SMC donors spend time on campus

first_imgHumphrey said the luncheon was an important opportunity for the donors because it gave them the opportunity to meet students who were affected by their contributions to the College. Friday evening events concluded with a concert by Bellacappella in Little Theatre at Moreau Center for the Arts.  “During this unique opportunity, the donors are able to physically see how their donation is used by being able to meet the recipient of their scholarship. They are able to see that their donations are not being used to purchase mahogany desks or a tapestry rug, which occurs at other colleges and universities,” she said. “Rather, they are affirmed that their money is used to fund the most important part of Saint Mary’s: the education of women.” In honor of the funds contributed to Saint Mary’s College through charitable donations, donors were invited to campus Friday and Saturday during Donor Recognition Weekend.  Visiting donors also were able to participate in several activities throughout Friday afternoon. A spiritual retreat called “Journey of Life” was offered to donors in the Augusta Hall Conference Room at Saint Mary’s Convent. At the conclusion of the retreat, Sr. Mary Louise Gude, vice president for Mission, led guests on a tour of the Sisters of the Holy Cross Heritage Room. Donors were also given a chance to pray at the labyrinth, led by Judy Fean, director of Campus Ministry. In addition, donors were able to meet the 2010 “New Voices” scholars in Welsh Parlor in Haggar Hall or watch the Belles tennis match against Adrian College. Saturday’s activities began with a roundtable discussion about the life and character of Sister M. Madeleva Wolff, former president of the College. After the discussion, current President Carol Ann Mooney gave a presidential address to the donors. Both events were held in Carroll Auditorium in Madeleva Hall. Throughout the weekend, donors were able to experience life at Saint Mary’s to see firsthand what impact their contributions made to the College. The weekend also impacted students, sophomore Julia Humphrey said. In addition to spending time with donors Friday, an appreciation luncheon was held Saturday for students who received aid from donations.  “As the recipients, Saint Mary’s and the students who receive scholarship money can show their appreciation for the donors in a small way by hosting a luncheon,” Humphrey said. According to the schedule of events for the weekend, donors were able to be a “student for the day” Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donors had the opportunity to sit in on a variety of classes throughout the College, as well as to take meals in the Noble Family Dining Hall or Cyber Café with students.  “Spending time with [donors] Sally and Andrea really showed me the importance of Donor Recognition Weekend,” Humphrey said. “As one of the keynote speakers expressed, ‘When God gives, we give back.’ This is true for both the donors and the recipients.” After the luncheon, donors were able to tour Spes Unica Hall and Madeleva Hall throughout the afternoon. Mass was offered in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in LeMans Hall. After Mass, a reception was held in the Student Center Lounge. The weekend concluded with dinner in the Noble Family Dining Hall.last_img read more

Carroll to ring in Christmas season

first_img Wilson, who served as hall president last year, said more than 700 people have confirmed their attendance on the Facebook event page. “If you only make it out to Carroll once, this is the night [to go],” said senior Rob Wilson, a Resident Assistant in Carroll. “Carroll Christmas has grown quite a bit over the years,” Lewis said. “We started out with about 150 people in attendance and now have over 500.” This year’s event also marks the 10th Carroll Christmas for rector Fr. James Lewis. Lewis said the residents of Carroll Hall are excited about planning the event each year. The Christmas season unofficially kicks off tonight with the 13th annual Carroll Christmas, when many students will make the snowy trek to Carroll Hall for the dorm’s signature event. The residence hall will also collect donations for Toys for Tots at the event. “It’s really nice to do something charitable during the Christmas season,” he said. “The dorm community threw Carroll Christmas into high gear about five years ago by increasing the decorations, food and drink, and adding the opportunity to have pictures taken with Santa,” Lewis said. “More recently, we added Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves to the mix.” “It’s very competitive,” he said. “Yes, the guys will bake cookies, and no, they never win.” The annual event, which drew more than 1,000 students last year, will feature a Christmas tree lighting, a cookie contest and an opportunity for pictures with Santa Claus. “It’s great that we are able to get such a high number of people to participate, given that we are the smallest dorm on campus,” he said. Wilson said Carroll Christmas is a great bonding event for the residents of Carroll Hall. “We had tremendous help from our entire dorm, especially our freshmen,” he said. “Everyone has really embraced the event.” The Student Activities Office (SAO) funds Carroll Christmas, Wilson said. Lewis said the cookie contest became a big part of Carroll Christmas. “My favorite part of Carroll Christmas is Christmas Karaoke,” Wilson said. “It’s a really fun time to be able to just sing Christmas carols with a bunch of your friends after a week of preparing for the event. I would say it’s definitely most people’s favorite part of the event too.”last_img read more

Professor joins risk assessment committee

first_imgEarlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences selected a Notre Dame professor to join a risk assessment committee evaluating plans for a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) animal disease research facility. Ahsan Kareem, the Robert Moran Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, will use his expertise in wind engineering to assess how the building would withstand natural disasters. “One looks at scenarios to be sure the basic safety steps are built in,” Kareem said. According to the DHS website, Kareem will work with 16 experts on the committee considering plans for the Planned National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), to be built in Manhattan, Kansas. The building will house those conducting research, creating vaccines and medications for livestock and training professionals to respond to diseases spread from animal-to-animal and from animals-to-human. Because the NBAF will contain strains of viruses like Foot and Mouth Disease and Classical Swine Fever, it is of the upmost importance that the building withstands natural disasters. Kareem serves on the second committee to review the NBAF. The first committee’s recommendation lead to the revised plan currently under consideration, he said. “In this case, if the building collapses, it is a serious problem,” Kareem said. Kareem said final funding from Congress rests on the recommendation of the committee on how the building would fare in probable risks. The committee also contains veterinarians, microbiologists, meteorologists and risk-assessment specialists. “It’s a politically hard item because it is mandated by Congress, and they want to make sure everything goes well,” he said. “Whenever Congress wants an unbiased opinion they go to an academy.” Kareem said the appointment process selected completely unbiased members, as the Academy of Science posted nominees’ biographies online for public objection and circulated the list of members to relevant interest groups. The Academy does not compensate the experts in order to ensure the accuracy of the recommendation, he said. “Everything is in the open; it’s very transparent,” he said. The facility’s location in Manhattan, Kansas, the heart of tornado alley, makes the building extremely susceptible to tornadoes, he said. “Manhattan is an area where there have been strong tornadoes. Anytime, anything can happen … One must look at the risk … of tornado strength,” Kareem said. “Then we look at the structure to find the weak links.” The DHS website explained that despite the risk of tornados, the NBAF will benefit from this location on the campus of Kansas State University, the location of existing facilities for similar bio-security research. It will also be near a major hub of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. Kareem was selected for his expertise on the impact of high winds and other natural phenomenon, he said. Kareem investigated the collapse of a scissor-lift on campus that killed junior Declan Sullivan in 2010, and has explored buildings that have failed in hurricanes. He has also served for six years on a committee on natural disasters for the Academy of Sciences, he said. “In our profession, you have to do these kinds of things if asked,” he said. The committee will meet next week to make its final recommendation on the project, which is projected to be operational in 2020. Although this project for the DHS is more sensitive and classified than other projects, Kareem said he uses the same methodology when considering the NBAF plans. “What is the possibility of something happening, what are the consequences, and how do those consequences affect society,” Kareem said.last_img read more

Initiative to trim University budget

first_imgWhen University President Fr. John Jenkins announced the campus-wide Advancing Our Vision initiative in February 2011, he challenged the Strategic Funding Committee (SFC) to identify internal changes that could generate about $20 to $40 million in savings for the University’s budget. At the time, Jenkins asked the Notre Dame community to assess its financial needs as “a way to look inward to identify resources to advance Notre Dame’s aspirations,” according to the initiative’s purpose. Twenty months later, after the committee analyzed more than 100 potential opportunities for increasing revenue and savings, that goal is taking shape on campus without any job or pay cuts. Linda Kroll, associate vice president for the Office of Budget and Planning, said the goal of Advancing Our Vision was to determine the “best and most appropriate” uses for funds already included in the University’s $1 billion annual budget. “We asked ourselves, ‘What are creative ways and ideas we can come up with to look at resources that are already here?” Kroll said. “Then we can use those resources to do things that we’d like to do long-term for the University, whether it’s enhancing financial aid for students, developing new programs or building facilities for emerging needs.” Between February and August 2011, the committee, which included Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves and Provost Tom Burish, identified the internal changes that would meet Jenkins’ challenge to repurpose what amounted to two to four percent of the budget. “[Advancing Our Vision] is really a program of asking people to do things differently and conserve resources where they had the ability to do that,” Kroll said. “As an institution, we’re looking to recapture resources that were saved so we can move the University forward.” Kroll said Jenkins and the SFC appealed to Notre Dame departments, employees and the SFC working group for potential savings ideas. The working group, headed by Affleck-Graves, then examined each idea and analyzed its feasibility and potential for a favorable return based on the investments of time, money and energy required to implement a given change. “Several subcommittees were formed with subject matter experts who could go deeper into the analysis of a specific type of change,” Kroll said. “That analysis would go back up to the working group before moving onto the oversight committee, who then voted on the ideas that seemed the most appropriate and would have the highest return potential for getting to the [$20 to $40 million] goal.” Jenkins reviewed the final recommendations for the initiative last fall, and he announced in September 2011 that the committee had identified at least $30 million in recurring funds that could be redirected inside the budget. Kroll said many of the recommended changes have already been implemented. The programs to economize the budget range from the installation of a voice-over IP phone system and motion-activated sensors on light switches to the promotion of web-based conferencing services and the improvement of printer efficiency. Areas of particular focus were travel, procurement, food and beverage, printing, technology, the University’s libraries, employee benefits and waste reduction, as well as process improvement and organizational structure review, Kroll said. “The Office of Continuous Process Improvement has been working with departments to break down their work processes and rebuild them to get rid of any inefficiencies or redundant steps,” she said. “The Office of Human Resources is also partnering with leaders of various departments to look at organizational structures of employee positions to make sure our people resources are aligned to be prepared to leverage services for the future.” Kroll said Human Resources considered the responsibilities of employees in any given position. “They make sure the employee’s work is logical and puts them on a trajectory of career progression,” she said. “We need to make sure people feel valued, that they are doing valuable work and that they’re directly contributing to the University’s mission.” Advancing Our Vision’s initiatives also helped improve employee services without making any pay or employment cuts in the process, Tammy Freeman, director of talent management and human resources strategy, said. In addition, there was no decline in hiring this year. “At other universities, including Harvard and Stanford, things are much more severe,” Freeman said. “People did lose jobs. Even among private universities, I think we’re pretty unique in the approach we’ve tried to take. “In looking at how we use our resources, we haven’t cut any of our training budget for staff. We’re continuing those programs and continuing to develop people, so our priorities have stayed intact.” Senior human resources consultant Mark Kocovski said his department viewed Advancing Our Vision as a means of improving the University for both employees and students. “The leadership of the University charges us with being good stewards of all the financials, the tuition dollars,” Kocovski said. “We need to make sure that we do that and commit them to the people.” One initiative that achieved this goal was the recent construction of the Notre Dame Wellness Center, which provides primary care, laboratory services and a pharmacy to all employees and graduate student families, Freeman said. Human Resources also developed a retirement incentive window as part of Advancing Our Vision. “The Wellness Center was designed to save health care costs but at the same time provide better services to employees,” Freeman said. “[The retirement incentive window] was actually somewhat positive because people who were thinking about retiring got kind of a bonus to go ahead and make the decision to retire.” Kroll said one of the only areas in which benefits were reduced for employees was in purchasing football season tickets: Employees no longer receive the 20 percent discount as they did before. “Football is in high demand and people want access to it,” Kroll said. “Employees will still receive a discount in that the season ticket rights fee non-employees pay to buy tickets is waived for employees.” As more programs are implemented as part of Advancing Our Vision, Kroll said the University will now monitor the success and outcomes of new programs, and determine whether they matched projections and estimates and track expectations in the future. But as universities across the country assess their economic and financial situations, Kocovski said the unified effort by the Notre Dame community to search for internal solutions is unprecedented. “I probably haven’t seen greater collaboration between departments across campus,” he said. “Everyone is trying to see how to make those dollars stretch, so that collaboration has gone a long way.” Freeman said the University’s commitment to its vision and mission as a top-tier research university with a Catholic character has also made the initiative a success. That approach is driven by the unmatched spirit of Notre Dame and the unity of everyone on campus behind a common vision of the University, Kroll said. “Notre Dame is a special place, so you can get people really motivated to do what’s best for the institution,” she said. “They’re willing to put their personal departments and interests aside to make Notre Dame the best it can be. That spirit was very much a part of this program, even if we were asking people to change the way they do things.”last_img read more

Students watch game overseas

first_imgTOLEDO, Spain – While most students witnessed Notre Dame take down the Trojans from their homes Saturday, many students abroad cheered on the Irish in cities around the world and at all hours of the day. Junior Laurel Komos is studying in London, England, but watched the match-up from Athens, Greece, beginning at 3 a.m. local time. She and her friends streamed the first half online and saw the second half from a sports bar adjacent to their hostel. “The only other person present was the hostel and bar manager, and he spent most of the time cleaning the floor and preparing for the continental breakfast that opened at 7 a.m,” Komos said. “At some points, he would stop and watch the game with us, and he was definitely interested in our reactions to American football.” When the Irish won around 6 a.m. local time, the students had to avoid waking up the people sleeping next door. “It was hard not to cheer our brains off, but the jumping up and down, high fives and silent cheers were definitely still a fun way to celebrate,” Komos said. For junior Caroline Thompson, lack of sleep and impending final exams posed no obstacle to watching the game online at Trinity College Dublin. She and approximately 15 other students watched kickoff in a common room at 1 a.m. Only five fans remained by the end of the game. “I specifically remember being up by nine points with four seconds left in this game and telling my friends to not celebrate just yet since the game is not over,” Thompson said. “When the clock hit zero, I jumped out of my seat, into the arms of my friends and immediately played the Alma Mater on my iPod.” Junior Jenny Loconsole watched the game at her international school in Toledo, Spain, beginning at 2 a.m. Like Thompson, she did not let herself celebrate until the clock ran out. “When the Irish won, my thoughts were ‘Miami, baby’ and also ‘How many non-Notre Dame students can I text right now to brag?’” she said. “The answer turned out to be roughly half of my phonebook.” Thompson said watching senior linebacker Manti Te’o’s postgame interview was the proudest moment of the game watch. “To see any team with such hard-working, faith-filled and overall respectable athletes pull out a victory is inspiring to me, and it’s all the more uplifting and exhilarating to have that team be yours,” Thompson said. “In short, I just thought, ‘Thank God I go to Notre Dame.’” Thompson said the game reminded her of a conversation she had with friends after attending the United States Naval Academy game in Dublin, Ireland. “After our win [against Navy], the kids in our program joked about the possibility of the Irish going undefeated the semester we are abroad,” she said, “and here we are.” Although she knows friends will comment about her missing the football season, Thompson said huddling around a computer to watch the games in exotic locations with fellow students created life-long memories. “If anything, a stronger appreciation for this school grows within you when you are removed from campus,” she said. “And if I do happen to receive jabs about missing the season, I’ll be sure to remind those people that they have Ireland to thank for bestowing their ‘luck of the Irish’ on the first game that started this golden season.”last_img read more

Service unites campus, city

first_imgNotre Dame and Saint Mary’s will join the South Bend community for their fifth annual CommUniversity Day on Saturday. This annual day of service unites local college students and community members in an effort to complete various volunteering projects around the city. Freshman Adam Henderson, one of the event planners, said CommUniversity Day fosters a positive relationship between Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and South Bend. “CommUniversity Day provides a unique opportunity for students to get off campus and volunteer, encouraging many students to go into South Bend for a good cause,” Henderson said. “It shows that we are committed to making the area a better place.” The annual CommUniversity tradition began in 2009, Henderson said. The Robinson Community Learning Center, the City of South Bend and the directors of community relations and social concerns in Notre Dame’s student government decided involving students and community members in volunteering projects would increase the positive contact between the campus and the broader community. The day-long event at first involved only a few hundred people, but last year, participation reached approximately 750 volunteers, Henderson said. Senior Kelsey Eckenrode, a member of the CommUniversity Day planning team, said the group hopes the event will extend to a larger variety of participants this year. “Although Notre Dame students make up the majority of student volunteers, we are putting a large emphasis on getting students from other area colleges to participate as well,” she said.  “Students from Saint Mary’s College, Ivy Tech and [Indiana University South Bend] are all expected to participate this year. We also expect more community members to take part this year than in year’s past.”  There are 35 different projects lined up this year, including painting fire hydrants, preparing gardens, cleaning up parks, marking storm drains to discourage pollutio, and repainting crosswalkw, Eckenrode said. “The day will begin with a Homeward Bound Walk/5K Run at the Robinson Community Learning Center, which benefits local agencies that help the homeless,” she said.  “There will also be a bus tour of the Notre Dame campus for interested community members.” Volunteer projects willl span the late morning and afternoon, Eckenrode said. The day will culminate in a picnic at 3 p.m. at the Robinson Community Learning Center for those involved. Although the city government suggests most of the projects, Eckenrode said other community and university groups are encouraged to submit specific project proposals.  The ideal volunteer projects pair certain jobs with organizations expressing interest in those areas, Henderson said. “This [partnering] is a good way to get people to participate in the CommUniversity Day,” he said. “People are more likely to participate and have a better time if they work with an organization they are familiar with and that their friends are a part of,  one of the goals of the service projects is to promote increased student participation in the South Bend community, Henderson said.   Eckenrode said  CommUniversity Day enables students to give back to South Bend. “It is intended to be a celebration of our community,” she said.last_img read more

Basilica houses continent’s oldest carillon

first_imgThe height of spire of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart makes that building the tallest on Notre Dame’s campus, taller than both the golden dome and the Hesburgh library. Within that tower hangs the oldest carillon in all of North America, the 23 bells Fr. Sorin himself purchased and brought over from France after he founded the University. Basilica organist Daniel Bayless said although some of the original ropes, pulleys and weights from the carillon’s mechanical system remains in the tower, most of the notes tolled over God Quad are programmed and played through a computer system. “The computer system automatically tolls out the hour chimes and automatically plays the alma mater,” he said. “Twice a day, at noon and six p.m., we have hymns that are played which you can hear on the quad. At noon and six also the Angelus prayer is rung, which is a series of bells played before the hour is rung.” To program the tolling, Bayless said he can play a series of notes into a keyboard located next to the computer system in the sacristy of the Basilica. “Basically, there’s an electronic connection between here and the tower so whenever you hit a key on the keyboard, an electromagnet moves a clapper and makes the sound,” he said. “You can play it down here where it’s relatively warm and comfortable instead of having to go upstairs every time.” To qualify as a full carillon, a set must contain at least 23 bells, Bayless said. The Basilica has 23, which can be played electronically from the sacristy and otherwise accessed by a narrow, winding staircase up the tower. Bayless’s job brings him up the tower every few months or so, he said. The largest bell in any carillon is called the “bourbon,” Bayless said, and the one in the Basilica is known as the St. Anthony Bell. This bell is positioned lower down in the tower, closer to the ground, than the other 22. “There’s a tradition in Roman Catholicism that every bell is given a name, and [the largest one] is named St. Anthony,” he said. “Before it comes in the tower, it’s actually washed with holy water, which is called baptizing the bell. It has nothing to do with the sacrament of baptism, of course, but the tradition is that every time it rings, a prayer to St. Anthony goes up.” “All the bells in the tower have names and prayers associated with them. Someday I’m going to make a catalog of the names of all of them, but at this point that information is gone, except for where it’s written on the bells themselves.” Bayless said each of the bells has two clappers, one located inside for the old carillon system and one positioned outside for the electronic system. A clavier, or manual keyboard, looks like an organ and is located partway up the tower to play the mechanical system. “[The clavier] is really out of adjustment and it doesn’t play well right now, which is something we need to look into getting money to fix, but you play with your fists,” he said. “It was installed in the [1950s] because originally, there was no way to manually play the instrument.” The 22 bells besides the bourbon are hung above the platform where the clavier is located, spread to distribute the weight equally within the tower, Bayless said. “Fr. Sorin picked all the names on each bell, one is Mary of the Annunciation, another is Mary of the Seven Dolors, or Our Lady of Sorrows who is the patron of the [Congregation of] Holy Cross,” he said. “They’re made of an alloy … and they were originally gleaming, like just pure metal. “Over the years, they’ve developed what we call a patina, this tarnish,” Bayless said.  That changes their sound a bit; it makes them a bit more sweet-sounding and not as harsh-sounding. “This bell is part of the hour system, and you can see right here with the striker hits, the patina has worn away and it gleams? That’s the original color.” Bayless said the tower walls surrounding the bells are intentionally left open to let the sound ring out, and the grates are visible from the ground view. In the original “flying clapper system,” he said people documented hearing the bells as far away as in downtown South Bend. “In a flying clapper system, as the bell goes back and forth the clapper actually goes with the bell and hits on the upper part of the bell,” Bayless said. “There are other traditions where the bell doesn’t swing quite as far and so the clapper comes up and hits the bottom part of the bell before the bell goes back, which is called a hanging clapper.” The flying clapper, which cannot be used with the electronic method of playing the bells, produced much louder and faster sound, accounting for the toll ringing throughout the city, he said. “In a dream world, hopefully we’ll get them flying again someday,” he said. “It was stopped because they thought it was making too much force on the tower, but eventually we’ll do an engineering survey and see if we can get it flying again.” When Pope John Paul II declared the church a Basilica, Bayless said he referred specifically to the carillon, which is commemorated by a plaque inside the building. “We know that the pleasant harmony of America’s oldest carillon reportedly resounds from Sacred Heart,” the charter reads. “We hope that its sound will not only calm and gladden human hearts but will also call those who hear it to faith and Christian truth that it will stir their spirits.” Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

Speaker promotes stalking awareness at Saint Mary’s

first_imgDebbie Riddle, a national speaker on stalking, spoke at Saint Mary’s on Tuesday to promote stalking awareness in honor of her sister, Peggy Klinke, who was a victim of stalking. Katelyn Valley Riddle said before the death of her sister, she did not quite understand what stalking was, even as a previous victim of stalking herself.“I was a stalking victim shortly after graduating from college,” she said. “My stalker followed me everywhere, left notes, offered a marriage proposal and kicked out my door. So I went to the police department, filed for an order of protection and the behavior stopped. A few months after he was served with the papers, I saw him on the street and he turned around and walked the other way. And that’s what I thought the solution to stalking and abusive relationships was.”Riddle said 11 years after her own stalking incident, her sister Peggy called her and said her ex-boyfriend had began stalking her. Previously, Peggy had been in a relationship with the ex-boyfriend that lasted three years.“What my sister went through was three years of emotional abuse,” Riddle said. “With emotional abuse, the typical abuse is cyclical, meaning [he] would violently degrade her, then apologize, buy her flowers, take her out to dinner — but the abuse would come back again, maybe a week later, maybe a few days later. Peggy never knew what the trigger was, and this went on throughout the relationship.”Riddle said victims put up with this behavior because they are scared of the punishment they’ll receive if they leave their abuser.“Peggy did try to leave him,” Riddle said. “She was in an airport in Albuquerque, [New Mexico], trying to get to Las Vegas where my [other] sister was on vacation, and she was physically sick. She spent the afternoon vomiting in the airport. She was so frightened about what was going to happen to her if she broke the relationship.”Riddle said Peggy’s stalker would attempt to drive a wedge between her and her family by deliberately canceling Peggy’s flights and changing her hotel rooms.“He wanted to make sure he had her extremely isolated by breaking her support system down, so he was left as the only person she could turn to,” Riddle said.“In January 2002, she decided it was time to leave,” Riddle said. “She packed up her stuff and moved out of the condo they shared. When she went back to get her remaining items, he had barricaded the door and called local law enforcement. He told them that someone was trying to break into his home, and he wanted Peggy to stay with him because he was so frightened. When the officer arrived, he asked Peggy if there was anything she wanted to tell him. Peggy looked at Patrick, and Patrick gave Peggy a look … and Peggy said that no, there was nothing else she wanted to tell him.”Riddle said the officer took this at face value and that it was a fatal mistake. “He should’ve recognized what was going on and removed Peggy from her abuser,” Riddle said. “He should’ve taken her in a very confidential area to ask her what was happening. I feel that in his gut, he [knew] something wasn’t right by looking at them.”“ … Peggy went to court to file an order of protection, and [Patrick] walked in to file his own order of protection,” Riddle said. “He told the judge [that] Peggy’s an alcoholic, was often strung out on drugs and abusive. He told the judge he feared for his life.”Riddle said the judge ordered both partners to stay away from each other. However, Patrick began to stalk Peggy, calling her constantly, Riddle said.“And the cyclical abusive behavior was back,” Riddle said. “[Cyclical abuse] goes on and on and on. It is a vicious wheel the victim cannot get out of.”Riddle said Peggy tried very hard to get out of the cycle of abuse, but this went on every day, 24 hours a day. “So when the text messaging, the phone calls, the surveillance didn’t work, he decided to propose marriage,” Riddle said. “Peggy ignored him, and he was upset with that. He no longer had control over his victim anymore. When Peggy ignored the marriage proposal, he created a flyer and pasted it all over the city of Albuquerque.”Riddle said the flyer contained obscenities, insults and lies about Peggy. Peggy then took her cell phone; her cell phone records; her new, current boyfriend’s cell phone records — whom Patrick was also stalking— and the flyers into the police department, Riddle said.“Peggy said she was being stalked relentlessly by this man,” Riddle said. “The officer said there was nothing they could do about it. [The evidence] was just pieces of paper.”The stalker’s action grew more violent as he graffitied obscenities about Peggy onto the door of her mother’s garage and even set fire to Peggy’s boyfriend’s house, Riddle said. According to Riddle, he had stalked his ex-wife before meeting Peggy, and he had had seven previous police reports filed against him.Riddle said the police department were very aware who they were dealing with, but they refused to acknowledge past evidence. As the final trial between Peggy and Patrick neared, her family pushed Peggy to move away to ensure her safety. However, Patrick pushed back, posing as a police officer in an attempt to gain information and hiring a private investigator in order to find Peggy’s new whereabouts. “On January 18, as Peggy is walking out of her condo, one week before her trial, Patrick walked in,” Riddle said. “Patrick had been hiding in her garage. He beat her senseless with the butt of a handgun, he put duct tape over her mouth and bound her hands behind her back. Peggy was able to get out of the duct tape and run out the front door. Peggy and her neighbor Rachel went into Rachel’s condo and barricaded themselves in the bedroom. Peggy was able to make a 911 call and the SWAT team [came] to the location.” However, as the police arrived, Patrick murdered Peggy, Riddle said.Riddle said Peggy’s death was devastating, but not shocking. “Peggy once said to her lawyer, ‘Is it going to take a bullet to my head for you guys to understand how serious this is?’” Riddle said. Riddle said she spent the weeks after her sister’s death trying to find answers as to how the stalking had escalated so far. “The week we were preparing for Peggy’s funeral, a thousand questions were going through my mind,” Riddle said. “How did this happen? How could she not survive? How is he permitted to harass her? How is this problem going to stop?”Riddle said after the funeral she contacted Tracy Baum, director of the Stalking Resource Center. They worked together to come up with new ways to help victims of stalking, she said.“First and foremost, I want law enforcement to be trained,” Riddle said. “They need to be trained to deal with cases like Peggy’s because nobody, not one person in the criminal justice system, ever helped her. So we needed to change that mindset.”After her meeting, the story became bigger than she imagined, and everyone involved agreed they should do something lasting in honor of Peggy and all stalking victims nationwide, Riddle said.“In July 2003, we all met in Washington D.C. and declared January National Stalking Awareness Month in Peggy’s honor,” she said.Riddle said the death of her sister has inspired her to help victims of stalking. “The root of this problem lies in developing a healthy relationship,” she said. “Most people misunderstand stalking. Many teenagers mistake stalking for positive attention. Listen and encourage victims, and do not downplay their stories.”Tags: Debbie Riddle, National Stalking Awareness Month, relationship violence, Stalkinglast_img read more

Women’s Basketball teams up with RecSports to raise money, awareness

first_imgThe Notre Dame women’s basketball team is partnering with RecSports to raise money and awareness for breast cancer by hosting the Pink Zone Fitness Party at Rolf’s Sports Center on Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.The Fitness Party format is an adjustment from the Pink Zone Spin-a-Thon that RecSports has hosted in the past. Fitness and instructional program coordinator for RecSports Tabbitha Ashford said this change came about in response to a desire to make the event more accessible for everyone.“This year, it’ll be five hours on Friday evening, with each hour being a different fitness class ranging from Zumba to yoga to boot camp — something for everybody, hopefully,” she said. “I think it was just kind of going back to the basics of what we offer through our regular programming, and seeing the numbers and realizing that you can’t have a party without Zumba — that’s the essence of any fitness party.”Sharla Lewis, special events coordinator for women’s basketball, said the idea was partially inspired by an offer from Beyond Zen Yoga Studio to contribute to the Pink Zone’s cause — something it will do by hosting a “Zenathon” on Saturday.“They’re going from 8 a.m. and their last class stops at about 5 p.m.,” she said. “They have two classes going on at the same time and [University president Fr. John Jenkins] is going to end it with a prayer service at 6 p.m.”The Fitness Party will also feature classes suited to various experience levels, including high-intensity training and a boot camp class, in addition to Zumba, RecSports assistant director of fitness and fitness facilities Jennifer Phillips said.“The whole point of this … is for people to come and have fun,” she said. “You don’t have to be a great Zumba dancer, but if I see people out there having fun with their friends and doing something different on a Friday night, then it’s totally worth everything that we’re doing to bring them out there.”In addition to the fun the event offers, however, Phillips said she hopes those who attend keep the underlying cause in mind.“One of the messages we’ve tried to get across in the events in the past is that while you’re out there and you are having fun — you’re out there because your body is working, and it’s working right,” she said. “While you’re out there and you’re doing that, remember that part of why you’re doing that is for people’s bodies that aren’t working right, right now. By you being out there — if you can donate five bucks, great, if you can donate more, great — that’s helping somebody whose body is struggling.”In addition to paying the $5 per class at the Fitness Party, people can contribute to the cause by bidding in a silent auction at the women’s basketball pink game against Georgia Tech on Sunday, by pledging money for each three-point shot made by the team or simply by volunteering at the event, Lewis said.“People have their own way that they want to help and support — we just want to have an avenue where there’s different ways that you can do that,” she said. “Even if you don’t have the money, maybe you can volunteer. [We’re] just trying to find ways for people to give back.”Sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale said she appreciates the opportunity the pink game offers for her to contribute to “a big cause.”“I’m glad we do this and a lot of people participate,” she said. “We have great fans who really want to give back, so I’m just really excited that a game of sports can bring awareness and bring money to a cause like this.”In particular, Ogunbowale said she loves knowing she has not only contributed to her team’s success, but also to this cause when she makes a 3-point shot.“It’s great that something as easy as shooting a 3-pointer can help this cause,” she said. “We’re a pretty good shooting team, so we’re raising a lot of money, and I’m just really happy that by easily just playing the game I love, I am able to bring money and awareness to this cause.”Lewis said she encourages community members to attend the pink game on Sunday in addition to the Fitness Party to experience the game’s traditional halftime tribute to breast cancer survivors.“This year we have members of the football team that will take part in just giving out a little treat to those survivors or those that are affected by cancer,” she said. “They’re going to partner with us this year and help us out. Halftime is always exciting for me. I love it.”Tags: Arike Ogunbowale, breast cancer awareness, Pink Zone, RecSports, women’s basketballlast_img read more

Following an anonymous donation, 125-year-old Grotto receives summer revamp

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame The newly renovated Grotto now includes a more accessible staircase, natural stone pavers, and a designated entrance and exit.The most recent renovations included a wider staircase for improved accessibility to the site, as well as new benches and new natural stone pavers in place of the previous pavement, according to the University’s construction webpage.Christopher Chew, the construction administrator who oversaw the quality assurance, quality control and safety of the project, said the candles previously housed in boxes in the sacristy will now be kept in a new shed built close to the Grotto.While removing the old asphalt in preparation for the placement of natural stone pavers, however, the team discovered a plaque dating back to 1907 buried about a foot underground. Chew said the plaque fits into a diamond-shaped space on the left side of the Grotto, if one is facing towards the Basilica.  Years ago, someone noticed the same diamond shape in the wall, Chew said. “There was a lady who used to [run] a Grotto website, who had noticed it was missing and tried to figure out where it had fallen and disappeared,” Chew said. “She thought it was [from] the 1920s.”He said the plaque most likely fell off the Grotto wall during the 1920s, and was buried at some point in the last hundred years or so. Chew said he isn’t sure what will happen to the plaque at this time, as it is currently in someone else’s hands. In addition to the new natural pavers and widened space between the benches and the Grotto itself, there is now a designated entrance and exit to the site. “We pulled back the kneeling benches,” Chew said. “When you used to go into the grotto, you had to go out the same way. You no longer have to do that.”Marsh and Chew said there were also updates made to the landscaping around the site to enhance the experience of visitors to the Grotto. The surrounding sod is all new, and five trees and different ground shrubs and flowers were added to the site, along with river stones and rocks along the hill, Chew said. “There’s a much more pleasant look to [the Grotto],” Chew said. Both Marsh and Chew said the renovation project is meant to improve the experience of visiting the Grotto for everyone. “I think for visitors who have never been there, it will be a much more pleasant experience and for those who have been there and come back, it will be an even more pleasant experience to have,” Chew said. “I think it’s a much calmer feeling when you go [into the Grotto] versus when we had the asphalt.”Tags: Grotto, Plaque, renovations The Grotto, which is frequented by students, faculty and visitors of the University every day, underwent major renovations over the summer months. The University received a gift from an anonymous benefactor to replace the asphalt pavement and widen the east stairs, Doug Marsh, the principal overseer of the project, said in an email.Marsh said the Grotto has undergone other renovation projects prior to the most recent one this past summer.“The University has carefully cared for the Grotto for its approximately 125 years of existence as one of the most sacred places on our beloved campus,” Marsh said. last_img read more