Travel alert affects students abroad

first_imgWith the State Department’s recent release of a general travel alert for all Americans in Europe, Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies (OIS) took extra precautions to enhance awareness of the alert and to ensure the safety of its students studying or traveling abroad. The travel alert, released on Sunday, alerted U.S. citizens to the increased potential for terrorist attacks in Europe and recommended U.S. citizens take safety precautions when traveling abroad, particularly in public places like tourist sites and airports or while riding public transportation. The alert, a step below a formal “travel warning” which advises U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to particular places, was issued after an assessment of information that terrorist groups appeared to be plotting attacks on cities in Europe. There are presently 235 Notre Dame students studying in Europe, according to Kathleen Opel, director of OIS. OIS is in close contact with its students who are studying abroad and the program directors urged students to listen to the warnings of the State Department and adopt appropriate safety measures. “The Office of International Studies has notified students in Europe of the State Department’s advisory,” Opel said. “We have advised them to follow the tips from the State Department and have provided them with various strategies to do so.” Opel said she would tell Notre Dame students in Europe to increase their awareness when in specific locations or settings. “Students need to be vigilant and always be aware of their surroundings,” she said. “They are aware that they should not be attending political rallies or wearing clothing that draws attention to them as Americans.” Students in the Notre Dame London Program were made well aware of the advisory. “The London program has reviewed the travel alert with students both by email and verbally,” London program director Greg Kucich said. “We are emphasizing the alert’s precautions regarding vigilance, especially at transportation centers and large public gatherings.” Kuchich said the London Program urged students to follow the security procedures already established by the program, which include always filling out electronic itinerary travel forms and carrying the operational cell phones provided by the London program, as well as the emergency phone numbers. Both Kucich and Opel emphasized that students should use common sense and listen to and heed their instincts. “Students seem to be taking this in stride,” Opel said. “Most remember 9/11 and have grown up and live in an environment where travel vigilance is required.” Kuchich said Notre Dame students should even increase their awareness in their daily activities. “Students are paying due attention to the travel alert and recommended precautions while proceeding in a cautious, calm way with their academic studies, their daily routines in London, and their travel plans,” Kucich said. “Students are responding intelligently and maturely to the travel alert and are following all recommended precautions without disrupting their travel plans.” Junior Alex Study, who is abroad in London, is aware of the advisory and necessary precautions. “The recent travel advisory has not significantly affected my fall break thus far,” Study said. “I have made travel plans and I intend to keep those plans.” Study said most students are cautious but not allowing the advisory to negatively affect their academic and traveling experiences while abroad. “Most people don’t seem to be taking any real precautions, but some people are a little concerned and will be trying to avoid public transportation for a while,” he said. “As for myself, I won’t be taking any specific precautions, but will just exercise common sense and be aware of my surroundings.” The Office of International Studies will continue to work closely with students and program directors in monitoring and communicating the heightened threat. “We are looking out for what is best for the students,” Opel said. “We want to make sure the locations are safe and we will continue to monitor information as it develops and reassess from there.”last_img read more

Schmuhl selected to political office

first_imgOne eighth grade morning, Mike Schmuhl, ’05, woke up, got dressed and headed to Saint Joseph’s High School in South Bend to catch a glimpse of what his academic, athletic and social future might hold. Little did he realize that his day spent shadowing the life of a high school freshman would lead to a career 14 years later. Pete Buttigieg, now the mayor-elect of South Bend, greeted Schmuhl at the door to give him a tour. The rest … is history. Schmuhl was selected as the Democratic party chairman for Indiana’s 2nd District Sunday after managing winning campaigns for Buttigieg this year and U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly last year. He is also working as Buttigieg’s chief of staff, assisting Buttigieg with his transition into office. “I think we’re a great team and we’re very invested in the future of South Bend, and we want to get more young people involved in the process,” Schmuhl said. Yet, the ties between Buttigieg and Schmuhl run deeper, as both of their fathers are professors at Notre Dame. English Professor Joseph Buttigieg and Robert Schmuhl, the director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, have known each other for years,Mike Schmuhl said. “Our dads are friends … I think they started [at Notre Dame] the exact same year,” Schmuhl said. While Buttigieg headed to Harvard after high school, Schmuhl decided to pursue a History major and European Studies minor at the University of Notre Dame. His involvement on campus ranged from playing football for O’Neill to writing for the school paper. “I was an Assistant Scene Editor for The Observer in — I believe 2001 and 2002,” Schmuhl said. “I used to do music reviews when I was at The Observer and I did Snoop Dog and I did a Battle of the Bands … music reviews and concert reviews and album reviews and it was really funny … I had no idea probably what I was writing about or anything like that.” As a junior, Schmuhl spent a semester in Washington, D.C., interning for “Meet the Press” with the late Tim Russert. The 2004 Democratic Primaries were the big news item at the time, and Schmuhl said the experience hardened his interest in politics and journalism. “One of the main reasons I got involved with politics and journalism was I did the Washington, D.C. program my junior year,” Schmuhl said. “[Interning with ‘Meet the Press’] was awesome and just a great experience.” After graduating in 2005, Schmuhl took a job as a journalist in Minneapolis, then became a radio and television producer for The Washington Post for three years. Schmuhl said while he enjoyed being a journalist, his interest in serving South Bend drove him back home. “I love the [Washington] Post and I love journalism but … I guess my interest to get involved in my hometown and my community was too strong,” Schmuhl said. He came back to South Bend in 2009 and has worked in politics ever since. “I think the fundamental reason … why Pete ran for mayor and why I moved back home was that a number of the people that we grew up with had a choice, … [and they] chose to leave South Bend,” Schmuhl said. “And Pete and I, through this election and hopefully through his service as our next mayor, hopefully we can change that because it’s a great place to live. It’s a great  place to grow up. There’s a lot more to South Bend than meets the eye.” Robert Schmuhl said he is proud of his son, who has worked on the district and municipal levels of government since he came back to South Bend. “Mike’s always been fascinated by the workings of government and politics,” Robert Schmuhl said. “He returned to South Bend in 2009 to become civically involved … Young people deserve their chance, and we’re proud of him.” Though he never took a class with his dad, Schmuhl said his father influenced his career pursuits. “When I was little, I had this great interest in news and politics because my dad and mom and I would watch ‘NBC Nightly News‘ before dinner every night,” Schmuhl said. “I just grew up with a great appreciation for … my dad’s interest in news and politics and culture, and the apple did not fall too far from the tree.” As the new Democratic chairman for Indiana’s 2nd District, Schmuhl coordinates Democratic events in North Central Indiana and serves on the state’s Central Committee, which is the governing body of the Indiana Democratic party. Schmuhl said he also recruits candidates to run for office and hopes that young people will get more involved in local politics. Anything that connects Notre Dame students to the city of South Bend is a great thing for the community, he said. “We want to make sure that there are no barriers between the universities and our communities and the city of South Bend, because when we have fewer barriers, then you’ll start to see that we’re a definitive college town,” Schmuhl said. “I think that South Bend residents and Notre Dame students need to think of their future collectively — that the community will be better off if Notre Dame succeeds in graduating young smart people that can serve the community, and Notre Dame succeeds if the city of South Bend has more jobs and economic growth and more prosperity for all of its residents.”last_img read more

Dance Marathon fundraises for Riley Hospital

first_imgKid President is no longer the only one asking you to dance in order to make the world a better place.The eighth annual Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon will be held Saturday at the Angela Athletic Facility.  The 12-hour marathon raises funds for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, which cares for sick children from around the state, according to a College press release.  Senior Kathryn Kellogg, vice president of finance for Dance Marathon, said the event quickly became the largest student-run philanthropic effort in the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s community.”Dance Marathon has successfully raised [more than] $300,000 in the past seven years for the children at Riley Hospital,” Kellogg said. “We have also been honored and named as the best new dance marathon in the country by Children’s Miracle Network in 2007.”Kellogg said she is hopeful this year’s fundraising efforts will be even more successful than those of past years.”We are really excited to set and hopefully exceed our highest goal yet, to raise $88,000 for Riley Hospital for Children,” she said Riley Hospital treats 160 inpatients and 2,120 outpatients from St. Joseph’s County annually and never turns a child away, Kellogg said.    Junior Hannah Karches, Dance Marathon high school outreach chair, said she is eagerly awaiting the event and the chance to meet some of the families Riley serves.  “These families are incredible and never cease to amaze and inspire me,” Karches said. “I love being a part of Dance Marathon because so many lives have been saved by the Riley medical team and I love that we can make financial contributions to their life-saving efforts.” Kellogg said she intends to fully appreciate her final Dance Marathon and the results of her efforts.”I also cannot wait to be with the Riley families and see the children’s energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “Their energy reminds us why we are here supporting this great cause and the miracle of life.”last_img read more

Lecture challenges society’s view of marriage

first_imgOn Thursday, Saint Mary’s College welcomed feminist theologian Dr. Emily Reimer-Barry who gave a lecture titled “Saying Yes to More Than the Dress?: Elements of a Pro-Woman Theology of Marriage” as part of the Center for Spirituality’s fall lecture series.  Reimer-Barry began the lecture with a brief clarification of the topic as a different subject than the popular debates about marriage equality. “These days when we talk about marriage equality most people assume that we are talking about extending the rights of marriage to same-sex couples,” she said. “I want to probe the unfinished business of the marriage equality movement initiated by three waves of feminist theologians and activists.”  She said there are three major problems facing a pro-woman view in modern society.  The first of these is the “girlie-girl culture,” she said. This is the emphasis, from a young age, of “play-sexiness” that is represented in girls’ toys and dolls, she said. “We begin the socialization process at a very early age,” Reimer-Barry said. “The ‘hyper-sexualization of girls’ culture begins with three- to seven-year-olds, the target audience for the Disney princess line.” The second problem comes from the contemporary prevalence of the hook-up society and the double standards associated with it, Reimer-Barry said. “Men gain status through hook-ups, while women lose status,” she said. “We see reflected here an old patriarchal view of male entitlement to sex.” Dr. Reimer-Barry said the third major problem originates in the pervasiveness of pornography in society. The pornography culture affects society both directly and indirectly, and establishes unrealistic ideals of the modern woman, she said.  “Porn women are submissive, obedient, eager to please, willing to accept pain and suffering to please a partner and eager to deny their own wants and needs,” Dr. Reimer-Barry said. “These same attributes are upheld as virtuous in papal teachings about what it means to be a good wife in marriage.” Worldwide, she said, women continue to hear mixed messages about their own dignity and position from the Catholic Church, especially with regards to marriage and what it means to be a “good wife.” “To what else does a bride say ‘yes’ in marriage?” Reimer-Barry said. “Some parts of Catholic theology of marriage require that women say ‘yes’ to an ideal of womanhood that does not, in fact, promote … dignity.” Women are represented as inferiors in Mass, Reimer-Barry said, particularly in the readings, which exclude many of the stronger female religious figures that are represented in the Bible.  “This gives the impression over time that women are insignificant and have no contributions to make to the faith community,” she said.  She said this is further perpetuated by the Church’s exclusion of women from ordination. This presents young women with male figures as role models in religious leadership. Even worse, Reimer-Barry said, are the readings which speak of a woman’s submission as her highest calling, and representing her worth as being incumbent on her serving others and sacrifice of self.  “Even a positive message from the homily might not counteract the negative formation that has already happened in the liturgical proclamation of sexist texts as ‘the word of the Lord,’” she said.  These expectations of subjugation and servitude arise mostly from descriptions of ideal marriage, she said. “Such descriptions seem to imply that marital love is primarily characterized by renunciation of self and self neglect,” Reimer-Barry said. The text emphasizes purity, graciousness and care for home as a woman’s greatest attributes. She said this emphasis is also apparent in the Church’s history, where most female saints are virgins who can fully embody the descriptor of purity. “Women are venerated for their obedience, humility, sacrifice and submission,” Reimer-Berry said.  This foundation can lead to harmful and unequal standards for relationships, she said.  “Some women have interpreted [St. Mary’s] submission to God as an example for their own relationships,” she said. “This gender essentialism … diminishes women and limits the contributions women can make in the social sphere.” Dr. Reimer-Barry said a pro-woman theology of marriage is one that affirms the dignity of women and empowers them to resist violence, describes marriage as an equal partnership and enables women to seek educational and work opportunities outside of the home. In conclusion, Dr. Reimer-Barry said she has hope for future generations of women and challenges students to recreate cultural ideologies surrounding women. “What I’m asking us to think about is, can we bring more voices to the table in discussion,” Dr. Reimer-Barry said.  “We sort of passively adopt some of these messages about women without thinking them through, and they act on us in ways that we might not even realize consciously.” Contact Tabitha Ricketts at [email protected]last_img read more

Same-sex couples to receive benefits

first_imgNotre Dame and Saint Mary’s will extend benefits to all legally married spouses of employees, including same-sex spouses.Notre Dame’s Office of Human Resources sent an e-mail to “benefit-eligible faculty and staff” with the announcement Oct. 9.“On Monday [Oct. 6], the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage in several states, including Indiana. This means that the law in Indiana now recognizes same-sex marriages and the University will extend benefits to all legally married spouses, including same-sex spouses,” the e-mail stated. “Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately.”Saint Mary’s also announced that it will comply with the new state law.“Saint Mary’s College’s interpretation is that, as an employer in Indiana, the College must abide by the law and enroll legally married, same-sex spouses of faculty and staff in its insurance benefits if requested by a College employee,” Richard Nugent, director of human resources and college counsel at Saint Mary’s, said.The cost of providing health insurance to employees at both institutions will increase, but the number of new persons that will be covered by the institutions remains to be seen, Nugent said.Paul Browne, vice president of public affairs and communications for Notre Dame, said prior to the extension of benefits last week, approximately 2,700 spouses of Notre Dame employees were covered.“It’s unknown right now how many will be added as a result of the extension of benefits,” Browne said. “It will become clearer as newly covered employees sign up for benefits.”Reactions from the Notre Dame community to the extension of benefits have been mixed.“This decision makes me feel respected and valued by the University. Especially now that the benefits of marriage have been extended to gay couples in Indiana, Notre Dame’s proactivity is welcomed and appreciated,” Aaron Nichols, audience development program manager for Shakespeare at Notre Dame and an out staff member, said.The decision, while having substantial symbolic meaning, also has significant practical implications, Maureen Lafferty, assistant director of the University Counseling Center and an out staff member, said.“This decision has very important practical benefits for GLBTQ families who may breathe easier due to access to medical insurance coverage — it’s a wonderful way to support families,” Lafferty said. “Respect for diversity is also a core value for the kind of institution that Notre Dame strives to be — a top-tier institution in a global marketplace.“Notre Dame describes its commitment to diversity as a ‘moral and intellectual necessity’ and calls us to cultivate a diverse community,” she said. “This action feels consistent with those values.”Lafferty said that she believes this decision will help Notre Dame become a more inclusive place.“GLBTQ faculty and staff members and their families will no doubt feel a greater sense of support and belonging, which is always a good thing,” she said. “Faculty and staff may also feel safer to be ‘out’ on campus, which enables them to provide valued mentoring for diverse students.“This decision can also communicate to the world at large that respect for diversity is a core University value, which can be very attractive to potential faculty, staff and students,” Lafferty said.Nichols said he hopes the University’s decision will help those within the LGBT community gain acceptance within the broader Notre Dame network.“There is, and will continue to be, people of faith who believe my sexual orientation is a personal choice that God condemns,” Nichols said. “I hope these individuals will see their LGBT brothers and sisters through the lens of our University’s loving and empathetic stance.”Other members of the Notre Dame community, however, expressed displeasure with the University’s extension of health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses.“This is a very sad development for Notre Dame. The haste with which it was done and its being announced without serious consideration of the legal implications is not only deeply troubling but also revelatory of the direction of the current Notre Dame administration,” Fr. Bill Miscamble, professor of history, said. “Notre Dame has made no effort to stand for the truth about marriage but has supinely conformed to a deeply flawed understanding of the crucial institution of marriage.”Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese issued a statement on the matter Tuesday, voicing the need for Notre Dame to follow Catholic teaching.“In announcing its decision to extend benefits to ‘same-sex spouses,’ I am glad that Notre Dame affirmed that as a Catholic university, it ‘endorses a Catholic view of marriage,’ though I would say that Catholic teaching on the heterosexual nature of marriage is more than ‘a view,’” Rhoades said. “The heterosexual nature of marriage is an objective truth known by right reason and revelation.“As a Catholic university, it is important that Notre Dame continues to affirm its fidelity to Catholic teaching on the true nature of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”The mission of the University, however, is one of inclusion and love, and this decision furthers Notre Dame toward better carrying out that goal, University President Fr. John Jenkins said.“Apart from these questions and any legal obligations, however, we recognize an urgent call to welcome, support and cherish gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, who have been too often marginalized and even ostracized, and many of whom bear the scars of such treatment,” Jenkins said. “At Notre Dame, we have undertaken initiatives to provide support and welcome gay and lesbian members of our community. These efforts must not and will not flag.”“Our abiding goal, rather, is to learn better how to love one another and together build a less imperfect community of love,” he said. “That is the mission of Notre Dame, and we remain committed to it.”Tags: benefits, GLBTQ, LGBTQ, same-sex spouseslast_img read more

Group examines NFL in America

first_imgAnnie Gilbert Coleman, associate professor of American Studies, led a group discussion titled “America and the NFL: A Couple’s Therapy Session” on Tuesday evening to explore the institution of professional football. The conversation, sponsored by the American Studies Club, focused on the division between the longtime success and fame of the sport and the recent controversies brought to light by the media.Emily Danaher | The Observer “I see an increasing fundamental disconnect between the values we traditionally associate with professional football and these issues we’re hearing about on the news nowadays,” Coleman said. “These two parts of the NFL seem to be polar opposites.”Ben Zelmer, a 2013 Notre Dame graduate, said he associates the NFL with physical excellence and community.“I heard a football coach once describe American football as a modern day gladiator sport,” Zelmer said. “Everyone gets together and watches people in their peak physical ability compete in a very physical way. Our society unites to watch our best athletes.”Coleman said football has maintained a huge influence on modern American society and cultural attitudes toward the sport have changed over time.“I searched ‘America’s game’ and the NFL came up,” Coleman said. “Baseball used to be America’s game.”According to Coleman, recent concerns surrounding the NFL in the media include concussions, domestic violence and bullying.“The NFL is a trade association,” Meg Handelman, senior president of the American Studies Club, said. “The owners want to protect their players and create rules and regulations that keep their players’ best interests. However, the NFL is also like a giant marketing business that could very well compromise the players’ interests in the pursuit of profits.”Interest groups such as television networks, social media sites and fantasy football groups have increased the impact and publicity of problems in the NFL.“Domestic violence, for example, isn’t new,” said Handelman. “The Ray Rice incident has become such a big deal because there’s a video. It brings more attention to domestic violence in a new way.”Coleman said the increasing worry surrounding concussions could possibly lead to a change in the football industry in the future.“At the turn of the century, the rules of football were changed to be less violent,” Coleman said. “There was resistance, but eventually people accepted the changes. It’s not impossible for this to happen again.”According to Handelman, the ultimate goal of the discussion was to help stimulate football fans to think critically and thoughtfully.“There’s an entirely different side to football than the one we see on TV,” Coleman said. “It’s more than just entertainment.  The football industry can play a part in some important societal issues.”Tags: American Studies, discussion, football, media, NFLlast_img read more

Seniors revel in final game on campus

first_imgNotre Dame fans witnessed a disappointing conclusion to the home games this season with a 31-28 Irish loss to the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday.The result of the final football game was especially disappointing for the hundreds of seniors who came out for their final home game at Notre Dame.Senior Matthew Metzinger said the game reminded him of the first football game he watched as a student at Notre Dame against South Florida in 2011. The South Florida game also ended in a loss and had to end early due to lighting.“You know what, you stick with the Irish through good times and bad,” he said. “It would have been better if it were a victory, but it was still a lot of fun to spend the game with the rest of the seniors, the student body and all the fans.”Fans expressed their disappointment with the Irish’s inability to win the close game and stressed the insufficient efforts by the defense as a major component in the loss.Emily McConville Freshman Meghan Brennan said the loss cannot be attributed to one player alone.“It’s unfair to say it’s [Kyle] Brindza’s fault,” she said.Freshman Elisa Villafana said the efforts of the offense were not supported by a strong defense.“I think the switch in the safety position was good,” she said. “But I think our defense gets a little lazy sometimes.”The heavy attendance of Louisville fans also made an impression on the Irish. Metzinger said he was surprised at the large number of Cardinals fans he saw tailgating in the lots, and it was definitely the greatest showing of opposing fans this season.Villafana said while some of the chanting from the opposing team was obnoxious, they were generally a well-behaved crowd. While the sea of red shirts loudly supported their team during the game, one post-game incident left a bad impression on some Irish fans.“It was a little rude, their chanting through the ‘Alma Mater,’” freshman Sheridan Foy said. “That was not okay.”The traditions of senior day were alive and well, with a massive marshmallow fight breaking out during half time.“It was a good time,” Metzinger said. “With the rain, it was especially gross, and they stuck everywhere. It was a lot of fun to find your friends around you and just start whipping the marshmallows everywhere.”Students in other sections enjoyed watching the white frenzy erupt in the senior section.“It looked cool,” Brennan said. “I’m excited to do that as a senior. It will be awesome.”Despite the game’s disappointing conclusion, the seniors enjoyed their traditional senior day privilege of walking onto the field after the game.“It was a lot of fun,” Metzinger said. “I didn’t really become emotional during the game or when we were on the field, but when we were leaving through the tunnel and you can see Touchdown Jesus, that was a really cool moment, really surreal. I will always remember and cherish that.”Notre Dame fans now turn their attention toward the upcoming game against USC. The Irish hope to close their season with a victory over their longtime rivals this Saturday in Los Angeles.Tags: 2014 Football Season, cardinals, Louisville, Senior Daylast_img read more

Federal court again rules against Notre Dame in HHS lawsuit

first_imgThe U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has once again rejected Notre Dame’s request for relief from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring health insurance to cover contraception, the latest setback for the University in a three-year-long legal battle, according to court documents released Wednesday.On March 9, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the lower court, asking it to revisit its Feb. 24, 2014 decision that the University does not qualify for an injunction against the mandate that requires all employers to provide contraception to their employees as part of their health care program.In light of the Supreme Court’s June 30, 2014 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, a for-profit institution also seeking relief from the mandate, the higher court vacated the circuit court’s decision and ordered the case to be reconsidered.In Tuesday’s ruling, the 7th Circuit voted 2-1 against Notre Dame, the same margin of the original decision.Judge Richard Posner wrote the opinion for the majority, which stated the University’s health care providers, Aetna and Meritain, not Notre Dame, were the institutions responsible for providing birth control to employees, and the contract between the University and the companies did not mean Notre Dame was still acting as a “conduit” for contraceptive care.“Although Notre Dame is the final arbiter of its religious beliefs, it is for the courts to determine whether the law actually forces Notre Dame to act in a way that would violate those beliefs,” Posner wrote. “As far as we can determine from the very limited record, the only ‘conduit’ is between the companies and Notre Dame students and staff; the university has stepped aside.”The path forward for the University, which has now had its request for an injunction denied three times, once by the district court and twice by the circuit court, remains unclear.“We are reviewing the 50 pages of opinions and weighing our options,” University spokesperson Paul Browne said in a statement.Tags: 7th circuit court of appeals, HHS Lawsuit, HHS Mandate, U.S. Supreme Courtlast_img read more

Justice Friday examines women’s health nationally and at Saint Mary’s

first_imgThis week’s installment of the Justice Friday series at Saint Mary’s focused on barriers to health care services, mental health services and some of the health-related resources on the College’s campus. The talk was hosted by a panel of students and the director of Health and Counseling Center at Saint Mary’s.Junior Caylin McCallick spoke about low income health care and the racial and ethnic disparities for receiving health care.“In Indiana, per 1,000 live births, 13 black babies die … only seven of every 1,000 white babies die,” she said. “Low-income families have a higher risk of cancer and other health related issues.”She said children in low-income families, including those enrolled in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often do not have access to health care, which can lead to further health and financial struggles.“Low-income children are often on the SNAP program, and it’s hard to get good quality, nutritious food on that program,” she said. “Children need nutrients to develop their bodies and minds. They don’t get these nutrients, and then they don’t have health care to back them up when they develop problems like asthma or dental issues, which furthers their poverty because they have to pay for everything out of pocket.”McCallick said an expansion on the Affordable Care Act could benefit low-income women.“Over a woman’s lifetime, her total health costs are $361,200, and that is not affordable for everybody,” she said. “Under the Affordable Care Act, a lot of women would be eligible to receive Medicaid. Medicaid for low-income patients is an expansion … and only 31 states are allowing this expansion as of July 16.”McCallick said other issues factor into healthcare disparities as well.“One article I read claimed that general healthcare disparities are a social justice problem,” McCallick said. “… Even if we had universal healthcare and applied universal healthcare, we would still have these disparities because racism is a social problem that often affects [a patient’s] quality of care; it affects diagnosis.”Senior Bri O’Brien offered statistics about mental illness and said the American healthcare system has a gap that can prevent those with mental illness from being covered.“Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to expand their coverage, but many are choosing not to,” she said. “[Because of] that, there is this Medicaid gap where people can’t afford coverage but they make enough to where they aren’t eligible or they’re too young for coverage. So that leaves about 3.9 percentage of adults in America that have a mental illness uninsured because of this Medicaid gap.”Elizabeth Fourman is a board-certified OB/GYN nurse practitioner and currently serves as director of the College’s Health and Counseling services. She listed some of the services that the College offers in the area of women’s health.“We offer any women’s health tests outside of surgery and ultrasounds,” she said. “For example, we can provide STI testing, pregnancy tests, urinalysis and pap smears.”Fourman said the counselors at Saint Mary’s are another resource the health and counseling center provides.“We have three trained and trustworthy counselors,” she said. “… They are all very open and welcoming and want to help students with whatever they need with no agenda.”In addition to nurses and counselors, Fourman said the center has psychiatrists and physicians on a limited basis.“We have a psychiatrist that comes in once a week that is a free resource. … You can see a nurse and be directed to a physician who comes in once a week as well,” she said.Fourman said some resources available at the center are free, but others are not.“The exams and appointments are free, however, the lab tests must be paid for,” she said. “You can choose to file labs with insurance or not, and they are offered at a large discount for Saint Mary’s women.”The Justice Friday series takes place every Friday from 12-12:50 p.m. in the Student Center.Tags: Justice Fridays, Women’s Healthlast_img read more

Campus Ministry hosts Diwali celebration

first_imgNotre Dame Campus Ministry held the annual celebration of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in the LaFortune Student Center Ballroom this Sunday. The event, which lasted from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., celebrated the Hindu New Year.According to the Campus Ministry website, this event is the first in their “Prayer From Around the World” series, which is an opportunity for the Notre Dame community to learn about different religious celebrations and traditions.“Diwali is about celebrating good over evil, and the fact that there is light and love and good in the world despite all the bad things that go on every day,” Sneha Modi, undergraduate president of the Indian Association of Notre Dame (IAND), said.According to Modi, the festival is held to honor the return of the Indian god, Rama and his wife from a 14-year exile. As a result, candles are lit in order to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. Commonly called the Indian New Year, this celebration is filled with lights, food, colorful decorations and music.“For me, Diwali is a time for families to socialize, share sweets and set off fireworks,” graduate president of IAND Nishant Singh said. “All of the families clean their homes and light candles to show off their house to the gods. They invite them to give their family wealth and luck for the new year.”According to Singh, during Diwali, the woman of the house performs prayers, while the children bring plates of sweets to their neighbors.Singh said IAND brought in the local Hindu priest to say the prayers that are typically performed on Diwali. These prayers invite the gods to bless the families with an auspicious new year.“The local Hindu temple has been so generous to us. The women of the temple made and donated table decorations for the event,” Priscilla Wong, campus director for multicultural student ministry, said.Modi said the event, which has been held at Notre Dame for over 20 years, served vegetarian Indian cuisine, a sacred Hindu tradition. She said she expected a turnout of 200 people.Singh, who was raised in India, said the event holds a special place in his heart.“Diwali is about family. It’s about friends. It’s about happy times and just everything that’s fun about growing up in India,” he said.Tags: Campus Ministry, Diwali, IANDlast_img read more