Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
This quote hangs in the office of the student body president, left there eight years ago by then-President Elizabeth Shappell. As students, we often see our time here as preparing us to one day live out this duty. The reality is that during our time at Notre Dame, we are empowered to create change right where we are.
Our duty to affect change for the betterment of our community is never greater than when our founding trust is broken. In recent weeks, we were twice reminded that sexual violence still occurs on our campus. In the face of these terrible acts, it brings us hope and strength to see that our community has come together through prayer at the Grotto and in campus-wide active bystander programs like It’s On Us and Green Dot.
However, we have not yet created an environment in which sexual violence no longer occurs. It will take a relentless commitment from everyone to eradicate sexual violence on campus. Visit itsonus.nd.edu to join us in this vital effort. We each can’t do everything, but we all need to do something.
As a community, we also came face-to-face last week with the reality of mental illness. We were reminded that we are still challenged in the way that we care for one another. For several years, individual members of our community have moved forward the conversation on mental health, but it’s time for us all to be involved.
Join us for Irish State of Mind Week beginning Oct. 4 and take part in events addressing mental health on our campus. The Just Ask campaign, in partnership with a coalition of ACC schools, will call everyone to ‘just ask’ their peers how they are doing and to care for one another in a proactive manner.
Our commitment to these significant and broad-reaching issues will not waver, and we invite each one of you into the conversation in the weeks and months to come. Join us at Student Senate, meet us one on one and talk to your peers and professors. Now is the time to act.
Each of these campus initiatives charges us with the responsibility to be there for one another and to fully participate in the Notre Dame family. We believe in the ability of each citizen of our community to affect change. What will you contribute?