first_imgThe end of the year is usually a time seniors scramble to make decisions on post-graduation opportunities, but Saint Mary’s senior and accounting major Meghan Flanagan finally knows what awaits her.Flanagan was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Germany and an acceptance into the U.S. Teaching Assistant Program of the Austrian Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs. After comparing the two opportunities, she confirmed her acceptance to the Austrian Program over the weekend.“I chose the one in Austria because the location is better [and] there’s less of a risk,” Flanagan said. “For the program in Germany, I wouldn’t have known where I was living until after I committed. People that I have talked to said to go with the Austria program because the one in Germany could either be in a university city or in the middle of nowhere, and I wouldn’t know that until I was already in.“The dates work out a lot better too because I have to take the CPA exam this summer,” Flanagan said. “My orientation for the Germany program would have begun September 12th. … It just seemed like everything was pointing to Austria as the better option.”Flanagan said many students are chosen as alternates for the program and do not find out if they can teach until late summer. She said she believes her eight years of learning German benefited her in gaining acceptance into not one, but two language related programs.“I was pretty proud of myself when I found out,” Flanagan said. “It’s really rewarding because I feel like the past four years I’ve been working really hard and now it’s finally starting to pay off. It was really nice to have the option between the two countries. I’m really thankful that I heard right away, and that I was accepted as a candidate for both rather than an alternate.”During her time at Saint Mary’s, Flanagan studied abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. She said this time she is excited to return as a teacher rather than a student.“It’s not so much about teaching English, but it’s more so a really good way to spend time abroad long term,” Flanagan said. “I’m not just traveling and I’m not just seeing a big city for a few days but I’m actually living there, and I’ll be immersed into the culture. It’s kind of like a post grad study abroad, but I’m not the one studying.“It’s more about pushing myself out of my comfort zone.”Tags: Austria, foreign language, fulbright program, germany, post-graduation, saint mary’slast_img read more


first_imgThis semester, more travel options are available for students looking for a ride. Following a pilot program last year, Uber is now officially allowed on campus, according to Notre Dame Security Police chief Keri Kei Shibata.Previously, Uber drivers could only pick up students at public access points, like main circle and library circle. Now, they are treated the same as cab drivers and allowed to go directly to student dorms and other locations on campus to pick up students.Shibata said the newness of Uber as a service for students was a red flag for the administration, so they wanted to take a close look at it before fully approving it. After the success of pilot program during the spring semester of 2016, Shibata said Uber proved it should be treated the same as cabs.“It’s just a new program, and we weren’t sure what the impact might be,” she said. “And so we allowed them to come on campus and closely monitored to make sure there weren’t any problems.”The rationale for slowly introducing Uber was more about practical than safety concerns, Shibata said.“It was partially for security and partially because space is limited on campus, and we weren’t sure how large the demand would be,” she said.Shibata said the University allows all cabs licensed by the city of South Bend to access campus and pick up passengers.“If there were any companies we had continuing problems with, we would restrict their access,” she said. “But so far, there haven’t been any.”The rise of Uber has led to some students taking on roles as drivers. Off-campus junior David Connelly said he started driving for Uber after an upperclassmen recommended he try it.“I just drive whenever I’m not too busy, and it’s a good way to make money for study abroad,” he said.While Uber has increased in popularity, Shibata said cabs still remain the most frequent choice for students and can sometimes lead to safety issues because they often cram in more students than they have seats for.“There are some forms of vehicles that are exempt from having a seat belt in every position,” she said.“But regardless, it’s not safe for there to be more passengers than there are seats.”While this practice is not illegal under Indiana State law — which exempts cabs from seat belt requirements, along with other public transportations like buses — Shibata said NDSP wants to discourage this potentially dangerous practice. Because Notre Dame is private property and NDSP is a private police force, cabs can be pulled over and targeted for overcrowding when on Notre Dame’s campus.“When they’re on campus, we have the ability to say that’s not acceptable,” she said.Tags: Cabs, NDSP, transportation, Uberlast_img read more


first_imgIn a series of town halls this week, University administrators announced changes to the structure of the First Year of Studies, discussed a new early retirement program and provided updates on new recycling standards and construction projects.In a response to a question about changes to the First Year of Studies, University provost Thomas Burish confirmed that the First Year of Studies would cease to operate as a separate college. Instead, he said advisors formerly from the First Year of Studies will now work with advisors from students’ majors. The core curriculum requirements will be spread over four years, rather than being concentrated in students’ first year. Additionally, students will now have the option to take courses for their major beginning their freshman year. Natalie Weber | The Observer John Affleck-Graces, executive vice president of Notre Dame, discusses reforms that the University is planning to implement in the final fall town hall held Wednesday evening held in Carey Auditorium.Burish said the changes will allow students to explore more majors by taking a variety of introductory courses during their first year. For those first year students who have already decided on a major, the new system will allow them to get a head start on their fields of study, Burish said.“You can start early, and if you made the wrong decision, you’ve got time to recover and get into another major because you have four years now to work these major decisions in,” he said.During the town hall, university administrators also announced an early retirement program for staff. Details regarding the program will be released in the next few weeks, executive vice president John Affleck-Graves said. “In essence, it will look very similar to the program we did in 2011,” he said. “Essentially, looking at people who are 62 years or older who have 10 years of service or people 55 years and older, with 15 years of service. And there will be some element of a lump sum payment that will be tied to the number of years you put in.”Staff members will have until March or April of next year to decide whether to retire early, Affleck-Graves said.The University is also implementing new recycling policies, Affleck-Graves said. In the past, recycling allowed for 10 percent contamination of materials.“Those rules have changed because the places that used to take the recycling materials will no longer take them,” Affleck-Graves said. “And so, the new rules are that we can only have a 0.5 to one percent contamination. So that’s going to change the way that we’re going to ask you to recycle.”Administrators are asking that members of the community follow the motto “When in doubt, throw it out.”“If you put that food contaminated, when you put a liquid in, you’ve destroyed the good that everybody else has done,” he said. “If everyone else is being rigorous in their recycling and you’re not, what they end up doing is condemning the entire lot.”During the town halls, administrators also provided information on construction projects across campus, including the demolition of McKenna Hall and Brownson Hall, the construction of a new art museum and updates on the Eddy Street Commons Phase II project.“If you’re worried about there not being enough construction on campus, you don’t have to worry,” Affleck-Graves said jokingly.McKenna Hall will be torn down and rebuilt on half of the current lot to match the building to current standards, Affleck-Graves said.“McKenna has served us well, but it’s not a very efficient space,” he said. “There’s lots of open space in it, and some of the rooms for meetings aren’t up to standards you typically get at conferences nowadays. So, we’ve had very generous benefactors who have given us the funds, so we will replace McKenna Hall.”Brownson Hall will also be torn down and the site will be used to create a new space for the Alliance for Catholic Education, Affleck-Graves said.Additionally, Affleck-Graves said construction on the Eddy Street Commons Phase II will be completed in approximately 18 months to two years. A new art museum, funded by Ernestine Raclin and her daughter and son-in-law Carmen and Chris Murphy, is also set to be constructed. Currently, administrators plan to build the museum at the site of the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park. “Really, the long term dream of building this arts district on our campus really comes to fulfillment with an art museum, a sculpture park, school of architecture, performing arts, sacred music and the music library,” Affleck-Graves said. “So we’re really getting a beautiful area for the arts on campus.”During a town hall, Affleck-Graves also answered a question about whether Notre Dame’s food inspections would be kept private following its deal with St. Joseph County.“To me, it’s like filing our own taxes. … We were approached about that, we asked that they be kept private, for various reasons, as you know, that blew up in the press, so I think the agreement we have now, is that if we do them, we will make those public,” he said.University President Fr. John Jenkins also spoke at the town halls, addressing concerns about keeping Notre Dame financially accessible.“One challenge we have, and we all know it, a Notre Dame education for our students is extremely expensive,” he said. “It costs a lot of money, and we have to do everything we can to make a Notre Dame education affordable and make it effective. “To do that, we give financial aid as one of our top priorities, and we have to try to keep costs down. Because to the extent we are more efficient, we can accept more students, we can give them more financial aid, we can be more affordable, more accessible to our students.”Jenkins also addressed the sex abuse crisis facing the Catholic Church and encouraged staff members to report any concerns. Staff members can contact the University Integrity Line, Human Resources, Office of Institutional Equity or Audit and Advisory Services with any workplace concerns, Jenkins said.“If there is an issue, if there is a misconduct and if there is misbehavior, it allows us to investigate it professionally and adjudicate it correctly,” he said. “So let us have that opportunity — if you see something, say something.”Tags: Brownson Hall, Construction, Eddy Street Commons, Faculty Town Hall, fall town hall, First Year of Studies, McKenna Hall, recyclinglast_img read more


first_imgAs usual, just before kickoff, the Notre Dame marching band played the national anthem at the start of Saturday night’s football game against Florida State. This time, however, as most of the crowd stood with their hands over their hearts, part of the student section refused to rise.Instead, as the marching band began their performance of the national anthem, at least 60 students at the front of the junior student section knelt to show solidarity with victims of police violence and to protest racial profiling of African Americans. ANDREW CAMERON | The Observer At least 60 students kneel during the national anthem at the Notre Dame-Florida State football game Saturday night. The move was intended to signal solidarity with victims of police violence and to protest racial profiling.The organizers of the protest, juniors Mary Katherine Hieatt, Durrell Jackson, Shawn Wu, Nicholas Ottone (Editor’s Note: Nicholas Ottone is a Scene writer for The Observer) and Brian Gatter, claimed to be continuing the movement started by ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy when, beginning in 2016, he sat, and in later games knelt, during the national anthem played before his games.“We’re doing a protest,” Jackson said. “It’s known as the national anthem protest, but we’re not really protesting the national anthem. We’re taking a stand against social injustice and police brutality. The movement was started by Colin Kaepernick.”The idea for the protest began when Wu noticed Jackson and other African-American friends of his sitting during the anthem at an earlier game in the season, Wu said. Taking inspiration from his participation in the ‘Realities of Race’ seminar he took last spring, Wu contacted Jackson. Together with Hieatt and fellow seminar participants Gatter and Ottone, the group decided to gauge interest by making a Facebook event. On the evening of Nov. 4, the five organizers created the private Facebook event “FSU Game Kneeling in Solidarity.”“The decision that this was going to happen was contingent on how much support it had on the Facebook page,” Ottone said. “We realized the effectiveness of any kind of display would really depend on how much of a response we could get. Really, that turning point was Tuesday or Wednesday.”The event description instructed participants to enter the stadium as soon as the gates opened, to fill the front of the junior student section and to kneel, holding hands with neighbors and crossing arms for the duration of the anthem. The description of the event on Facebook included that the goal of the protest was “[t]o visibly kneel in solidarity with victims of systemic racial injustice.”Several of the organizers expressed dissatisfaction with student complacency and unwillingness to make political demonstrations on campus. Wu said part of the effectiveness of the form of the protest was its visibility.“Oftentimes we can have these events that talk about race or diversity, or that challenge them, and oftentimes these events don’t reach people or people don’t go outside of their way to put themselves into these spaces,” Wu said. “I think one of the special things about this protest is that everyone sees it and everyone is going to consider it.”Since Kaepernick’s kneeling began making national headlines in 2016, kneeling during the anthem as a form of protest has been widely criticized, including by former Notre Dame football head coach Lou Holtz, who said kneeling players were “hurting the sport.” Asked how he would respond to criticisms that kneeling showed disrespect for the flag and for the military, Jackson said the protest was in line with American values.“The troops fight for our right to protest, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “I respect the troops and everyone here in this stand respects the troops because we know they’re fighting for us. They’re not just fighting for our country to be protected, they’re fighting for our country to be better. It’s the part of the people who are here, who are not risking their lives every day, to fight for what’s better.”Some students in the student section did not see or notice the demonstration, among them senior Matthew Piwko.“I truly didn’t notice at all,” Piwko said. “I wasn’t paying very close attention but it wasn’t very obvious on the whole, even for someone who was looking for it.“I think people can express their opinion any way they want. I don’t necessarily agree with it but it’s their right to kneel if they want to.”Junior Loyal Murphy entered the student section early and stood near the kneeling students but did not participate. He said he saw the demonstration, but did not think it was very noticeable.“When people are thinking about the Florida State game, they’re not thinking about the protest,” he said. “It didn’t make a big impact in my life. I didn’t really care. I was just like ‘Oh cool, well at least if they think they’re doing something, I guess that’s a good thing.’“You could tell it was a section that went down on one knee, but I think it was too small and I don’t feel like it had any true impact to the game or to the issues in general.”Junior Gregory Wall, who participated in the protest, described the demonstration as a success.“I think on such short notice, it was successful, especially being able to convince 80 people to come an hour and 45 minutes early when it’s 35 degrees out and almost snowing and on the last game of the season, when everyone’s tailgating and everyone’s enjoying themselves, to be willing to go out and fight for what you believe in,” he said.Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Kneeling, national anthem, police brutality, protest, racial injusticelast_img read more


first_imgThinkND and the Eck Institute for Global Helath presented their second webinar of the series “Consider This! Simplifying the COVID-19 Conversation” Monday. This session was titled “Vaccines and the Immunology of COVID-19,” and covered COVID-19 vaccines, the clinical trial process and immunity. The goal of the series is to fight against common misconceptions about COVID-19.Monday’s webinar hosted two speakers: Brian Baker, Rev. John A. Zahm professor and department chair of chemistry and biochemistry, and Jeffrey Schorey, George B. Craig Jr. professor in the department of biological sciences. To begin, co-hosts Mary Ann McDowell, an associate professor of biological sciences and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, and Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, director of the Eck Institute for Global Health and president of the St. Joseph County Board of Health, answered a question emailed to them by a student in regards to last week’s session, and addressed local news concerning the pandemic. Viewers were informed that COVID-19 cases are currently rising in St. Joseph County, and Indiana set a new state record of new COVID-19 cases in a day on Saturday, with 1,945 reported new cases. Schorey and Baker then explained the national news surrounding President Donald Trump’s claim that he will utilize emergency-use authorization (E.U.A.) to speed up the U.S.’s COVID-19 response. To describe the E.U.A., Schorey used the analogy of a fast pass at an amusement park. Usually, companies must wait in line to get their vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the E.U.A. serves as a kind of “fast pass.” Next, on the segment McDowell and Beidinger-Burnett call “Rumor Has It,” Schorey and Baker spoke to the claim that once an individual contracts COVID-19, they are immune for 90 days. Schorey and Baker said it is too early to tell how long immunity will last, as well as to what extent it will protect recovered COVID-19 survivors. With that being said, Baker believes there will be long-lasting immunity from COVID-19. Schorey said similarities between the current COVID-19 virus and the SARS-CoV-1 virus give us hope there will be fairly good immunity developed from COVID-19, just as there was from SARS-CoV-1. In regards to immunity, Schorey and Baker emphasized there are differences in people’s immune responses. Schorey said he would expect a stronger immune response from people who naturally got COVID-19 and recovered, than from those who were vaccinated. The phases of vaccine development were then discussed by the speakers. First, the preclinical phase is conducted, which consists of animal testing. Next are Phases I and II, which test the vaccine with humans with special attention given to safety. Then, in Phase III, the vaccine is given to a large number of people to test for efficacy. Lastly, Phase IV consists of the deliverance of the vaccine to the public. It is important that a high volume of people receive the vaccine in Phase III to account for varying immune responses from different populations of people, the speakers said. Throughout the session, the audience submitted questions, which Schorey and Baker answered. Additionally, all are welcome to email additional questions to consider@nd.edu. “Consider This!” airs live every week on Monday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. Each session addresses a new topic related to COVID-19. Next week’s session is titled “Masks, Distancing and Public Health,” and registration for the webinars can be found under the Eck Institute for Global Health’s website. Tags: Consider This!, COVID-19, Eck Institute for Global Health, emergency-use authorization, Vaccineslast_img read more


first_imgNFL Stock Image.NASHVILLE – The NFL announced Wednesday that they’ve postponed the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans matchup Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday.The league says that a new game date and time will be announced as soon as possible, adding that the postponement will “allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing and to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel.”This is the first game to be postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The Titans reportedly had four players and five staff members test positive for the virus. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgPool photo by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo / Flickr.ALBANY — Saying the federal government learned nothing in how it conducted COVID-19 testing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called into question the proposed vaccination plan during a Friday conference call.The federal approach to use private vaccine providers such as Walgreen, CVS and other private pharmacies is a mirror of what Cuomo called a testing debacle.“The administration is locked in on this private sector plan,” Cuomo said.The current plan could take up to a year or more to vaccinate everyone, Cuomo said, adding the country can’t afford a year of time to vaccinate people. “We know the capacity of the network because we now have it engaged,” he said. “It could take one year to vaccinate. Their fundamental plan while simplistic is deeply flawed.”Cuomo said the federal government will not supply any funding to state’s to set up their own vaccination plans.“The federal govt will not provide any funding to speak of for a state to set up a supplemental network,” Cuomo said.“We just can’t afford it,” he said. “Their plan is just to fund the private sector providers. It operationally would be highly inefficient and it’s a direct mirror of the testing debacle. They’ve learned nothing.”“They handed it to the states. ‘New York State, you do the testing,’ ‘Will you provide us funding,’ ‘No,’ ” Cuomo said. “Will you provide us any materials,’ ‘No.’ This nation has been abysmal with testing.” Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Cuomo is an ass. He has led the state with the most deaths from covid than any other state in the union. He killed people in nursing homes because of his order that the homes take covid patients. Since we are the highest taxed state in the union why does he need government funding. He has to go or there will be no one left in the state.last_img read more


first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pixabay Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – New York State’s Public High School Athletic Association has announced that low and moderate risk winter sports can soon begin play.Low and moderate risk winter sports include bowling, gymnastics, indoor track and field, skiing and swimming and diving.The athletic association says those sports can start play as soon as November 30.However, activities deemed high risk have not yet been giving the green light. The group says they will continue to examine their feasibility, although, authorization from state officials is still needed.last_img read more


first_imgThere’s only five days left until the Heathers rule the cafeteria at New World Stages, and we’ve got a sneak peek at this awesome (or should we say…very) new poster for the wacky new musical comedy. Based on the 1988 cult classic, the new off-Broadway tuner by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy is just as irreverent and zany as the original movie—and yes, there’s a song called “My Dead Gay Son.” Directed by Andy Fickman, Heathers features Barrett Wilbert Weed as Veronica, Ryan McCartan as her murderous boyfriend J.D. and Jessica Keenan Wynn, Elle McLemore and Alice Lee as Heather, Heather and Heather, respectively. Check out the new poster before the queens of mean take over on March 15! View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 4, 2014 Heathers: The Musical Related Showslast_img read more


first_img My favorite thing in my dressing room “This is my grandfather’s flag—I found it in my parents’ basement in San Francisco. It has 48 stars on it!” The best thing to eat on a two-show day “Kale salad! It’s good for energy and doesn’t make me feel tired. The perfect blend of delicious and nutritious to get me through the day.” Lena Hall is venturing where few ladies have gone before: She’s playing disgruntled backup singer Yitzhak, a dude who wants more than anything to be a drag queen, in the gender-bending rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Oh, and did we mention she’s also the husband of Neil Patrick Harris, who plays transgender rock goddess Hedwig Schmidt? We had to find out what Hall’s life like is like behind the scenes, so Broadway.com sent her on a scavenger hunt, asking her to take photos of a few of her favorite things at the Belasco Theatre. Check out a day in the life of Lena below! My good luck charm “Josh Groban gave this to me. He was duped by a monk in Times Square to donate for peace. It makes me laugh.” My favorite fan gift “Yum yum cookies!!!! My fav is maple bacon!” My favorite co-star “This pic was taken after our first preview. Neil is so much fun to work with and his work ethic is incredible.” The crew member who saves my ass “Me and stage manager Rachel Wolff! During tech, she would always watch out for me and make sure everything was in its right place. She was always there for me with a pen so I could write down my changed prop moves and such.” View Comments The best costume piece I wear “I love my packer [fake penis, censored]. It helps me with the physicality of Yitzhak. I asked for it ;)” My view from the stage door “Here I am, signing autographs for the crowd outside after the show.” My must-have pre-show item “Always with the iced tea! Large, unsweetened, extra ice.” My Yitzhak’s-eye view from the stage “My ‘hole,’ where all my props are. I drink from these bottles during the show (not real booze, obviously) and they save me as far as my voice is concerned.” Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 13, 2015 A selfie right before I go on stage “Getting myself together before I get bombarded with insults from Miss Hedwig.” Hedwig and the Angry Inch The coolest prop in the show “They got guitar picks and drum sticks specially made for the band! I thought it was THE coolest.” Lena Hall Star Fileslast_img read more