Fall break pilgrimages deepen faith

first_imgWhile many Notre Dame students headed home for fall break, a few spent last week as pilgrims, visiting holy sites in Canada and Poland as part of pilgrimages organized by the Office of Campus Ministry.   Andrew Polaniecki, director of Campus Ministry at Holy Cross College, and Fr. Stephen Lacroix led 27 Notre Dame students and six Holy Cross students on a pilgrimage to the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal, Quebec, where the tomb of Saint Andre Bessette, the first saint from the Congregation of Holy Cross, is located. “I think students get a close and personal encounter with a special man, Saint Andre Bessette,” Polaniecki said. “No one who goes on this trip leaves without somehow being personally touched by this poor, humble, obedient servant of God.” The pilgrims also visited the Newman Center Community at the University of Toronto, the burial place of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, and other historic churches in Montreal and Niagara Falls.  Senior Jeremy Vercillo said he was surprised by the culture of French Canada.  “[Montreal] was very unlike any American city I had been to,” he said. “Even though its population is bilingual, all of the street signs, advertisements, menus and passing conversations were in French. People did not address you in English unless they knew you were visitors.” Freshman Jim Corcoran said he enjoyed the opportunity to grow spiritually and meet other students during the pilgrimage.   “Between the beautiful churches and the wonderful people who also went on this pilgrimage, this journey is going to be one that I remember for a long time, and one that will continue to bear fruit weeks, months, and even years after,” Corcoran said. “I was the only person from Old College who went this year, and I felt that as a result, I really had to branch out and meet new people. What a blessing.” John Paul Lichon, assistant director for retreats, pilgrimages and spirituality at the Office of Campus Ministry, led 23 Notre Dame students and one Saint Mary’s College student on a weeklong pilgrimage through Poland, the home country of Pope John Paul II.  “Because I share a name with our beloved Blessed John Paul II, I have always had a special connection with him, and I wanted to introduce students to his life and witness in faith,” Lichon said.   The journey took students to several sites of importance to the life of John Paul II, including his birthplace of Wadowice, Wawel Cathedral and pilgrimage sites that John Paul II visited during his life, including Kalwaria Zebryzdowska, Our Lady of Czestochowa and the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy.  Senior Tony Oleck said he was surprised by both Polish culture and the importance of the Catholic Church in Poland.  “I was actually somewhat surprised at how rich the culture and history of Poland is. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when we landed I was quickly confronted with a very rich culture,” Oleck said. “I was also surprised at the vibrance of the Catholic Church in Poland. I guess I expected people there to be excited about John Paul II’s canonization this spring and everything, but this was something else.”  Senior Marissa Bulso decided to go on the pilgrimage to grow closer to John Paul II and said her experience is “still beyond words.”  “I can tell you that it involved a great deal of prayer, a good deal of walking, and no small amount of group bonding,” Bulso said. “As I drew deeper into my own spiritual life, I also grew outward, learning from those around me and embracing my fellow pilgrims.”last_img read more

ND Right to Life hosts inaugural 5k

first_imgNotre Dame Right to Life will hold the inaugural Run for Their Lives 5K Saturday morning, and all proceeds from the race will benefit the Women’s Care Center of South Bend.Junior Christiann Tavitas, co-commissioner of the Joys of Life Team, or JOLT, division of the Right to Life group, came up with the idea for the 5K alongside her co-commissioner senior Sarah Karchunas.“We were going to do one last year, but it just didn’t work out with the timing,” Tavitas said. “We kind of do the same events every year, so we thought that a 5K would be cool. JOLT is meant to promote the pro-life movement through celebrating life and promoting a culture of life, so we do this through campus-wide events to get the whole community involved.”“What’s really cool about this event is that we’ve reached out to the further community and have heard from multiple people who work at the Women’s Care Center that a big group of them are coming, along with other faculty and members of the community and their children,” Karchunas said. “So I’m really excited that this is spreading further than just the student body.”The race will kick off at 9 a.m. at the South Quad flag pole, with registration beginning a half hour earlier. Registration fees are $15 and include a t-shirt as well as a coffee and bagel breakfast at the finish line. Students can also register online at Student Shop ND, which is linked on the ND Right to Life homepage.“All runners, walkers and supporters are welcome,” a Right to Life group email said. Friends, family and members of the outside community are encouraged to come and show support for both the 5K and the pro-life cause, the email stated.“I volunteered at the Women’s Care Center my freshman year,” Tavitas said. “They’re a really moving and powerful organization for women in crisis pregnancies, and they really need our support, so we’re donating all of the funds to them.”The Women’s Care Center, according to the Right to Life website, has four locations in South Bend and Mishawaka, in which “free and confidential counseling, support and education” is offered to women who find themselves in unplanned or crisis pregnancies. Members of the Right to Life group volunteer at the Center every year, helping stock and organize supplies, among other tasks. It has become a community partner of Notre Dame, a relationship that Karchunas and Tavitas said they hope will grow stronger through the race.“I think this could be a good way for the student body to make a connection to the Women’s Care Center,” Karchunas said, “We’re going to have a couple of people who work there say a few words at the start of the race.”By welcoming all members of the Notre Dame and South Bend community, in addition to students, Karchunas and Tavitas said they hope to make the Run for Their Lives 5K not only an annual event in the future, but a thriving one that promotes community-wide communication about pregnancy resources and a pro-life attitude.“A lot of people have this bad image of pro-lifers as anti-abortion, but we’re not just a political club,” Tavitas said. “We’ve said from the start that we’re trying to build this event and hopefully make this an annual event in the future.”“Looking at the reason why we’re doing all of these things and why we’re making all of these efforts, there’s a positivity, this joy for life, and that’s what we want to spread,” Karchunas said.Tags: 5K, Right to Life, Run for Their Lives, Women’s Care Centerlast_img read more

Students campaign in South Bend mayoral election

first_imgIn the midst of ongoing speculation about the 2016 presidential race, the city of South Bend reelected Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg to serve a second term as mayor Tuesday.Some Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students – who for the most part could not vote in the South Bend elections as residents of other cities  – nevertheless found a way to participate in the election process.More than 20 interns from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s volunteered for Buttigieg’s campaign, performing a variety of functions including calling voters to find out their concerns and to encourage them to vote, going door-to-door to speak with constituents and sending out absentee ballots to voters, Notre Dame sophomore Andrew Pott said.Matthew McKenna | The Observer Pott, who was the intern coordinator for Buttigieg’s campaign, said many students initially became involved in the campaign through the College Democrats and from there took on varying degrees of responsibility.“There were a few people who were really involved and who were there every day or every other day, but then there were other people that were there once or twice,” Pott said.He said overall, Buttigieg received more than 80 percent of the vote.“We wouldn’t have gotten that if it wasn’t for all these students showing up,” he said.Notre Dame junior Casey Baker, one of the college interns for Buttigieg’s campaign, said she chose to work on the campaign because she agrees with Buttigieg’s platform and his approach to governing.“Even though we’re not going to have a say directly in the polls, everyone’s out there because they really support Pete’s message and think that he is the best option for South Bend,” Baker said. “It’s really cool to be able to indirectly have a voice. … You get to make a difference without even casting a vote.”Because this was a smaller election, Baker said, student interns were able to interact directly with Buttigieg and his campaign manager throughout the campaign.Alex Rosselli, Buttigieg’s campaign manager, said the dedication and commitment of student volunteers was a central component to the campaign as a whole.“[Students] have been coming in multiple days a week, we’ve got students in every day, and they’ve just been unbelievable,” Rosselli said. “They’ve really been the core of our campaign.“They’ve brought a ton of energy into our operation.”Rosselli said he hopes the students who helped with Buttigieg’s campaign will continue to participate in politics on a local, as well as regional and national level. He said student engagement in politics is important because current students are the same people who will be assuming leadership roles in future campaigns and elections.“When young people make their voices heard, when they show up, they can have a tremendous impact on our political system and our civic environment because [they] have a lot to say,” Rosselli said. “[They’re] going to be around a long time.”Sophomore Sarah Tomas Morgan, a South Bend native, was one of the few Notre Dame students who was able to vote in the election. She said this was her third election voting and that she valued the opportunity to be able to cast a vote in person.“I felt like I could make an informed decision [in the election] and cast my ballot in a way that I felt comfortable with,” Tomas Morgan said. “I do feel like it’s my responsibility to choose the people who will be leading my city because inevitably someone will get elected, and I would like to have a say in that.”Tomas Morgan, who is also a co-chair of ND Votes ’16, said ND Votes hosted a few events earlier in the year that offered students from South Bend the opportunity to register to vote in Tuesday’s election.Buttigieg’s opponent, the Republican candidate Kelly Jones, said like Buttigieg she recognized the political value of engaging students and a younger demographic. Jones said she made an effort to connect with the younger voting population by means of Facebook, as well as through her daughter, who encouraged her friends and acquaintances to vote in the election.“I honestly believe we did everything we could to run a fair and clean race,” Jones said in an email.No students worked for Jones’ campaign, although Jones said she reached out to the College Republicans several times and received no response. She said she found their lack of response “disheartening.”Secretary for the College Republicans Rachel O’Grady said she was not aware of any attempts to contact the College Republicans on the part of Jones (Editor’s Note: Rachel O’Grady is a news writer for The Observer).Tags: Election Day, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Mayoral Campaign, South Bend Mayorlast_img read more

Indiana Senate passes House Bill 1022

first_imgThe Indiana Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to change state law surrounding the extent to which private university police departments are required to make their records available to the public.Lucy Du House Bill 1022 was approved in the Senate by a 49-to-1 vote, according to the Indiana General Assembly’s website. The bill will return to the House, where it was approved unanimously on Jan. 26, for further consideration of an amendment proposed by Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) and passed by the Senate.Police departments at private universities in Indiana are currently not required to disclose the same range of records as public police departments. In its original state, the bill would require private university police departments to release records relating to arrests and incarcerations to the public.The amendment changed the bill to give individuals employed by educational institutions as police officers the same statutory immunities granted to a state police officer. It also redefined the situations in which a private university’s police department must make its records available to the public.Glick said the amendment will likely address criticism that the bill does not require private university police departments to disclose enough information, according to the South Bend Tribune.State Rep. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), co-author of the bill, said in a previous interview with The Observer the purpose of the bill is to require university police departments to be more transparent with their public records. If passed, the bill would apply to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), the University’s private police force.In January 2015, ESPN filed a lawsuit against the University after NDSP refused to grant an ESPN reporter access to campus police records related to student-athletes. The case, ruled in Notre Dame’s favor by the St. Joseph Superior Court, was appealed by ESPN. Attorneys from both parties presented their oral arguments in the Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday and expect a ruling to be issued soon.Bauer, a Notre Dame alumnus, said the bill is not a direct result of the ESPN lawsuit. Rather, he said the bill stems from concerns raised by Indiana citizens, including many Notre Dame graduates.Tags: ESPN lawsuit, House Bill 1022, NDSPlast_img read more

Students in PhotoFutures program display photo on gun culture in Snite

first_imgTasked with contributing a photograph about gun violence in America to the Snite Museum of Art, four students in the PhotoFutures program unveiled their choices at the museum Wednesday evening.The students selected a photograph from photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz’s “We All We Got” project. The image focuses on a pool of blood while a little boy’s blurred face stares into the camera.Senior Christine Anspach said the decision was difficult, since the group needed to hone in on the message they wanted to deliver.“It ultimately came down to, ‘What do we want to say about gun culture?’” Anspach said. “We can’t say everything. We wanted to pick a photograph that would raise questions for students in the future. So we thought, how, as millennials, are we perceiving gun culture in this country, and what’s important to us?”Senior Isabel Cabezas said Ortiz’s photograph was eventually picked because it gave the best “look at the humanity and the results and repercussions of gun culture in America.”“You see the humanity, because there is a little boy, whose face is blurred out, but you can’t ignore him,” Cabezas said. “As humans, we are drawn to our own likeness.”The photograph was also chosen, Cabezas said, because it served as a call to action.“You’re being called to focus on this gruesome scene, but the innocence of this little boy, he’s almost looking up to you and wondering ‘What are you going to do about this? Will this be my future? What will happen next?’” Cabezas said.Cabezas said the striking nature of Ortiz’s photograph was another reason for its selection.“Your eye goes directly to the really dark spot on the cement, which is a bloodstain,” she said. “There was a 15-year-old boy who was shot and burned after being beaten to death, essentially. The body is not in this image; all we see is the violent bloodstain.”As a part of the PhotoFutures program, Ortiz was actually brought to campus and the students had a chance to speak with him. Anspach said they learned about Ortiz’s artistic process.“For his photographs, he went to these communities and actually made friends so that he got to know the people,” she said. “He has a very photojournalistic approach to his photographs.”Junior Regina Ekaputri said that as a part of the program, the students were asked to probe their own views on gun culture through creative assignments.“We had to pick a gun target, like the ones you would see at a shooting range,” Ekaputri said. “We had to live with one for a week. Some of us put it in our rooms, some put it in the front seat of their car, to get us thinking about gun culture and how it affects our lives.”Ekaputri said this was all a part of the process of discerning the best photograph for the Snite.“We had to develop our own set of categories for how to pick one photograph that will match the theme and complement the mission of the University,” she said.Tags: gun culture, photography, Snite Museum, We All We Gotlast_img read more

Professor discusses role of religions in peacekeeping

first_imgKwok Pui Lan, professor of theology at Emory University, addressed the role of religion in peacekeeping processes across the world in as part of the Saint Mary’s Endowed Spring Lectures Series on Thursday.Pui Lan began her lecture by talking about when she met the Dalai Lama 25 years ago, who said everyone has a role to play in creating a climate of genuine peace. However, there is a continuation of conflict and hostility between religions, as highlighted by the media, Pui Lan said.“Recent attacks in New York, London, Brussels and Berlin highlighted our awareness of the role of religion in conflict,” she said. “Although the spotlight has been on Muslim extremists, it is important for all of us to remember that religious extremist of other religious traditions have also caused oppression and threatened peaceful coexistence.”Pui Lan said Christianity also has its humanitarian failings, such as the colonization of the Americas. When referring to modern day Muslim culture, she said terrorism and peace come from the same place.“A tiny minority of Muslim extremists should not be taken as representative of the whole tradition of Islam,” she said. “There are many Muslim leaders and organizations working tirelessly for peace.”Although it is sometimes very challenging, gaining an understanding of other cultures is crucial to creating peace, Pui Lan said.“We cannot wait until conflict or violence have occurred before we commit ourselves to to dialogue and mutual understanding,” she said.Pui Lan said Christians in America are privileged because of their large numbers in the United States. This is detrimental to the practice of peacekeeping because it allows for ignorance and fear of other beliefs and cultures, Pui Lan said.“Because of Christian privilege, many have insufficient knowledge of the beliefs, values and practices of non-Christian religions,” Pui Lan said. “Many Christians still harbor elements of Christian or religious superiority and look at other religions with suspicion and discontent.”It is important to keep in perspective the many historical faults of the Christian church and recognize that no religion is without its faults, Pui Lan said. Christians must be aware of their prejudices, she said, and embrace the differences between religions.“Christians especially need to learn from others’ traditions if we want to embrace our religious neighbors and work with them in solidarity,” Pui Lan said.Pui Lan read verses from the Quran and said just as Christians practice what they learned from the Bible, the vast majority of Muslim people practice peace as taught in the Quran. Likewise, she said, both the Quran and the Bible have also historically been used to justify violence.Regardless of a country’s religion, across the world women and children are still targets of violence, Pui Lan said, so it should be everyone’s goal to break religious barriers and free those who are persecuted.“Many women work very hard to form their own movements and institutions to find spaces to promote peace,” she said. “One of the tragedies of war is that of children and young people being recruited as soldiers. Therefore the participation of young people in peacekeepers is important.”Tags: Christianity, Endowed Spring Lectures Series, interreligious dialogue, Islam, peacekeepinglast_img read more

Basilica call-in day brings nerves, community effort

first_imgThe sun is shining, birds are chirping and even the most stubborn snow piles have melted. Spring is — dare we say it — in the air, and Monday was a day marked on Notre Dame couples’ calendars months in advance. Monday was “Basilica call-in” day.2019 wedding dates for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart opened for reservation Monday, and for those couples that have already passed “go,” collected their ring and moved on to the planning stages, Monday marked the first step in their save-the-date process. Kate Barrett, associate director of liturgy for Campus Ministry, said 122 spots are up for grabs in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and 60 of those spots are normally filled by the end of the first day. Barrett said in an email that the most coveted spots are afternoons in June and July. According to Campus Ministry’s webpage, the Basilica is open for weddings at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays during the summer and Saturdays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. However, she explained, these times and dates are contingent upon events at the University. Weddings are not held in the Basilica during home football weekends, commencement, ordinations and Welcome Weekend, for example.Additionally, at least one member of the couple must be a current Notre Dame student, an alumni, a member of Sacred Heart Parish or a faculty or staff member who has worked at the University for at least five years.Kaelyn Fox and Jared Diesslin, both Notre Dame juniors, were engaged on Jan. 1 at the Grotto. The couple plans to get married in the summer of 2019, and was gearing up for the flurry of phone calls and busy signals they’d experience on Monday. While both Notre Dame students, their reasons for aiming to celebrate their wedding in the Basilica go beyond merely their education.“[The Basilica] is more like my home parish than the parish that I’ve been going to for awhile because we switched parishes when I was in eighth grade, so I’ve been going to the Basilica since I was seven,” Fox, a South Bend native, said. “For me, that’s almost more home than anything else.”The couple planned to travel to Fox’s home on Monday to gather with family members from both sides in hopes that one would find their way through the sea of calls to the Basilica office.“We’re all going to be calling starting right at 8 a.m., just have all of our phones lined up and just be hitting redial, bringing a bunch of phone chargers with us, hitting redial until we get in, basically,” Diesslin said. “We’ve heard of some people taking several hours to get in, we might be there most of the day.”Couples calling in to the Basilica often enlist other family members and friends to call throughout the day, and Fox said that they day itself can be “intense.” However, she and Diesslin said they planned to go off campus to call on Monday to relieve some of the stress.“If we’re with our families and then making a fun time out of it, then it’s focusing on what’s most important with the wedding which is family and community and the marriage and the sacrament, because I think we’ll have a really good time at my house just hitting redial,” Fox said. “If it was just me in my room calling, and Jared in his room calling, it would be kind of nerve-wracking.”Call-in day came, and Fox and Diesslin were pleasantly surprised; at 9:06 a.m. on Monday, their call was one of the lucky ones to get through. The couple was successful, and was able to reserve their first-choice date in June.While the two were able to reserve their preferred date, the focus on the sacrament itself is one that Barrett also mentioned, noting that while the Basilica is a popular place to be married, and one with lots of significance to couples, Campus Ministry believes the wedding and reception shouldn’t be a “giant, over-the-top (often financially crippling) ‘event.’”“We in Campus Ministry have really been trying to figure out how we can help focus on that: a lifelong, happy, faith-filled married life, rather than just having the ‘perfect’ wedding at exactly the right time of day and month of the year,” Barrett said. “We want the Basilica to be a beautiful part of a sacred beginning.  That can happen just as easily at 9:00 a.m. as it can at 3:00 p.m., and just as easily in November as it can in June!”Tags: Basilica call-in day, Basilica Monday, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, marriage, Sacred Heart Parish, Weddingslast_img read more

U.N. representative takes part in conversation on clean energy and sustainability

first_imgMax Lander | The Observer Rachel Kyte and Ted Fox speak at Mckenna Hall on the use of sustainable energy in an effort to preserve the environment.The conversation started on the topic of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), primarily goal number seven, which focuses on developing affordable clean energy. According to the U.N.’s official website, goal seven is divided into three main objectives: ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, sustainably increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. The U.N. aims to meet these goals by 2030. Much of Kyte’s work involves the promotion of goal seven, which she said is important because of the importance of energy and energy access in the world, especially in relation to other U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.“I can only call SDG seven, or energy, the golden thread,” Kyte said. “Without it you’re going to have a hard time achieving the other goals that you’ve set for yourself.”While renewable energy on the whole is growing, Kyte said some areas of the world are not meeting the quotas necessary to meet the U.N. goals.“It’s one of those bizarre parts of the human condition that that which makes sense and would make us better off we don’t do,” she said.Much of Kyte’s work involves showing people an achievable way forward toward renewable, accessible energy, she said.“If you can’t imagine what it looks like, it’s difficult to imagine that you can build it, and it’s very difficult to imagine that you can build it in a short period of time,” she said.In this vain, Kyte also said that a lot of the work she does involves showing different political leaders not only that the U.N. goals are achievable, but also the specific ways that they might be achieved through demonstrating what has worked in the past in comparable situations and why. “There’s a huge power in that comparison,” Kyte said. “People want to know what works, they want to know what doesn’t work, they also don’t want to be left behind, they don’t want to be embarrassed and they don’t want to be shamed. So, we spend a lot of the time trying to work out what is it that’s working and what are the ingredients in that which are replicable.” Kyte’s talk with Fox went on to cover not only the work Kyte and her organization do, but also the effect that sustainable energy and increased energy access can have. Kyte said the past few years have seen steps forward in clean energy technology.“You see the transformative effect of this technology which has dropped in price by 80 percent in just a few years,” Kyte said.“The things that people need and want need energy.” The effects of increased energy access go beyond simply being able to refrigerate food or being able to switch from a wood-burning to an electric stove, Kyte said, as these energy tools provide people with economic means which they otherwise would not have.“The people that don’t have energy are often voiceless within their country,” Kyte said.Kyte said her personal experiences have shed light on the relationship between clean energy and economic mobility.“I remember being in the northern suburbs of Nairobi talking to a woman who was finding a way to pay for a 40-watt solar panel system, and she started to make some things in the house because she got power, so she could work at night,” shesaid. “So the next thing was that she wanted to buy a refrigerator and then she was going to start making pulp from fruit and start selling that as a base for juice. She had a whole plan, and that plan was realizable because she got her foot on the bottom rung of the ladder of what energy could do for her.”Tags: Center for Sustainable Energy, ND Energy, sustainability, UN, United Nations, With a Side of Knowledge Rachel Kyte, CEO of nonprofit organization Sustainable Energy for All and special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and co-chair of UN-Energy sat down with Ted Fox, executive administrator in the Office of the Provost and host of Notre Dame podcast “With a Side of Knowledge,” on Wednesday evening in the McKenna Hall Auditorium for a conversation revolving around sustainable energy and climate change.The talk was hosted by the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame and covered topics including the importance of sustainable energy, Kyte’s experience working in the private and public sector on the national and international level and achieving the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for renewable energy.last_img read more

Notre Dame Stadium grapples with overcrowding as some seniors struggle to find seats

first_imgThough student seating is guaranteed in the Notre Dame Stadium student section, some students struggled to find seats at Notre Dame’s first home football game of the 2019 season against New Mexico on Sept. 14 due to overcrowding.In an email, the ticket office acknowledged it had received six complaints from seniors who could not get into the senior section.“We were contacted by a handful of seniors who were unable to find a seat for the New Mexico game,” the ticket office said in an email.Senior Nicole Mannion said she and a group of “seven to eight” friends entered the stadium roughly 10 minutes after the game started to find that the senior section was full. Mannion said she noticed available seats but was told they were reserved for alumni.“We were able to get into the actual stadium just fine, enough into the seats and then there was a huge open section of seating. My friends and I tried to go there, and we were yelled at to move because it was saved for alumni,” Mannion said.Senior Rongel Yee was with Mannion’s group. He described the alumni seats as being separate from the student section — on the other side of an aisle — but still relatively open, even though the game was well underway.“We showed up late, so we expected you to get the higher-up seats,” Yee said. “There was an empty alumni space that was supposed to fill up. We were going to go there but then the ushers started yelling at us.”Yee estimated that there were about 15-25 “seatless” people at the top of the student section. The group continued looking for seats. Eventually, Mannion and one of her friends became frustrated and left, while Yee and others continued looking for seats.“After that we had to move to another spot which was also said to be saved for alumni. Then we were told to go to the junior section when we got to the junior section we were told it was full and we should probably just leave. They ended up continuing to search for seats when one of my friends and I decided that we were just going to leave because we were so frustrated,” she said.After wandering for six to seven minutes of game time, Yee said he was able to find somewhere to sit as people started leaving the game.“After the first two touchdowns it got real easy to find a spot,” he said. “I ended up in the senior section. Me and my friends [got] like a two-person spot in the middle of a a bleacher area. It was a tough find.”After three years of attending football games, Mannion said she was irritated she wasn’t able to sit in the senior section.“I was extremely frustrated and angry because I waited four years to sit in the senior student section, just to be told that I wasn’t allowed to,” she said. “I have paid $245 out of my own pocket. Like my parents don’t pay for my tickets, I pay for them personally. And so being told I couldn’t go to the first home game my senior season was kind of frustrating.”Another senior, Laura Patterson — who was not with Mannion and Yee — said she and the group she was with also had difficulty finding a spot, ultimately having to split up and squeeze into the packed rows.“We arrived at the game about five minutes after kickoff, and the student section was very clearly getting full,” Patterson said in an email. “When we entered through the tunnel into the senior section, we were told that we needed to continue walking up because there was not room at the bottom of the student section. When we got to the top, we still couldn’t find seats. We then tried to sit in a large unoccupied section to the left of the student section, but were told that the seats were reserved for alumni and that we could not sit in them. Another usher told us to keep going up the stairs to find seats, but we were stopped from climbing any higher eventually and told that there were likely not enough open seats and that we would have to squeeze in or leave. We attempted to find space, but as we were looking an usher called over a police officer to get us to move quicker. We eventually just started pushing through rows until we found some gaps and were able to sit for the game.”The ticket office, for its part, made clear that no seats in the student section itself were reserved for alumni.“[We] have heard the rumor regarding an area of the student section being held for an alumni group,” the ticket office said. “[We] can tell you that this is false. Our student section was only held for students with student tickets.”The ticket office also said there are more seats in the student section than there are tickets sold. Regarding why the senior section filled up to the point it did, given that reality, the office speculated that spacing and infiltration by students in other grades was to blame.“Like all seats in the stadium, seats in the student section are 18 inches wide. In some cases, students spread out and take up more space than 18 inches,” the office said. “Also, if students from other classes make their way into these sections, it can exacerbate the situation.”The office encouraged students to arrive early to ensure seating. It also said it would be sending out an email to the community making clear where students from each respective grade level are supposed to be sitting.“While we certainly encourage students to arrive early, we will work with stadium staff to ensure every student has a seat regardless of what time they arrive,” the office said. “… We will be sending out an email outlining the student sections by class as well as asking students to stay within their designated sections to ensure every student gets a seat with their appropriate class.”Mannion — who was offered a refund for her ticket — expressed a hope that this issue will be resolved for Saturday’s game against the University of Virginia.“I hope it’s a lot better this upcoming game, because I really don’t want to have to miss another football game of my senior season,” she said.Tags: New Mexico Lobos, Notre Dame Stadium, seatinglast_img read more

‘She would always enjoy every single moment’: Olivia Laura Rojas’ friends reflect on her legacy

first_imgCourtesy of Carlos Fabrega Valeria, left, and Olivia, rightWhile she loved her friends, Olivia was also close with her family, particularly her mother. Antelo Iriarte said she was shocked to hear how much Olivia told her mom. “Olivia could tell her mom everything. She was her best friend,” Antelo Iriarte said. “She had such a beautiful relationship with her mom.”In addition to being a loving friend, daughter and sister, Olivia’s friends described her as confident and very sure of herself. She always seemed to be encouraging her friends to believe in themselves.Sophomore Isabella Cardenal first met Olivia in July when she invited her to have dinner with a couple of friends. Cardenal said she was surprised to see how confidently Olivia walked up to them and interacted with their group. Though Olivia exuded self-assurance, Cardenal said she was surprised to find out that this was not the case.“Apparently she was feeling very bad, and she was scared to go to eat and whatever. But she appeared as if she was very confident, very sure of what she was doing, and I admired her. I admire that a lot,” Cardenal said.Despite Olivia’s outgoing and confident nature, sophomore Manuela Trigo, who had known Olivia since they were young, said Olivia would never shy away from being direct.“Olivia was so straightforward. She could say anything to your face, but it was great because she wasn’t the type of person who would say something behind your back without telling you anything,” Trigo said. “No, she would just march towards you and tell you what she thought. It was so hilarious.”Though Trigo knew Olivia as a child, the two became closer friends after they began school at Notre Dame. Though their friendship was cut short, Trigo said Olivia taught her that the greatest friendships are not always the longest.Olivia enjoyed documenting her life, often recording TikToks and sharing snippets of her life through Instagram, which Salvatierra Moreno said was important to her.“She was obsessed with taking pictures, but that’s nice because at the end of the day, we have so many memories of her concrete in pictures because of how many pictures she took of herself,” Salvatierra Moreno said.Cardenal and Olivia bonded over TikTok dances, filming videos together constantly.“There was one specific song that I knew a TikTok dance to, and she also knew it. So every time that they played the song, we would run towards each other, and she would put her phone and we filmed. I don’t really do TikToks — I just did them with her,” Cardenal said.Olivia’s friends said they’ll remember her fondly by the small things that made her unique. She enjoyed wearing black and online shopping — her friends said she was particularly fond of Amazon. She also loved animals. When she was a kid, Olivia spent time with her brothers and her pets — a fat cat, a bulldog and a Dalmatian. As she grew older she enjoyed horseback riding and going on trips with her friends. Although she died young, Trigo said Olivia was a “free spirit” who loved being surrounded by people.“She would always enjoy every single moment. When we would chat through WhatsApp, she would send five minute voice notes and pictures just laughing,” Trigo said.Olivia’s friends thought she made the most out of her life, engaging with every person she encountered and taking advantage of the opportunities Notre Dame had to offer.“She lived her life as if it was literally the last day that she was going to live it,” Cardenal said. “She had no regrets. She didn’t overthink things. She was like what’s done is done.”Tags: obituary, Olivia Laura Rojas, Valeria Espinel Olivia Laura Rojas had a special talent for bringing people together. Those who knew her remember her as someone who lived life passionately, formed strong relationships easily and remained loyal to every friend she made along the way.Although she was only a first-year student, Olivia’s friends said the tight-knit Latino community at Notre Dame all knew of her.“She was a leader, that type of girl that everyone kind of knows and everyone wants to know,” said junior Juliana Salvatierra Moreno, who knew Olivia when both were children.Olivia was born Oct. 15, 2001, and hailed from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. On campus, she lived in Cavanaugh Hall and planned to study in the Mendoza College of Business before she and two others were struck by a car Oct. 24 on Ironwood Road. Olivia and another first-year, Valeria Espinel, both died in the accident.People who knew Olivia said she was outgoing and made friends quickly, and she often influenced the people she met for the better.First year Gaby del Rosario met both Olivia and Valeria through an admitted students group chat, and the three quickly became close through all-night Zoom calls and daily messages.“One night the three of us, along with two other boys from Panama, stayed up until 5 a.m. talking to each other. We just had an instant and natural friendship,” del Rosario said.Del Rosario said before she met the two girls she was rather shy and quiet, but they really helped her come out of her comfort zone.“It’s crazy to think that I’m a completely different person now, and that’s because of Olivia and Valeria,” del Rosario said. “In a way, with them passing, I feel it’s kind of my duty now within our close group of friends.”Olivia also taught del Rosario to not allow her self-doubt to hinder her life experiences.“I remember one time we were FaceTiming with her friends from back home while getting ready to hang out, and Olivia just looked so beautiful, and I felt so bad about myself in comparison and didn’t even want to go out,” del Rosario said. “She and her friends started consoling me, and then Olivia shared a life lesson from her mom. She said, ‘You don’t have to think about your weight or about how you look. You’ll never be this young, so have the time of your life and enjoy every moment.’”After that particular instance, del Rosario became closer with Olivia’s friends from back home. Throughout the course of their friendship, del Rosario even spoke with Olivia’s relatives over FaceTime calls at Hesburgh Library.“Olivia just had a really special way of getting people together,” del Rosario said. “She always brought everyone she cared about together. I think that’s why if you ask anybody who knew her, they will tell her she was an incredibly beloved person.Del Rosario said Olivia worked to prioritize her friends even when she was busy with her own work because she wanted to make sure each of them knew how important they were to her. “I told Olivia I was not eating because I didn’t like going to the dining hall alone, and she told me that from then on she would make sure we would eat together every day. Literally every single day at 11:30 a.m. I would get a text from her saying, ‘Meet you at North Dining Hall.’ She was truly always there for me,” del Rosario said.Olivia was also close friends with Valeria, who died in the same car crash, and junior Camila Antelo Iriarte said Olivia often made it clear how important Valeria was to her. Antelo Iriarte mentioned the work Olivia put in to celebrate Valeria’s birthday earlier in the semester, buying a cake for het and organizing a gathering outside on Library Lawn.“I’ve never seen someone so excited for another person’s birthday,” Antelo Iriarte said. “She was just so concentrated on making a day better for another person.”last_img read more