As we hit the midterm mark of the semester, we are taking this opportunity to reflect on what moments have been worth celebrating and to be intentional about what initiatives to take on in the future. Between the upcoming presidential election and its national implications, the imminent cold weather that will affect outdoor programming and the student body missing their once week-long fall break, we want to be attentive and empathetic toward students at this time.
Back in April, we created the ad hoc Department of National Engagement with the charge of fostering a campus environment of civil discourse and civic engagement in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election. We were thrilled with the Department’s Civic Engagement Week from Sept. 21-25, which included a College Presidential Debate between the College Democrats and the College Republicans, National Voter Registration Day tabling and a Rock the Vote festival on Library Lawn.
Additionally, we were pleased to roll out our presidential initiative, the Women’s Leadership Forum. We convene the women leaders of the Student Union on a monthly basis in order to have reflective dialogues about what it means to be female leaders, use our voices for justice and lean on one another as we strive for change. These dialogues are prompted by a diverse set of keynote speakers who share their leadership journeys and wisdom with us. Thus far, we have welcomed Karrah Herring, the director of public affairs in the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, and Jennifer Mason McAward, associate professor of law and director of the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights. We look forward to our upcoming forums in October and November, and we invite the student body to watch previous keynote addresses and tune into future ones on our YouTube channel.
Our executive cabinet has continued to demonstrate tremendous adaptability and innovation during this unprecedented semester. To mitigate the harmful effects of widespread usage of single use plastic in the dining halls, our Departments of Sustainability and Student Life gave out 500 sets of reusable cutlery to students. Furthermore, they engaged in conversation with Campus Dining and the Office of Sustainability in order to advocate for the provision of reusable cutlery to every student, which will be rolled out beginning on Oct. 1. Our Department of Faith and Service was able to continue our annual tradition of hosting a 9/11 Memorial Prayer Service at the Grotto. This year, we were also able to broadcast it on the FaithND livestream for those who could not attend in person.
We both continue to serve on the Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening, and our focus has shifted to helping students stay healthy during the coming cold weather months as well as ensuring that every student has a safe place to stay during the extended winter break. Additionally, Rachel is serving on the Off-Campus Student Task Force and the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention. In addition to serving as a student representative on the Faculty Senate, Sarah was recently appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee on Title IX Procedures and Policies. We give regular updates on the work we do in these committees at our weekly Student Senate meetings, and we invite you to read these updates in our meeting minutes.
As we look ahead to October, our Department of Diversity and Inclusion is looking forward to hosting Race Relations Week from Oct. 12-16.
Overall, we have been blown away by the resilience of the student body. In terms of turning the tide on compliance with the regulations, making the most of this semester, and displaying grateful hearts, we are showing the world what Notre Dame is made of. Let’s keep up the great work, and let’s keep showing up for each other. And once again, if you are in need of help, the University Counseling Center is still offering telehealth services. More information and resources can be found on the HERE website.
Get out the vote!
Rachel Ingal, Student Body President
Sarah Galbenski, Student Body Vice President