TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV says Iranian and Taliban officials have met in Tehran and are accusing the U.S. of provoking the continuation of war in Afghanistan. Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told visiting Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Wednesday that the U.S. seeks to continue the war in neighboring Afghanistan. Shamkhani says the U.S. tries to blame insecurity and instability in the country on individual Afghan groups. There was no immediate comment from the U.S., which signed a peace agreement with the Taliban last February and met its goal this month of reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan to about 2,500.
This season, Notre Dame fans have sought a few “-ation’s” in their gameday experience, specifically intimidation, motivation and elation. Notre Dame business students Kristen Stoutenburgh and Matthew Cunningham believe they have the solutions to achieve these states at every home game: music and a jumbotron. After this year’s loss to Michigan, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh created a research project aimed at making the game day atmosphere in Notre Dame Stadium more exciting, energetic and intimidating. “If you look at all the successful college football programs of the last ten years or so, they all have intimidating home field advantage,” Cunningham said. “We think Notre Dame has the potential, with all it’s tradition, to have as good an atmosphere as anybody.” Cunningham said the project researches how Notre Dame can achieve a more intimidating home field advantage. Home field advantage, Stoutenburgh said, is the key to being more than just a tough game on paper. “When opponents come in and see our name on the schedule, they are like, ‘Oh [man], we’re playing Notre Dame,” she said. “But once they get [here] it is different … It is not as intimidating as other places.” To begin their project, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh surveyed University students. The survey asked students questions such as, “How would you compare another school’s game atmosphere to Notre Dame’s?” and “Do you feel Notre Dame Stadium is an intimidating place for opponents to play?” They compiled the results of over 950 surveys, formulated ideas and presented them to the Athletics Department. “We … talked to [members of the Athletic department] and they said ‘we are supporting you and want to work with your project,’” Stoutenburgh said. The students worked with Josh Berlo, senior assistant athletic director for event marketing and events management. “Kristen and Matt approached the Athletic Department and met with myself, as well and other athletic administrators, to ensure that we were receptive to their conducting the project and would welcome their presentation of its results,” he said. “The department is always open and receptive to student feedback and appreciates their efforts.” In order to develop their idea further, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh conducted a focus group of ten people. “We had two people from the band, one with a traditionalist, don’t change anything view, and some other students,” Stoutenburgh said. “We basically asked questions that were similar to the survey, but engaged more in conversation.” The students said an interesting observation followed from the focus group. More tradition-focused individuals were receptive to music being played and a jumbotron being installed. Despite the music idea’s popularity, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh said they do not want the music to distract from the Band of the Fighting Irish. “We don’t want to take away from the band at all. We love our band,” Cunningham said. “That’s why we involved the band in the focus group because there are parts where the band can’t play at all.” Stoutenburgh said the additions of a video board and music would make game day traditions a bigger part of the game day experience. “When the players run out of the tunnel and hit the ‘Play Like a Champion Today Sign,’ let’s see that,” she said. “[We are about] enhancing tradition … not taking away from it, but [bringing] it to the forefront.” To continue their research on game day cultures, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh hope to visit various universities known for their intimidating game day atmospheres and talk to their marketing departments. “We want to ask them, how do you use a video board, how do you keep your fans engaged in the game?” Cunningham said. “As soon as kickoff happens [in Notre Dame Stadium], the energy that is generated the whole day by being on campus … just goes downhill from there,” Stoutenburgh said. “So we want to sustain and build on that.” For the rest of the season, however, Cunningham and Stoutenburgh will suggest new music and other fan-engaging techniques in conjunction with the Athletic Department. Both said they are open to positive and negative student feedback. “We love talking to people about [our research],” Stoutenburgh said. “Even if people aren’t on our side, we want to hear it.”
Through the 31 Lengths Campaign, a team of passionate Notre Dame students is using its business skills to create an entrepreneurship center at the Lacor Secondary School near Gulu, Uganda. Freshman Emily Mediate, undergraduate project leader, said the center’s resources will benefit the entire community of Gulu. “We are working on implementing a variety of programs at the center, including a speaker series, training of the librarian at the entrepreneurship center [and] implementation of entrepreneur teaching materials and an MBA internship program,” Mediate said. MBA student Conor Evans and his wife Lauren Evans used their talents in construction design and their interest in the role of business in emerging economies to found the campaign, Mediate said. She said Conor spoke with several non-governmental organizations in developing countries during the first year of his master’s program. Mediate said the story of Secretariat, a racehorse that won the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 horse lengths, inspired the campaign. According to the campaign’s website, Secretariat serves as a metaphor for people’s ability to achieve when they are empowered. The project is meant to strengthen education in Gulu and requires 90 thousand dollars to complete, Mediate said. “We are finishing raising the last part of funds for the library and will finish construction and begin implementation of business programs over the summer,” she said. Mediate said some of the campaign’s most successful fundraisers so far have been small. “We actually held an undergraduate dodgeball tournament event earlier in the month to raise awareness and funding for the project,” she said. “The event was a huge success.” Members of the campaign helped construct the entrepreneurship center during Notre Dame’s spring break, Mediate said. She said they will collaborate with the Invisible Children organization and Ugandan professionals to train the staff members that will run the center. “I heard from MBA students who went over spring break that there was a huge response from the children at the school,” Mediate said. “They are more than thrilled to be getting an entrepreneurship center at their school available with numerous resources to them.” Mediate said the campaign’s mission extends beyond raising money to construct a building. “This project is about using each individual’s talent in a way that unlocks the potential of others,” she said. The entrepreneurship center’s grand opening is scheduled for late August, Mediate said. She said she thinks the center’s inception will mark the beginning of educational growth in Gulu. “It has been amazing to see the project grow from an idea to a plan to a structure and an implementation,” Mediate said. “Not only is this project focused on building an entrepreneurship center with resources for the children at the secondary school, it aims to empower the Ugandan people to take advantage of the economic opportunities flourishing in Gulu.” For more information or to donate to the campaign, visit 31lengthscampaign.com.
Notre Dame and Keenan Hall lost a member of their collective family when junior Sean Valero died last March. But Keenan residents honored his memory by playing in the Sean Valero Memorial Basketball Tournament on April 14. Juniors Ryan Dunbar, Gabe DeVela, Preston Scott and Stephen Schwaner started the tournament last year as a new event that would benefit charitable organizations. The event also took on the role of commemorating Valero’s life. “Last year, my roommates and I decided to organize a charity basketball tournament and started to get a list of charities compiled,” Dunbar said. “During that process, Sean died, and so we made one of the options for the guys to donate to a memorial for Sean.” Dunbar said the overwhelming response from the Keenan community supported contributing the tournament’s earnings to a memorial fund for Valero, whose memory is also commemorated in the hall itself with a large crucifix and plaque on the third floor. This year, the tournament featured sixteen teams of two Keenan residents each, but Dunbar said participation could be expanded for next year’s tournament. “Next year, we are passing the tournament on to some new people, and whoever does will be asked what they are looking to improve about the tournament,” Dunbar said. “Maybe expanding it to nearby dorms, or making a co-ed division with Keenan guys and some other girls’ dorms.” Sophomores Sean Healey and Jeremy Riche won the tournament for the second year in a row. Riche said their team formed out of their existing friendship. “He was my partner last year and in my section and we were good friends at the time,” Riche said. “So we went along with it [this year], we’re friends and I wanted to play with him.” Riche said he and Healey originally entered the tournament just for fun. However, he said the tournament’s charitable nature was a reason to participate as well. The duo plans to enter the tournament again next year to defend their championship once again. “As long as we’re around and as long as the tournament is around, we’ll be entering and looking to win,” he said. This year, Keenan Hall raised $200 for La Casa de Amistad, a South Bend non-profit organization that strives “to provide the Latino [and] Hispanic community within Michiana by providing educational, cultural and advocacy services in a welcoming bilingual environment,” according to its website.
Sometimes work can be more than just tedious – perhaps even fashionable. Senior Miranda Peretti’s internship this year serves as a learning experience and a fun activity that allows her to explore her interests in the fashion industry. Peretti interns with Rent the Runway, an online company that allows customers to rent designer dresses and accessories for a fraction of the price. The company attracted her because of its unique method for girls to switch up their wardrobe frequently, Peretti said. “With a roster of [more than] 150 top designers and 25,000 of the season’s hottest dresses and 4,000 accessories, [Rent the Runway] is designer fashion delivered to your doorstep for a fraction of the price,” she said. According to the company’s website, Rent the Runway offers high-quality products and individual customer service to each girl who rents a dress or accessory, because “users benefit from the expertise of professional stylists and the shared wisdom of like-minded fashion-forward members.” Peretti became involved with Rent the Runway after a conversation with Saint Mary’s graduate and fellow Rent the Runway intern Brenna Lasky. After applying online, Peretti was selected and began work right away. “I began as the marketing rep this year, but became co-manager when one of our other co-managers stepped down,” she said. “Brenna brought Rent the Runway to SMC last year and started our on-campus team. She also interned at the corporate office in New York this summer.” Peretti and her co-manager, senior Katie Thompson, oversee the promotion of Rent the Runway through various events at Saint Mary’s. They are responsible for encouraging students to sign up to be members and borrow from Rent the Runway. The pair manages a team of five interns who brainstorm ways to increase business. “We are the go-to people for team communication and also provide direction and leadership,” Peretti said. “We also relay information from corporate in relation to goals for the month.” For Peretti, this internship is a great way to gain experience in the professional world, but also to work in the fashion industry. “My favorite part about Rent the Runway is it combines two of my favorite topics, business and fashion,” she said. “I love getting the update emails of upcoming trends and new dresses [and] accessories that are available.” Despite her love of fashion and business, Peretti said there are still some obstacles she, Thompson and their team of interns must overcome in order to ensure the company goals are met. “Our biggest challenge is advertising,” she said. “We have to be creative to grab girl’s attention, but we must still comply with Saint Mary’s rules.” Regardless of any difficulties, Peretti said she is looking forward to the events she and Thompson have planned for this year. “We plan on having several events on campus this year, including tabling, trunk shows and a fashion show,” she said. “Trunk shows allow girls to try on various dresses while tabling helps to spread the word about the company.”
After spending time in Gao, Mali, graduate student Katie Conlon stayed in touch with a group of artisans and will sell their handmade goods at a fundraiser today from noon to 6 p.m. in the Hesburgh Library Main Hall. Conlon, a first year Master’s student in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, said she lived in Mali for more than two years and worked with artisans in the northern part of the country. “When I was in Peace Corps in Gao, Mali [from 2005 to 2007], my post was in Small Business Development and I worked with this group of artisans,” Conlon said. “I have been in contact with them ever since.” The Sahara jewelry Conlon is selling, mostly metalwork and beadwork made by Tuareg and Songhai refugees, will benefit approximately 60 artisans and their families in Mali. Rebels took over Northern Mali in March 2012, and Islamic fundamentalist rebels conquered in April 2012, according to Conlon. More than 400,000 people in northern Mali became refugees, fleeing the repression by going south or into neighboring countries. “The town was taken over by extremists, buildings were destroyed, the market bombed, and economy has been put in ruin and people have been just barely surviving,” Conlon said. Conlon said the economic situation has been incredibly difficult as most infrastructure, including the markets, was destroyed in the fighting. “This fundraiser is to help people rebuild and make a peaceful transition,” she said. “It is also a way of honoring the culture and traditions of the North.” Conlon said she hopes people at the fundraiser will learn more about a part of the world they might be unfamiliar with and walk away with an interest in Mali’s culture. “Hopefully, … people will find a nice treasure to buy to support the people of Gao in their post-conflict reconstruction,” Conlon said. “Students who are also interested in peace studies and Peace Corps will find this helpful and informational.” Contact Charitha Isanaka at email@example.com
Saint Mary’s hosted a spring activities fair in the Student Center on Sunday to recruit members for campus organizations as a counterpart to the fall activities fair during the first week of classes in August.The event was coordinated by Janielle Tchakerian, assistant to the vice president for student affairs and the director of residence life, and Tena Johnson, student involvement specialist.“I think this is a good idea for the spring because we have a lot of transfer students coming in and students coming back from abroad who want to get involved, and it gives them that opportunity to know what is available,” student body vice president Sam Moorhead said.Johnson said 30 clubs and departments registered for the event and had table displays around the Student Center atrium and on the second floor.“We decided to organize the fair mainly to give student clubs another opportunity to recruit people,” Johnson said. “It’s the best way to promote involvement in campus life.”One of the newest organizations at the fair was the College’s three new graduate programs, including a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, a Master of Science in Data Science and a Master of Science in Speech Pathology. Aiming to reach undergraduates who may want to attain advanced degrees, Melissa Fruscione, associate director of admission for graduate programs, staffed the table and said she was glad to have the programs on display.“I thought the fair would be a great opportunity to introduce undergraduate students to our graduate programs,” Fruscione said. “We’re not official yet in having student organizations related to the graduate programs, … but we thought it was just a good opportunity for students to be introduced to the programs and let them know what they are all about in case they want to continue their education at Saint Mary’s.”Fruscione said once the graduate programs form student organizations, she believes the small size of the programs will allow undergraduate students and graduate students to collaborate and learn from one another.Senior nursing student Grace McSorley said the fair was a great success.“Since it’s my last semester as a senior, I thought it was a nice way to see all of the different things I could get involved in at the last minute,” she said. “I also was looking around to see if anything would appeal to my younger sister, who is a freshman looking to join some clubs.”McSorley said she wishes more students would take the opportunity to join clubs mid-year.“I was surprised to see such a range of clubs, too, and even a new one called Christ Lights, which is for students to talk about their faiths and modern-day topics regarding religion,” she said. “I signed up, and I am excited for everything the club offers.”Tags: graduate programs, Spring Activities Fair, student involvement
In an effort to better understand the student experience, Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli gave dorm life the old college try, spending the night in a quad in Le Mans Hall on Thursday.“Since I began as President, I’ve wanted to experience daily life in a Saint Mary’s dorm from a firsthand perspective,” Cervelli said. “I received an invitation from juniors Abbie Spica, Sam Allen and Katie Long to join them for a slumber party. It was a great opportunity to see how our students live, learn and socialize in our residence halls and to personally experience if our dorms are meeting students’ needs and keeping them engaged.”Cervelli said her night included a section event with the residents of the second annex in Le Mans, during which she was able to meet and talk with residents in the hall while celebrating one student’s birthday. Cervelli said she also brought her guitar and performed a number of Joni Mitchell songs. Tags: cervelli, Le Mans Hall, residence halls, sleepover Photo courtesy of Kara Kelly Students pose with Saint Mary’s President Jan Cervelli in Le Mans Hall on Thursday night. Cervelli spent the night in a dorm room with three students to gain a better understanding of what residential life is like for students at the College.Spica, who lives in the room Cervelli slept in, said she enjoyed the experience.“It was so cool to see a social and human side of an administrator,” Spica said. “She genuinely showed that she wanted to connect with us and that she likes spending time with students.”Cervelli said her favorite part of the slumber party was interacting with students.“I really enjoyed the gathering of second annex residents, stopping by and checking out various rooms and chatting with students about a wide range of subjects,” she said. “Abbie, Sam and Katie were warm and welcoming and made sure my every need was met, including giving me the most comfortable bed in their room. I learned about their studies, their hopes and dreams for the future and how dedicated they are to helping make the world a better place. I feel a special bond with these wonderful women.”Cervelli said participating in the sleepover will help her better lead the College.“I better understand the quality and depth of our students’ connection with one another,” she said. “I saw that the physical structure and layout of the historic building does a good job of accommodating students’ needs but that we need to make continuous improvements to Le Mans and other residence halls to keep the quality high. I learned that students really like living on campus and are mostly satisfied with their living environment and that the camaraderie between residents living on campus far outweighs occasional slow WiFi.”The sleepover mostly consisted of talking about student life at Saint Mary’s, according to Spica.“I learned that President Cervelli is not only devoted to helping Saint Mary’s grow as a community, but I also learned that she cares about students on an individual basis,” Spica said. “She wants to know about personal lives of students, and I think that is unique because it makes us feel valued.”Cervelli said she has received other invitations for sleepovers and hopes to make it an annual event.
Tags: Dianne Feinstein, dogma, Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame Law University President Fr. John Jenkins addressed U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in a letter Saturday, expressing his concern over a judicial confirmation hearing Sept. 6.The hearing addressed the nomination of University law professor, Amy Coney Barrett, to the U.S. 7th Court of Appeals. During the hearing, Feinstein questioned Barrett about her religious beliefs and how they would affect her judicial rulings.“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that — you know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different,” Feinstein told Barrett, in a video from The Washington Post.“And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country,” Feinstein said.In his letter to Feinstein, Jenkins said he recognized Barrett’s credentials and expressed “deep concern at [her] line of questioning.”“I am one in whose heart ‘dogma lives loudly,’ as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation,” Jenkins said in the letter. “Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology.”Jenkins said Barrett has the ability to act impartially in accordance with the law.“Professor Barrett has made it clear that she would ‘follow unflinchingly’ all legal precedent, and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself,” Jenkins said in the letter. “I can assure you that she is a person of integrity who acts in accord with the principles she articulates.”It was disturbing to see Barrett’s capabilities questioned due to her faith, Jenkins said in the letter.“It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge,” Jenkins said in the letter. “I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom “dogma lives loudly” — which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.”
Saint Mary’s hosted its annual STEM Fall Poster Showcase recognizing the accomplishments of its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students Friday in Science Hall. Participants presented posters documenting their experiences with a variety of summer activities, including research, internships and STEM study abroad programs.Senior Heather DiLallo, a Saint Mary’s chemistry major who is enrolled in the Notre Dame chemical engineering dual-degree program, presented a poster detailing her summer industrial internship. DiLallo spent time with the company Procter & Gamble (P&G) working on their Bounty, Charmin and Puffs brands and completing projects for the P&G Engineering and Research and Development divisions.“I had four projects this summer that made significant impacts on P&G’s brands, both in their immediate quality and raw material specifications, as well as in their long-term innovative chemistries,” DiLallo said in an email. “One of my projects in particular will save P&G upwards of $2 million each year when implemented.”Her presentation at the Saint Mary’s STEM Poster Showcase included discussions about her experiences working with P&G, as well as her personal advice about balancing work and personal life, choosing the right company and scoring the perfect internship.DiLallo said she grew up loving subjects on all ends of the spectrum, but especially loved the challenges math and science offered.“I knew that I could use my technical skills to make a difference in the world as a scientist and engineer,” she said.DiLallo received a return offer from P&G, which she said she will likely accept. In 2019, she will complete her chemical engineering degree at Notre Dame and plans to use the skills learned and passions developed at both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame to create societal change, she said.“I loved the chance to work for such an amazing company that cares about the impact it makes in everyday lives and on the environment,” DiLallo said.As a female student involved in STEM, DiLallo said she believes it is important that women become more visible, vocal and represented in more technical fields.“If we don’t allow half of the population to create and design the new products, research and innovations of tomorrow, STEM companies and research groups will never be able to provide the same impetus for change,” she said. “Women are just as bright and talented as our male counterparts and it is so vital for young girls to have mentors and role models in STEM to emulate.”Alex Guevara Stevens, a sophomore chemistry and chemical engineering double-major, said she decided to attend the showcase to support some of her friends who were presenting their summer work, as well as learn about some of the STEM opportunities offered at Saint Mary’s.“I find STEM very interesting because a lot of the research and information that is coming from these fields is allowing us to learn more about technology and ways to improve our daily lives,” Guevara Stevens said in an email.Increased female representation in scientific and mathematical fields will help contribute new perspectives and ideas, improve resources for women and help pave the path for future women in STEM, Guevara Stevens said.“It’s important for younger generations of women to have role models [who are] women succeeding in technical fields,” she said. “Having these examples of success allows for younger generations to believe that they can attain their dreams, and encourages them to follow the footsteps of those who they look up to.”Tags: science technology engineering math, STEM, Stem Fall Poster Showcase, Summer Internships