilities.” According to Quatman, the goal of the week is to bring understanding to the variety of disabilities that exist. “We would like to make everyone aware of what it is like to have a disability and promote the understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face,” she said. More than raising awareness, she said they also hope to bring a respect for those who have a disability. “We hope to encourage sensitivity about what it’s truly like to be a person with disabilities in a society that does not fully embrace their capabilities,” Quatman said. “We also really wanted to publicize the Disabilities Center provided at Saint Mary’s.” Quatman said this follows SDB’s goal of showing the value of all diversity on campus. “SDB recognizes that every person is diverse and contributes to making our community a better place,” she said. “Disabilities Awareness Week relates to our mission in that the events we promote emphasize equality and recognize the value of all peoples.” All events are open to everyone on campus. “Everyone is encouraged to come to all of our events,” she said. “We also hope that people are aware of the Disabilities Center on Saint Mary’s campus. There will be more information about it at our Disabilities Awareness table in the Atrium all next week.”last_img read more

Students work together with SBPD

first_imgEach year, about 400 men and 100 women participate in the Notre Dame club boxing teams. During their off-seasons, volunteers from both teams have joined forces with the South Bend Police Department (SBPD) to teach the sport to local children in a biweekly after school program. Senior Rose Raderstorf currently serves as the program’s president, organizing Notre Dame involvement and working to improve the program further. The students’ work is part of a larger SBPD initiative to get involved with the community youth, organizing camps that give kids opportunities to learn new sports and participate in structured after-school activities, Raderstorf said. Notre Dame students began to volunteer with the SBPD boxing club three years ago, and the program is now known as “Box Like a Champion Today.” “The program developed when the first volunteers saw a need [at the gym] to have better role models and more coaching than what was being provided at the time,” Raderstorf said. “The first volunteers were from the men’s team, and those guys decided to turn it into a program for both club teams to get involved with.” The gym, attached to the Grace Community Baptist Church on Harrison Avenue in South Bend, is open Monday and Wednesday. Raderstorf said the program serves both grade school and high school youth, offering cardio workouts and fundamental boxing training. “The gym itself is split into two segments, with the younger kids first and the older group next,” Raderstorf said. “There’s a ring set up in there, and we have mitts and punching bags to practice with too.” Most of the younger kids are just looking for a fun workout, but some of the older participants are trained boxers looking for access to equipment, Raderstorf said. “With the grade school kids, we run laps and do a workout, and afterwards we usually do some form of boxing training, but we try to switch it up to keep them interested,” Raderstorf said. “The older group has 7th and 8th grade boys and some young adults who fight in real competitions in South Bend or Chicago, so this is an actual gym for them to train in. They get a much more intense workout.” The police officers that run the gym know the sport and an outside coach comes in to work with the youth too, Raderstorf said. Senior Ragan Todd, one of the women’s boxing team captains for this year, said she enjoys volunteering in the program and continuing with the sport even after Baraka Bouts ends in November. “It seems like [boxing] is something that there’s an interest in around here, with little kids who just think it’s kind of cool and then older guys there who have won Golden Gloves or other titles,” Todd said. “We have [Mixed Martial Arts] fighters who are focusing on the boxing aspect of their fighting as well as younger kids who look like they don’t do any other form of exercise beyond this.” Both Raderstorf and Todd said one of the program’s major goals is to keep kids busy and involved in the community. “We’re looking to give them an opportunity outside of school for a structured program to keep them safe and give them good options to pass the time,” Raderstorf said. “Another goal is to develop good relationships with the South Bend police and their peers, and it’s definitely a good way to keep kids out of trouble,” Todd said. Raderstorf said many of the children are from lower-income families so this is a unique opportunity for them to try a sport like boxing, which requires a lot of equipment and instruction. “For a lot of them, it’s hard to find something to do after school, and the older kids will acknowledge that there are plenty of other things they could be getting in trouble with if they didn’t have this to do,” Raderstorf said. “The one-on-one mentoring and coaching is really important to them too. The volunteers and police officers are collaborating on plans to add a tutoring aspect to the program, where participants will be encouraged to bring homework to the gym to do after the boxing workout. Raderstorf said this is a major goal for the upcoming semester now that the volunteer base is more regular. “Some people think it’s strange to teach fighting to kids like this, but it’s taught in a very respectful manner so they know how to use the skills properly,” Raderstorf said. “It’s a sport that demands great respect for your opponent, and that translates into other areas of life as well.”last_img read more

General Dempsey to speak at 2016 Commencement

first_imgGeneral Martin Dempsey will speak at the University’s 171st Commencement Ceremony this May, the University announced Wednesday morning.As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dempsey served as the nation’s highest-ranking military officer.Dempsey, who retired Wednesday after four years at the position, spoke on campus last September on the threats facing the U.S. for the annual Jack Kelly and Gail Weiss Lecture on National Security. During that same visit, he presented the American flag during the ceremonies before the football game against Michigan, according to the press release.According to the press release, he graduated in 1974 from the U.S. Military Academy and later earned a master’s degree in English from Duke University before serving as an assistant professor of English at West Point for three years. He also holds master’s degrees in military art and national security sciences.Throughout his career, Dempsey has served all over the world, and received awards including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge, according to the press release.According to the same press release, Notre Dame’s Commencement Ceremony will be held in Notre Dame Stadium on May 15, 2016 at 9 a.m.Tags: Commencement 2016, Commencement Speaker, General Martin Dempseylast_img read more

Diversity director encourages inclusion

first_imgEric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion, presented to leaders and volunteers from nonprofit organizations Tuesday as part of the University’s Nonprofit Breakfast Series. The series, presented by the University’s Office of Public Affairs and the Mendoza College of Business, is designed to help nonprofit organizations learn from human resource experts to better manage employees. Love’s presentation was the third in the four-part series and focused on the benefits of diversity and how to better serve all constituents. “Inclusion is what we do with diversity,” he said. “If we really value diversity, if we really think it’s important, that inclusion is so important. We can only get the benefits of diversity if we give each other a voice and allow them to speak and share their perspective. “So together, diversity and inclusion are policies and practices of inclusion that promote understanding of cultural differences and encourage cooperation across the boundaries of diverse co-workers.” The benefits of diversity, according to Love, include enhanced critical and complex thinking, greater academic and work success and “greater engagement in the lifelong learning of understanding people and cultures in order to develop a more democratic community and equitable society.”“When we start working with people who are different from us, we start to care about them, we care about their communities,” he said. “We start to care about other communities outside of our own.”The first step to becoming more inclusive, Love said, is to focus on yourself. “I strongly believe awareness is the first step — the more comfortable we are with ourselves, the more comfortable we are with other people,” he said. “If you know who you are, it doesn’t really matter who someone else is, because you’re secure with yourself. You’re comfortable with whoever else someone might be.” When addressing organizations, Love said leaders should aspire to be “multiculturally competent.” “An organization is multiculturally competent when its members, majority and minority, have knowledge of, respect for and the skills necessary to interact with people from other cultures, within an international and domestic context,” he said. When striving for multicultural competency, Love said microaggressions, which he defined as “brief and commonplace” indignities that communicate “hostile or negative slights or insults,” are a crucial part of communication to be aware of. “They are reminders that recipients are not in the majority,” he said. “They can happen to women, to people of color, to people with disabilities and they add up to a pattern of exclusion. One microaggression is like a paper cut — it might sting a little bit, but ultimately it’s not that big of a deal. But multiple microaggressions every day, every week, over time can really start to add up.”While it is important to be inclusive, the fear of “saying something wrong” shouldn’t prevent important conversations from happening or questions from being asked, Love said. “Political correctness had noble intentions and it started to get us communicating in a more civil way,” he said. “But terminology changes and it can be hard to keep up. We all make mistakes; I’m the diversity guy and I make mistakes.”Tags: Diversity, eric love, mendoza college of business, Nonprofit Breakfast Serieslast_img read more

Notre Dame names Stephen Schafer first salutatorian in 45 years

first_imgSenior Stephen Schafer, the University’s first salutatorian in 45 years, said he never had a preconceived notion of what he was going to do during the four years leading up to graduation.“I would say if anything defines my time at Notre Dame, it would be embracing uncertainty and diving into unknown places,” he said.Hugh Page, vice president and associate provost, dean of the First Year of Studies and chair of the valedictorian selection committee, said naming a salutatorian allows the University to “recognize in a more formal way two outstanding seniors” who will “represent the virtues and ideals animating a Notre Dame undergraduate education.”Schafer, a native of Edgewood, Kentucky, has a 4.00 cumulative grade point average and will graduate with degrees in finance and economics, according to a University press release. Schafer was also a Malpass Scholar, a merit-based award that provides students with the opportunity to learn and be involved with the process of managing the University’s endowment, the press release said.Schafer was a project leader for the Student International Business Council (SIBC) and Investment Club and a senior mentor for the Wall Street Club, the press release said. He spent the summer of 2013 studying abroad in China and participated in the two-week Ireland Inside Track program in the summer of 2014.After graduation, Schafer has plans to travel to Asia and Europe, he said. He will then go to work in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he interned during his undergraduate career.Before college, Schafer said he knew he wanted to go into finance, but he did not know what type of job he wanted to do.“I think that I came in and was open to a wide variety of experiences and took part in a lot of different events, a lot of different clubs,” he said. “Through that, I was able to experience basically everything in finance from wealth management to sales and trading, to investment banking and private equity.”Schafer said he learned early on how to manage his time efficiently and effectively.“I hit my athletic prime back in seventh grade — and since then, I started focusing on academics,” he said with a laugh. “If I wanted to just get away, I do that by studying.”A defining part of his time at Notre Dame, Schafer said, was his friendships with Notre Dame football players Sheldon Day and Ronnie Stanley.“We all met freshman year and ended up becoming roommates,” Schafer said. “… Last week, both of them got drafted into the NFL, and I was named salutatorian. … It’s a uniquely Notre Dame story.”Schafer said he strove to divide his time equally between his academics and his social life.“A lot of it just comes down to time management, which I think I did very successfully throughout college,” he said. “It may have been at the sacrifice of some sleep, but I would say I have a pretty balanced life in terms of going out and going to sporting events and what not.“ … Throughout my time here, it was more like I was jumping into everything — and wherever it takes me, it takes me,” he said. “It’s something I’m very happy I did and something I want to continue to do.”Tags: Commencement 2016, salutatorian, Stephen Schaferlast_img read more

Notre Dame students research Bookstore products

first_imgLast semester, a team of Notre Dame students — sophomore Do Dam Hoang, juniors Maggie Feighery and Joseph Laski and seniors John Nolan and Michelle Kim — chose several items from the bookstore and researched their supply chains, hoping to gain insight into any human trafficking or civil rights violations involved in the production process. The team undertook this consulting project as part of a human trafficking seminar directed by associate director for the Center of Civil and Human Rights, Christine Cervenak.The students conducted research using their client — the Notre Dame Licensing Department — to learn more information about bookstore vendors. The team identified merchandise including a Camelbak water bottle, a Hanes brand sweatshirt, a 47 brand cap, and Balfour class rings.“Using data that’s available on the internet and data that they could get through the Licensing Department and Thomson-Reuters, they were able to investigate predictive risk analysis around companies and countries where items are produced,” Cervenak said. “Their task was to dive into the supply chains of these four products and assess the risk of there being forced labor in the supply chain.”Junior Maggie Feighery said she acted as a source of communication for the team, as she was a social compliance intern with the Licensing Department at the time of the project.“We generated some risk maps for these company supply chains, and all of them showed low risk for trafficking, which is great,” Feighery said. “Notre Dame is a leader among universities in terms of labor standards and being careful about what companies we license.”Cervenak said in investigating these products, the team did find room for improvement in regards to Camelbak water bottles, whose supply chain revealed it doesn’t exhibit best practices in comparison to some of its competitors.“It was an interesting suggestion that Notre Dame might say, “Let’s look at better alternatives” or “Let’s offer better alternatives to consumers,”’’ Cervenak said. “This all comes from an interest in having consumers be more aware of how dirty and clean the supply chain can be.”One of the most important conclusions of the team’s project was that studying supply chains is difficult because there are so few companies that exhibit complete transparency, Feighery said.“The main takeaway was that it is really, really difficult to trace a supply chain beyond the factory level,” Feighery said. “There are very few companies that actually keep track of where their materials are sourced from and even when they get parts of the products like buttons or zippers.”Companies’ lack of transparency was a significant point Cervenak said she wanted her to students to understand.“It was important not only for the students to learn how complicated it is, and what best practices and companies look like, and how rare that is today [but also to understand] the role of consumers and sharing this with the campus community, which they did when they presented their findings at the Higgins Labor Cafe last semester,” she said. Tags: Higgins Labor Cafe, Licensing Department, Thomson-Reuterslast_img read more

Identity Project of Notre Dame prepares for annual Edith Stein Conference

first_imgUnder the theme “Even Unto Death: Embracing the Love of the Cross,” the Identity Project of Notre Dame is hosting its 13th annual Edith Stein Conference, the largest student-run conference on campus. The event will start Friday at 1 p.m. and end Saturday with a banquet starting at 6:15 p.m. in McKenna Hall.Co-chair and senior Molly Weiner said the conference embraces a unique mix of academic and personal topics. The speakers range from professors at Notre Dame to students from other colleges across the country.“It’s a mix between a lecture from a professor, and then the next talk will be a self-help — this was my experience, this is how to change this part of your life,” she said.The event will feature two keynote lectures and various other talks on a range of topics relating to identity and relationships, Weiner said.“The conference in general was made for an opportunity for people on campus to come together and talk about topics related to relationships and friendship and personal identity and dignity that kind of isn’t really covered on campus because we’re more focused on our academics, and if we are in our friend group, sometimes we’re scared to talk about certain topics,” she said.Weiner said the conference tries to focus on the needs of students.“We do talk about things like dating, discernment, what you want to do with your life, sometimes how student life can be difficult,” she said.Junior Theresa Gallagher, who is in charge of fundraising, said the conference is relevant to students in the sense that it discusses issues that are directly applicable to their lives.“It just changes the way you think about relationships when all of the sudden you hear a talk about the cross as a gift of love,” she said. “It provides a space to hear those reflections, to think about them, to talk about them with other people, and it transforms the way you look at your everyday life. I’m not thinking about these things every single minute of every single day, but to have this place where it can provide that lens to see your whole life, your whole experience, in a different way.”For club president and junior Emily Hirshorn, the best parts of the conference are outside the formal sessions.“My favorite times are in between all the talks when there’s food out and students come together and really get to foster meaningful conversations about the speakers we just heard,” she said.While registration for the conference is open, Weiner said students can choose to attend the talks they want without registering in advance. She said the club itself is a continuation of the conversation at the conference, and Hirshorn said the club provides a lot of flexibility to discuss different topics.“It’s all about fostering conversations that matter,” Hirshorn said.Weiner said she began her role in April of last year and brainstormed topics over the summer. She began to book speakers and logistics in September.“It is a very difficult task to do something like this, but it’s worth every minute of it,” she said.Hirshorn said the conference is particularly important in that it encourages students to learn how to approach certain problems in life.“If we really take the time to learn how to approach difficult subjects, especially in light of the Catholic faith that a lot of us share, that can have a really transformative power,” she said. “… Suffering, in particular, is a topic I think we all struggle with in different forms, especially when it seems undeserved.”Tags: Edith Stein Conference, identity, Identity Project of Notre Dame, relationshipslast_img read more

Morrissey residents relocate to Pangborn Hall for renovations

first_imgThe men of Morrissey Manor have found a temporary home in Pangborn Hall while the Manor is being fully renovated for the first time in two decades. This overhaul of the South Quad dorm, constructed in 1925, follows renovations of Walsh Hall and Badin Hall in the previous two years. Residents of Walsh and Badin were also temporarily located to Pangborn during their renovations.Morrissey Manor’s Little Flower Chapel was renovated in 2015, but the building has not seen extensive improvements since 1998.“Morrissey will receive an elevator and fitness room for the first time in its history,” Morrissey Rector Zack Imfeld said in an email. “Every part of the building — except the Chapel — will be improved, balancing Morrissey’s classic 1925 feel with modern construction.”Residents of Morrissey, a hall long infamous for its small rooms, are looking forward to the new changes, Smith said.“Bigger rooms is the one thing that stands out, especially for a Morrissey guy,” sophomore Ryan Smith said. “It was pretty tight last year being in a double with such limited space. I’m looking forward to next year and having bigger rooms.”For the Manorites, the move across South Quad is a change of scenery but not of culture, as signified by their Little Flower Chapel, Smith said.“Seeing the chapel untouched while everything else is under construction was symbolic of how that culture and that vibe — no matter what you do to the physical appearance of Morrissey — you won’t touch that culture and that’s something that’s going to carry with us through Pangborn and to when we return to the Manor next year,” Smith said.Imfeld said the dorm has been preparing for the move since it was first announced during the 2015-16 academic year.“I don’t think the move will impact us drastically — we’ve been planning as a hall community for a few years, so all of our traditions and processes were created and enhanced to make our transition as smooth as possible,” Imfeld said. “The beauty of our move is that while the building may be different, the community is the same and that’s the beauty of the residential system here at Notre Dame.”Senior Brady McLaughlin, Morrissey’s hall president, said the Manor does not plan to commemorate their temporary relocation in any way.“Our plan this year is to keep on doing what we want to be known for, keep on doing what we have been known for,” McLaughlin said. “Honestly, as a senior, I would be kind of pissed off if we were trying to do something different this year. I stayed in Morrissey because I love Morrissey.”Smith said ensuring that first years who have only ever lived in Pangborn carry on the Morrissey legacy when they return to the Manor is a top priority for upperclassman.“We want [first years] to carry on the same traditions, and even though we’re being renovated that doesn’t mean that we’re wiping away the old Morrissey,” Smith said. “It still lives on pretty strong in our hearts and that’s something that we want to carry into the new building next year.”Smith said the changes may temporarily move Morrissey out of the home they love, but residents are optimistic about the new challenge and look forward to their return to the Manor next year.“It’s exciting because I think we do have a good community, and I don’t just say that as a Morrissey guy. I really do think it’s a great group of guys with great leadership at the top,” he said. “I think if we can carry that into a brand new building with brand new facilities, it’s going to be really great not just for us but for the rest of campus because we do some really cool stuff throughout the year.”Tags: Construction on Campus, Morrissey Manor, Pangborn Hall, renovationslast_img read more

SMC students return from study abroad

first_imgFrom the streets of Seville, Spain; Rome, Italy; and Ifrane, Morocco, a wave of Belles have returned home to Saint Mary’s this week. Despite the snow and ice, many Belles say they are happy to be back.Sophomore Cassidy Miller said she always knew she wanted to study abroad, but it was not until she heard from a Belle who had spent a semester in Italy that she knew she wanted to go to Rome.She said the hardest part about coming back to campus was the overcast and frigid temperatures.Besides the language barrier, Miller said the hardest part about studying abroad in Rome was doing her homework.“It’s a lot busier, because there’s a lot of people in the city — not that they’re always in a rush or anything, but there’s always things to do, a lot of shops and restaurants,” she said. “It was a different experience for me to try and finish schoolwork while still trying to experience and see everything in the city. When you’re here [at Saint Mary’s], you do your schoolwork and then go back to your room. There, I was sitting in my room until I realized that I should be out exploring things.”The best part about studying in Rome was her proximity to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, Miller said, and that there was always something to do in Rome. However, coming back to campus has been difficult because she has to find more ways to keep herself occupied, she said.“Living in Rome, there’s something new to do everyday,” Miller said. “Here, I’ve been trying to find some things to do in order to keep myself busy so I don’t have so much downtime that I start to miss it.”Junior Sophia McDevitt, who studied in Ireland last semester, said sharing her study abroad experience with her friends was difficult at first.“The most obvious challenge to me was that all my friends had met all these new people and so many relationships had subtly shifted and I had missed it,” she said. “I suddenly showed back up and had to figure out everything that had and hadn’t happened, while also digesting what I had just experienced.”McDevitt said opening up to fellow Belles who did not or will not study abroad was also challenging.“I knew a lot of my friends had wanted to study abroad, but because of their scholarships or their majors they couldn’t,” she said. “So, I wanted to make sure it didn’t sound like I was bragging when I talked about the Spanish friends I made at dinner in Alicante or how beautiful the Swiss Alps were or how I loved sitting around and talking with my European friends from all different countries. Instead of talking, I found myself holding it all in.”But McDevitt said once she started sharing her experiences abroad, she found students were interested and encouraged her to open up more.“Once I started sharing, I was reminded that those who care about me cared about hearing what was on my mind,” she said. “Now, I find myself sharing random tidbits more often as things pop back into my head.”Although the weather may be dismal, the friendships may have shifted and the days may be monotonous, Miller said the best thing about being back on campus is reuniting with her fellow Belles.“Coming back can be a little bit scary because you do get so accustomed to the culture over there, but as long as you keep yourself busy and have supportive friends, that makes the transition back to campus a lot easier,” she said. “There’s comfort in the sisterhood here.”Tags: Saint Mary’s study abroad, SMC study abroad, winter breaklast_img read more

Harper Institute allows professors, students to conduct cancer research, promote awareness

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Jess Hatfield The Harper Cancer Research Institute facilitates collaboration between students and faculty. The Harper Society is an organization affiliated with the institute that aims to engage students and promote cancer awareness.Siyuan Zhang, an associate professor for cancer research, began his lab in 2012, making him one of the first researchers at the institute. Zhang said his lab centers around the study of breast cancer, particularly its response to drug treatments and its spread to other organs of the body. “The problem with cancer in general is when some tumors metastasize, which means to disseminate to different parts of the body, … they become a new tumor in a different organ and then at that point the surgeon cannot remove them and it’s very difficult to treat,” Zhang said. The close proximity of the HCRI allows students to explore and gain experience in cancer research. This semester, Zhang has enlisted two postdoctoral students, five graduate students and a handful of undergraduates to assist him in his research.Zhang also teaches a course in the department of biological sciences at Notre Dame, allowing him to work with undergraduates both in the lab and in the classroom. Zhang describes his current position in academia as his dream job.“Through teaching the classes and interacting with the students, both graduate [and] undergraduate, you can literally see that what you do every day is really making a mark on their career trajectory and interests,” Zhang said. In an effort to connect more students with the HCRI, the Harper Society was founded. The society is a student-led club that seeks to promote cancer awareness and bridge the gap between professors in the field of cancer research and Notre Dame students. Junior Alex Thomas, president of the Harper Society, spoke to the club’s professional relationship with HCRI researchers. “This isn’t a direct goal of our club, but a lot of students are able to do research at Harper through the Harper Society,” Thomas said. “It’s not something that we directly advertise, but it’s a great way for students to get connected with the institute, and being in the society, they’re able to meet with different researchers at the institute and then be research assistants or apprentices for semesters.”Thomas hopes the society can continue to help students interested in research feel less anxiety when searching for opportunities.“Research is one thing students are always super intimidated to start, so we try to make that process a little bit easier and give people the courage to send an email to a principal investigator that they’ve never heard of because you never know what’s gonna happen,” Thomas said. Although a large aspect of the society is getting involved in cancer research, Thomas explained that the club is open to all regardless of academic interests. He said he would encourage any student looking for a community to join. “Most people know someone [who] is affected by cancer. So, along with raising awareness about the institute and the research component of it, … we also want to be a club where people are able to come together and unite in the fight against cancer,” Thomas said. Senior Jess Hatfield, vice president of the Harper Society, was inspired to join the club after he witnessed his godmother struggle with breast cancer. “I feel like everyone has their own story where cancer has been there,” Hatfield said. To promote cancer awareness, the Harper Society holds numerous events around campus. Hatfield said his favorite event the society has hosted so far was a research roundtable where cancer researchers shared their work with students. “We brought in five professors that had research labs, either in Harper or on campus, and we invited the society members to come and just talk with these professors and ask about their research,” Hatfield said. “We had about 40 students come and be engaged, which was really cool to see.”In addition to speakers from the cancer research field, the society hosted a talk with Paqui Kelly — a breast cancer survivor and wife of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. Thomas explained how Kelly’s story and influence aligns with the society’s overarching goals. “She shared a couple of stories with us about when she was a patient, and then also how she’s used that as motivation to help promote the Kelly Cares Foundation, … highlighting the positive aspect of how she’s been able to do a lot of cancer awareness,” Thomas said. This semester the club is tentatively planning to sponsor a variety of events including blood drives, a charity run, spiritual events, another research roundtable and an activity for students to participate in for cancer awareness day, Hatfield said. Thomas said he realized the importance of the club’s support system during a reflective event at the Grotto. “Last semester we had a ‘Light the Night’ spiritual event at the Grotto where everyone offered candles. Then, we let members offer up intentions, and it was really amazing to see,” Thomas said. “[We had] about six to 10 students speak up about family members and friends who had been affected by some sort of cancer, and they were able to offer up their intentions and they felt comfortable with doing that which was awesome.”Tags: Cancer research, harper cancer research, harper society At the corner of Angela Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue lies a building unknown to many Notre Dame students: the Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI). Established in 2011 as a division of Notre Dame Research, the institute serves as a hub of collaboration between cancer researchers, professors and students. last_img read more