From the Desks of Lauren and Matt

Author: Lauren Vidal and Matthew Devine

From the Desks of Lauren and Matt

The Student Government Team of 2014-2015 would like to begin by thanking Notre Dame students for the opportunity to serve. We are fortunate to have been surrounded by an amazing team  and to have an opportunity to learn from and work with students, faculty and staff. During our term, we chose to focus on tangible change. We wanted to open conversation but also provide meaningful services, opportunities and resources to our students. We aimed to use this year to bring Notre Dame closer together and build a stronger community. We believe we have done just that both through large initiatives and small projects. 

We began the year with a strong stand for the Alma Mater after all home football games. We worked extensively with the Unity Council of ND football to ensure that we would stay united in prayer with our brothers on the field, after the wins and the losses. We pushed to redefine and enhance our relationship with the South Bend community, and we built a strong relationship with the Center for the Homeless to do just that. Identified families in the community were paired with one of our 29 dorms. Thus far, we have seen an amazing effort to bridge communities and build relationships through the 29 for 29 initiative. Families have come to campus, attended sporting events and enjoyed dinner with our students. We will also be promoting a campus-wide day of service during the month of April. We are thankful for the residence halls’ willingness to work with us in this effort, and we look forward to seeing how these relationships continue to grow for years to come. 

We addressed student safety and well-being on our campus by partnering with NDSP and ND Transportation. We replaced the Safe Walk program with the O’SNAP program and put every “safe-walker” in a vehicle to ensure expediency, safety and service. Students are now able to submit a quick request for pick up via a mobile application and receive a free ride anywhere on campus during evening hours. 

We have also engaged students in a campus-wide conversation with the Administration through our work on Worker Participation. Working with Dr. John Affleck-Graves’ office to take a closer look on the University’s licensing code of conduct and addressing possible changes has been a unique and positive experience. Through participation on this committee, we have learned how to work well with administrators and faculty to communicate fully and transparently, hoping to set the tone for future campus-wide decisions and conversations.  We are also in the midst of a deep-dive into student stress and mental health on Notre Dame’s campus. With the assistance of the members of the Campus Life Council and input from many other groups on campus, we are formulating recommendations for the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees and for the Office of Student Affairs, to be presented by the end of the semester. 

We remain extremely grateful and humbled by this opportunity and we will forever strive to live according to the motto we hold so close to heart: God, Country, Notre Dame.