Grads work to expand impact of Haiti documentary

first_imgNotre Dame graduate Justin Brandon can trace the inspiration for his work on a 2006 documentary about a rural Haitian town to a summer spent doing service through the Center for Social Concerns.Now, Brandon and two friends have taken their project back to Notre Dame through the use of Innovation Park, a technology park launched by the University that opened this fall.Brandon, along with 2005 graduates Brian McElroy and Daniel Schnorr, filmed, directed and produced the documentary, “The Road to Fondwa.” It chronicles the Haitian people’s quest for development of the small rural town of Fondwa, Haiti.“The film is not your standard guilt trip, tear jerking movie that tries to make audience feel sorry. Fondwa has a hopeful story,” he said.Brandon said he, McElroy and Schnorr wanted to expand the impact of the documentary — especially in light of the Jan. 12 earthquake — so they formed a business that now operates out of Innovation Park. “Once earthquake hit, everything changed,” Brandon said. “We needed to have a strategy to scale up the efforts of the film distribution and that’s where Innovation Park came in.”As a student, Brandon, a graduate of the class of 2004, spent a summer in Ghana participating in an International Summer Service Learning Project (ISSLP). Through this project, he met McElroy and Schnorr. Schnorr had spent the summer in Ecuador and McElroy, Fondwa, Haiti.“We all met through our ISSLPs, and we came up with the idea to shoot a documentary in Haiti,” Brandon said. “We raised a little money, went down and didn’t know what we were doing. None of us took any film classes at Notre Dame.”But the Notre Dame graduates succeeded in making the film, and they now travel, holding screenings of the documentary to showcase the development and culture of Fondwa.The documentary focuses on the development of Fondwa, a rural town of about 8,000. The people work to spur growth by building a road through the town then expanding the University of Fondwa, which was established in 2004.“[The university] was an important first step for development of the town,” Brandon said. “There are about 20 kids in each class, and they’ve graduated one class so far. In the end of the film, we talk about the university as the crown jewel of community.”But Brandon said the recent earthquake devastated the town, and pushed him, McElroy and Schnorr to extend the reach of the documentary and raise money for relief.“All the buildings in Fondwa were destroyed, including people’s houses. The university was flattened,” Brandon said. “But people are working to raise money to rebuild it bigger and better.”After the earthquake, Brandon said they decided to release the film for free viewing on YouTube to draw attention to the town and the university.“The whole world was able to see the negativity, the really dismal images being shown on TV. We wanted to show a more hopeful message online,” he said.Brandon said the business they run out of Innovation Park is not for profit.“We are covering our own costs, gas costs and making the DVDs, but after that, we are using any money that comes in to keep the business going, promoting the film and the Web site,” he said. “Anything that’s left over, we are donating directly to Fondwa.”Brandon said he and the other filmmakers are looking for groups and students who want to do screenings of the documentary in order to raise awareness and funds for the relief effort.“We have raised a few thousand,” he said. “It isn’t all that much, but in the broader scene, we released the film for free and told anyone that if they want a screening of film, they can do that for free except that they had to buy the DVD.”Brandon said Innovation Park is an ideal workspace for promoting the documentary.“It’s important for me to have a place to come and work around other people that think similar way that I’m thinking,” he said. “It’s an office space but it’s more than that.”Brandon said he uses the Greenhouse facility in the park, and has networking and mentoring opportunities from people also using the Greenhouse that have experience launching a business.His company was an attractive option for Innovation Park as well, Brandon said.“Our business is different from the other projects they take on. A lot are along lines of physical sciences,” he said. “Ours is quite different and it’s a good perspective to bring into the park because it’s a finished product that already has a revenue stream.”Many of the other businesses launching out of Innovation Park are still in the early stages of establishment, Brandon said.“Innovation Park wishes to help Road to Fondwa, LLC, find ways to market this powerful documentary as a tool to help raise additional funds for critical earthquake relief operations,” David Brenner, president and CEO of Innovation Park said of the business in a press release.Visit http://fondwa.org for more informationBrandon said he hopes the business will help with the Haitian relief effort, but also draw attention to the positive side of Haiti.“It’s much more of an uplifting story, but not contrived,” he said. “People there have a hopeful spirit and have accomplished a tremendous amount in past few decades.”last_img read more

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Students observe game days abroad

first_img “After our two game watches, I think the French culture isn’t particularly fond of American football, or at least its fans,” she said. “We always get really odd looks when we show up to the pubs with our jerseys and other game day gear on.” Junior Liz Ledden, who is studying abroad in Toledo, Spain, said she and her fellow Domers found a venue they thought would be more conducive to watching a Notre Dame football game.  “The entire Toledo program went to an Irish pub we found in Madrid,” she said. “It felt a little weird though, because we were in Spain but we had a little bit of Notre Dame there with us.” Junior Shannon McNaught, who is studying abroad in Angers, France, said she and the other students in her program faced multiple difficulties in trying to find a location to cheer the Irish on against Michigan.  For those students who have been able to watch the games, they said they have had interesting experiences with locals who haven’t been able to totally understand the culture of Notre Dame football. “Watching football games in China is really difficult,” said junior Jia Hua Juszczak, who is studying in Bejing. “The TV and internet censorship definitely limits the media outlets we can use.” Hundreds of Notre Dame sophomores and juniors are scattered across the globe in various study abroad programs, but the majority of students are still finding ways to stay connected to the school through football.   This is sometimes easier said than done.  McNaught said the game watches in France have made her miss the excitement of being in the stadium, but there are other aspects of watching the game in another country that spoil the atmosphere.  “Just watching the game, even from a bar in Madrid, made all of us feel the whole football Saturday feeling again and made us miss campus,” Ledden said. Other students haven’t had as much luck finding a means of watching the game due to the political climate of the country they are studying in. Unfortunately for McNaught and her classmates, there were more difficulties to face during the game than quarterback Dayne Crist’s blurry vision.  “We went to a pub where we planned to watch the game on the French international sports channel but they were showing Formula 1 highlights,” she said. “After some finagling with the bartender, we downloaded a VPN system onto his computer and hooked it up to the big screen to watch.” Students generally spend the morning of a Notre Dame football game planning a tailgate, checking to make sure they have their tickets and listening to the marching band play the Victory March on the way to Notre Dame Stadium. For most students, a typical game day rarely consists of arguing with a bartender in French about finding a local Internet connection so the game can be broadcast on a laptop. “There are some alumni here in Bejing who have a sling box so they can watch the games directly from the U.S., but there is still the time difference,” he said. “Bejing is 12 hours ahead of Eastern time so most football games are played at 3 a.m. on Sundays. So either way, it’s not ideal.” “The Spaniards who were in the bar with us thought we were pretty entertaining, to say the least,” Ledden said. “They were trying to watch their fútbol game on the TV next to us, but we were so much louder so I think they got a bit annoyed.” Juszczak wasn’t able to watch either of the first two football games due to censorship issues as well as other factors that come with living in a country thousands of miles from home.  So go the trials and tribulations of organizing a game watch while abroad.   “You can’t help but feel like something is wrong when the British announcer on Eurosport2 keeps referring to the Notre Dame quarterback as ‘Jake Montana’ throughout the entire broadcast,” she said. While the Spanish might have found the Irish fans a mild annoyance, McNaught said the French were a bit more open with their hostility. While students are thrilled to be in a different country and immersed in a different culture, they said they never miss Notre Dame more than on Saturdays. “The resolution on the screen was extremely poor and at the end of the third quarter, the bartender got confused and quit the Internet,” she said. “After that, we just went to Plan B and watched the rest of the game on ESPN.com on our friend’s Blackberry.”last_img read more

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ND unites over Sudan conflict

first_img “Because of Internet and news, people in Sudan, even as poor and isolated as that country is, know when people in this country and people in the world are working on their behalf,” Powers said. “Showing our solidarity with them is important so they know that the world is paying attention.” Kroc Institute for International Studies specialist Gerard Powers said students need to learn about the looming crisis as the referendum in January approaches. Notre Dame students will raise their hands in peace signs Saturday to capture a photograph that will show solidarity with efforts to avoid civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. As part of the University’s work to spotlight the growing conflict, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will circulate this image, junior student government social concerns chair Patrick McCormick said.  Students successfully lobbied the United States government to use the term “genocide” for the first time in American history when describing human rights violations in Darfur, McCormick said. Bishop Paride Taban, Bishop Daniel Adwok Marko Kur and director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute John Ashworth spoke at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies on Oct. 5 on the upcoming referendum in Sudan.  “Students lend a particularly morally sensitive voice to international issues because that voice is not bogged down in the intricacies of policy and government. I think the need to act goes back to who we are as the leading Catholic university in the United States,” McCormick said. “Student government cannot just issue its opinion on any issue that comes before the public on a national or international scale. This is about the responsibility to use the moral voice of this university because this conflict can directly impact the lives of students.” Any student wishing to participate in the photo opportunity for CRS can meet at 10:45 a.m. Saturday in front of Rolf’s Sports Recreation Center. The peace agreement established a six-year period for democratic reforms and national elections. As the referendum approached, tensions rose between the two sides. Both stockpiled weapons in preparation for what needed to be a peaceful voting process, McCormick said.  Notre Dame got involved when CRS president Ken Hackett spoke at the Center for Social Concern on this year’s theme “Charity in Truth.” Hackett said acting for peace in Sudan is a way to practice this theme on an international level.   The resolution was presented to the delegation of bishops as a sign that students were in solidarity with their efforts to secure sustainable peace in Sudan.  McCormick presented a resolution to student senate last week to show Notre Dame support for the full implementation of the CPA. The senators passed the resolution unanimously. The pivotal moment for Notre Dame was the arrival of a delegation from the Sudan Conference of Catholic Bishops, McCormick said.center_img Outside of the actions by the international community and major players within Sudan, Powers said publicly showing support for the Sudanese people is critical. “Now we must ask ourselves to define how inclusive the Notre Dame family is and how far the Dome on which Mary stands can reach,” McCormick said.  “There is a precedent for student involvement in international issues,” McCormick said. “It is as simple as raising a voice. This is a classic example of how change can come from the bottom up.” The resolution said the student body would work to raise awareness about the peace agreement and possible conflict in Sudan.  The northern and southern parts of Sudan have been in conflict for more than 50 years. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) formally ended civil war in 2005 and scheduled a referendum for Jan. 9, 2011.  Sudanese people will then vote on secession for Southern Sudan, McCormick said.  “Part of their motivation to come here was to visit the Kroc Institute, one of the leading centers for peace-building in the world,” McCormick said. “But the delegation was also interested in reaching out to the Catholic community in the United States and did that in a symbolic way at Notre Dame.” “There is a great opportunity for Notre Dame to be in a leadership role in working with other universities to develop a coalition around Sudan,” Powers said. The delegation traveled from Notre Dame’s campus to Washington and New York City for meetings with government officials and with the United Nations.  “The thought that comes to my mind is this vision that Father Hesburgh had of Notre Dame as a lighthouse and a crossroads,” McCormick said. “With the arrival of the Sudanese delegation, we had the opportunity to sit at that crossroads. We now have the opportunity to serve as a lighthouse and be a beacon for securing justice in Sudan.” “We face a situation where the United States has a chance to prevent another conflict in Africa before it happens,” McCormick said. “We want to signal as student government that the Notre Dame student body is ready to call for change.”  “We want to lend the student voice to a national conversation that has not taken place on the scale that it should,” McCormick said. “We promise ‘never again’ after violent conflicts like the genocide in Darfur, and Notre Dame students want to make ‘never again’ more than just words for Sudan.”last_img read more

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Class studies homelessness

first_imgFor many Notre Dame students, the concept of homelessness in America may only represent a social problem far removed from their lives, but senior Emily Salvaterra said she confronts the reality of the issue on a weekly basis. As students in Professor Benedict Giamo’s American Studies course, titled “Confronting Homelessness in the U.S.,” Salvaterra and her peers commit at least three hours per week to volunteering at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend. “The whole idea of this class is to bring a national social issue into a local perspective,” Salvaterra said. “The experiential learning component is really important to understanding homelessness, and you don’t get the chance to do things like this in every class.” The course, which Giamo has taught since his arrival at Notre Dame in 1990, examines the conditions of extreme poverty and homelessness within the context of American culture and society. It studies the issue from historical, sociological and economic perspectives. However, Giamo said the experiential learning aspect of the course is crucial to students’ grasp of homelessness as a real issue. “I think it’s very important for students to account for homelessness as an academic area and as a real, living presence in contemporary society,” Giamo said. “Homelessness is still very much a social problem, and it has not been ameliorated.” Students sharpen their skills in integrating theory and practice by writing journal entries about each volunteer experience at the Center for the Homeless. They take on various service roles in their work at the Center, including tutoring, overseeing children’s activities, working at the front desk or in the kitchen and participating in after-school programs for children. In general, Giamo said he encourages his students to interact with homelessness as much as possible. “I want students to encounter and put a face on homelessness,” Giamo said. “The more students interact with the homeless, the more they will be able to understand individual stories of homelessness.” Salvaterra said she brought her previous experience as a summer intern at the Center for the Homeless into her academic and practical understanding of the issue during the course. “I’ve always been interested in issues of homelessness, so I went out of my way to take the class because I wanted to connect my academic pursuits with volunteering,” Salvaterra said. “Literally confronting homelessness at the shelter causes you to confront your own biases and learn about people in ways that you can’t in a regular class.” Academically, the course covers the issue of homelessness from the late 19th-century to the present day, highlighting the social and economic changes that contributed to shifts in patterns of homelessness in the U.S., Giamo said. He said he wanted to give his students a sense of the history of homelessness by studying the issue from its initial identification as a social problem. For this reason, the first half of the course focuses on poverty and homelessness in New York City and other urban areas from the turn of the century to the 1970s. “The social and economic forces of the Civil War helped create conditions of urban poverty after the war,” Giamo said. “At the end of the century, social investigators encountered the poor and homeless in slums and tenements, and they wrote about it for a middle-class American audience.” Giamo said he covers homelessness from 1980 to the present in the second half of the course. According to Giamo, the importance and effectiveness of the experiential learning aspect of the course comes through in students’ documentary accounts of their experiences, which “forces them to integrate the objective, ethnographic dimension of the experience with the subjective dimension — their own feelings and impressions about homelessness.” Giamo said students who have experience with the issue from their time studying abroad in London and Dublin now have intercultural ideas about homelessness. “It’s interesting because homelessness is a global problem in advanced industrial countries,” Giamo said. “Local microanalysis is at the center of this course, but we are aware that homelessness is a national and global phenomenon.”last_img read more

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Lecture highlights morality of international law

first_imgSteven R. Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, spoke at Notre Dame Law School Monday afternoon. His lecture focused on the phrase “thin justice” and its association with the morality of international law. “Global justice remains one of the most compelling issues of our time,” Ratner said. He followed by explaining that philosophy, political science, anthropology, history and international law are among a number of disciplines central to debates on global justice. One of the main contributors to the construction of theories on global justice stems from philosophy. “Philosophers of global justice have more often than not stayed clear of legal institutions, and I think this neglect is unfortunate because international law transforms policy prescriptions and ethical ideas into blinding norms and implementation processes,” Ratner said. Unfortunately modern-day lawyers, especially those involved in academia, Ratner said, cast global justice to the side. These lawyers exhibit a tendency to draw a parallel between global justice and those facing marginalization. “Without ethics the law of global justice is ad hoc,” Ratner said. Ratner described his project as having a twofold thesis. The first deals with core norms of the international legal system he said he believes are central to laying the foundation for a world order based on justice. “Even if they came about as a result of political compromise, power of politics, and historical contingencies, [core norms] largely already conform to an ethical vision of justice, one that I term thin justice,” Ratner said. The second aspect of Ratner’s thesis surrounds present-day laws and institutions. Their fatal flaw rests in their inability, in some cases, to even meet the thin standard of justice, he said. In other cases, they simply exist and function at too great a distance from the thicker standard. In order to better examine the level of morality at which these rules operate, ethical theory can be embraced. “I see global justice as about assigning rights and duties to global actors so that it is clear what each actor is entitled to require to do or to have,” Ratner said. “Norms of international law are just if they assign those rights and duties in a way that meets a substantive standard of justice.” Ratner said two pillars form the basis of global justice. The first states the qualifications international law must uphold in order to be considered just. He said this pillar calls for the necessity of rules to promote or at least not to decrease peace internationally. The second pillar ensures basic human dignity is not damaged. “There has to be satisfaction of both the pillars for a norm to meet the standard of thin justice,” Ratner said. The idea of “thin justice” is based on Michael Walzer’s book, “Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad.” Though Ratner said he does not endorse Walzer’s theories, he did gather his distinction between thick and thin morality from this author. Ratner said Walzer argues that thin morality is a moral minimum as well as a universal idea that reflects values from cultures worldwide. It is from such cultures that people can form thicker moralities within a community, he said. Ratner, however, said he believes that society can do better than this thin justice across communities. “I do think that the justice reflected within international law is thin in the sense that it is less dense and certainly less demanding on individuals than the justice envisioned by philosophers as that needed for domestic societies,” Ratner said. Though this thin justice is not that toward which the world should strive, it is nonetheless a very real form of justice present in the world today. An example of such thin justice, Ratner said, is the self-determination of core international law. “Certainly we can and should strive for thicker justice at the international level, but we must first see the moral basis of what international law already has.”last_img read more

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Finding Nemo at the Great Barrier Reef

first_imgPERTH, Australia – What happens after the Notre Dame students in Perth have slammed shut their underused textbooks, ripped apart all paper evidence of the past semester and tossed away half their clothes to make room for cliché stuffed koalas and Australian bro tanks? The answer for most of us is travel. When classes ended Nov. 2, we had a week of studying before exams Nov. 10 through 24. Some of us finished our exams the first week of the period, but a few unfortunate souls had an exam the day before we flew out of Perth. I finished in the middle of the second week, which left me with three days to finish exploring and say goodbye to the wonderful Australians and other international students who lived at St. Thomas More College with us. Regardless of when we were able to officially swear away all forms of study, we all departed Perth on Nov. 25, free at last and looking forward to a few weeks of travel. Earlier in the semester, we broke into travel groups of six to 10 people. We then called the Australian airline Qantas to change our tickets using the amazingly generous deal Notre Dame had set up for us, which basically allowed us to add stopovers for approximately $100 each. My group arranged our itinerary to include three days in Sydney, four in Cairns and two weeks in New Zealand. My roommate and I also managed to snag five days in Fiji. Cairns is a well-known tourist destination and the main outlet for expeditions in the Great Barrier Reef. From the home base of our hostel, we were able to venture onto the reef one amazingly sunny, tropical and probably typical day for North Queensland. We went with a company called Reef Experience, which took us to two different locations to snorkel, scuba dive and (the one unfortunate side effect of the day) get painfully sunburnt despite several layers of coconut-scented SPF 30. Sunburns aside, the reef was phenomenal. It’s located in the Coral Sea off the northeast coast of Australia on the continental shelf. We did, in fact, find Nemo (or at least, clownfish), and he looked quite happy in his little anemone. We also saw two massive sea turtles, stingrays and the most remarkable array of fish imaginable. The reef is home to more than 2,000 species of fish, which is almost double the number found in the Caribbean. There are over 30 species of marine mammals, including dolphins and whales, and six species of sea turtles alone. It was like swimming through a rainbow. The only thing that could have made the day more fulfilling was if Thomas Newman’s “Finding Nemo” score were playing underwater. This amazing day reinforced for me the significance of Australians’ ties to the ocean. There are many ways to see the reef, including glass-bottom boats, overnight sailing trips, helicopter tours, snorkeling and scuba adventures and jet boat rides. In Western Australia, the main attraction may have been the huge swells on the ocean’s surface, but in tropical North Queensland, the underwater dwellers stole the show. When I wrote this, we were about to leave Cairns for Auckland, New Zealand, where we were going to pick up a campervan and explore for two weeks. I’m beyond thrilled to continue traveling and can only hope that even more epic adventures await me. Contact Lauren Fritz at lfritz1@nd.edulast_img read more

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Saint Mary’s celebrates Heritage Week

first_imgSaint Mary’s College plans to celebrate its history and the 50th anniversary of the death of Sister Madeleva Wolff, the third president of Saint Mary’s, during next week’s Heritage Week festivities, senior Mollie Valencia said.Valencia, student director on the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, said many of the Heritage Week events would be centered around Sister Madeleva and the mark she left on the college.Junior Sarah Prezek, chair of the Mission Committee for Student Government Association said she worked with Valencia to plan the Heritage Week events.“One of the most important goals of this week is to connect Saint Mary’s women to the women that founded and continually support our college, the Sisters of the Holy Cross convent,” Prezek said.Valencia said Sister Eva Mary Hooker, professor of English, and John Kovach, library archivist, would host a reading Sunday of Wolff’s work at 2 p.m. in the Student Center Lounge.Riedinger House, the guesthouse on campus, would also host two tea parties Monday, Valencia said. She said students could attend an update on the capital campaign Saint Mary’s launched last year Tuesday in the Vander Vennett Theater.Valencia said it is important for students to understand how deeply Saint Mary’s was rooted in history and how much of that history could be found all across the campus, even in less-frequented areas.“There are so many different places on campus that most students do not know about, and these are the places highlighted during Heritage Week,” she said.To showcase some of this Saint Mary’s history, Sister Veronique Wiedower, vice president for mission, would lead Heritage Room tours Wednesday, Valencia said. She said students could also visit the college archives for tours Wednesday.Valencia said Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney would have dinner with juniors and seniors in Stapleton Lounge on Thursday.“This dinner will allow students to dine family-style, similar to the type of dinner that was traditionally served when Reignbeaux Lounge served as the school’s dining hall,” Prezek said.Prezek said long-sleeved T-shirts would be given out at each event, but she said she hopes that student choose to attend the events to learn more about the history of the college.“The events are important to attend because each event sheds a light on aspects of Saint Mary’s that makes it unique and beloved,” Prezek said. “Students are given an opportunity to learn about and experience Saint Mary’s history and traditions.”Tags: Carol Ann Mooney, Heritage Week, history, Saint Mary’s Collegelast_img read more

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Saint Mary’s students confront immigration

first_imgStudents discussed legal and illegal immigration at Saint Mary’s College on Friday as part of the discussion-based Justice Friday’s series. Notre Dame senior Juan Rangel and Saint Mary’s senior Dara Marquez led the conversation, asking students and faculty to consider their familiarity with the subject of immigration.Rangel, head of the Notre Dame immigration advocacy club, said he immigrated to the United States at a very young age but upon coming to Notre Dame, he realized  immigration was not widely discussed amongst students.“I realized that not a lot of people were aware of the issue,” he said. “Now I study immigration policy. On campus, I started a new advocacy club on immigration for immigration advocacy. I have also been active during my summers working for the Church in Chicago on immigration issues. This past summer I [was] in D.C. working on immigration policy.”Marquez said the discussion began with an assessment of legal and illegal immigration in the United States. The audience shared their knowledge of illegal immigration based on their familiarity with media stories and personal experiences similar to Rangel’s.The issue of the influx of migrant children from Central America came up quickly, Marquez said.“That was a big thing, [and] it still is regarding migrant children,” she said. “I know right now there a lot of loose ends with that [in] different areas.”Many migrants risk their lives traveling to the border based on information passed on by word of mouth that border patrol will allow them access if they are considered refugees, Marquez said.“If you were to get caught crossing the border, if you were a woman or child, then they would let you go,” she said. “Different migrants were saying that was happening, [and] that could be a loophole.”Instead of running away from border patrol agents, Rangel said migrants were willingly approaching the authorities, hoping they would be taken in and provided with care.“They first go into similar detention centers,” she said. “They are turning military bases into housing facilities for children until they are able to return them to family members or the courts.”Rangel said the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), a policy meant to clarify refugee status, was reauthorized in 2008. The bill enacted new human trafficking crimes, enhanced victim service provisions and strengthened the role of the Trafficking in Persons Office within the State Department.In order to be considered under refugee status, Rangel said migrants must present a legitimate reason for fleeing.“It was more of the conservative side [who] were proposing the change to adjust the issue and address the courts crisis that is occurring in the country right now,” he said. “A lot of these children did have refugee status when they were heard out. Five, 6 and 7-year-old children [are] asked to defend themselves. At this point, court cases are three years in advance.”The criteria for refugee status is considered hazy in terms of qualifications, Rangel said.“Technically, it would have to be discrimination based on criteria,” he said. “They found that the lawyers who were representing some of these kids were able to make connections to discrimination. Only 10 percent without lawyers were able to do that.”Marquez said deportation is another topic at large in the United States when it comes to immigration policy.“Aside from refugee children, there’s also the perspective of deportation, and there’s also the perspective of students,” she said. “They can’t receive financial aid. They couldn’t work legally in the country. They can’t get a driver’s license. Just recently, an executive order by the president said any undocumented student who fulfilled this criteria met the legal status.”With the executive order issued by President Obama, Marquez said students must meet a certain level of education with no criminal background.“Then they [are] able to obtain a temporary social security number,” she said. “You are able to renew it every two years as long as that policy’s active. There are some students who have already graduated college [and] can’t use their degree until deferred action.”Despite these temporary securities, Marquez said she is still considered undocumented in the eyes of the law.“My personal story is that I actually crossed through the port of entry when I was three years old,” she said. “U.S. citizens would sell the birth certificates of their children as ours.”Marquez said she encouraged the students to listen to the stories of other migrants in the future in order to not only consider the point of social justice, but also to learn from additional experiences.“There’s all these different perspectives on illegal immigration,” she said. “It’s just difficult for humans to have that piece of metal being the only thing that separates you. It kind of disrespects your own human dignity.”Tags: border patrol, Immigration, immigration advocacy, Justice Fridays, Mexico, policylast_img read more

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Bellacappella takes the stage at Saint Mary’s

first_imgAfter a snowy Thursday, Bellacappella, Saint Mary’s premier a cappella group, performed their appropriately titled fall concert, “Christmas in November,” Thursday evening at the O’Laughlin Auditorium.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer “Usually our concerts are later in the year, but there were a lot of scheduling conflicts,” Bellacappella president senior Nia Parillo said. “That’s why we named it ‘Christmas in November.’ It’s just kind of a classic, [where] we have some classic songs we sing.”Parillo said her fellow Bellas sang on the O’Laughlin stage without body microphones this year due to sound issues with the Little Theater next door, she said.“We spoke to the mic technicians, and we have mics, but we have standing mics,” she said. “We’re kicking it Bella old school, going back to our roots, pure acapella. This is probably the biggest one we’ve done yet, just kind of going with the flow of what’s happening. The girls have worked so hard. I couldn’t be more proud of them and all the hard work they’ve put in. No matter what happens behind the scenes, it’s going to be a great show.”The group added six new group members, all freshmen and sophomores, at the beginning of the year, Parillo said.“In the beginning of the year, we kind of just go through how Bella works, especially with the new girls we took on,” she said. “We took on six this year, and they’re all amazing.”When it came to preparing song arrangements, the women of Bella are advised to think of songs they enjoy listening to, whether they be current hits or oldies, Parillo said.“It’s usually just, ‘Give me a list, and let’s see how it goes,’” Parillo said. “When we listen to the music, we just kind of brainstorm together what the audience would want to listen to and what we would like to sing. That’s how we have the lineup that we have. We have new songs, we have old songs. That’s how we figured out what we were going to pick.”Parillo, an alto, arranges her own music, as does every member of Bella with her own personal technique, Parillo said.“We all arrange our own music,” she said. “Everyone in the group arranges their own songs. Some girls get ideas off of music notes. Some of the older girls, like myself, they listen by ear, so they listen to the song and figure out what they could do. They figure out what would sound best. It’s difficult, when you first start learning how to arrange. We do bring back older Bella arrangements. We all make our own. We just kind of throw the notes together.”Throughout football season, Bellacappella has toured tailgates across Notre Dame’s campus, singing some of its favorites while promoting the group, Parillo said. Several songs have become big fan favorites, she said.“A big crowd pleaser for people who have followed Bella is [Mika’s] ‘Grace Kelly,’” she said. “That’s a crowd-pleaser for the seniors. I like to think they’re all crowd favorites. When we do tailgate at Notre Dame, we start with ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll.’ That’s another step in our job, performing for them.”After their fall concert, Bella is now looking to the future for new arrangements, including a Disney medley, Parillo said.“We’re hoping to have a little medley next semester,” she said. “That’s going to be a little project over Christmas break. It’s on my Bella bucketlist. I have these little things I want to do before I graduate.”Parillo hopes to continue to make known Bella’s presence not only on Saint Mary’s campus but also beyond it, she said.“Some people don’t even know we have an a cappella group, and that kind of just bums us out,” she said. “We’re trying to get our name out not just on campus but outside of campus. We were asked here and there if Bella could perform. We’re trying to sing at Senior Dads [weekend], Junior Moms, Sophomore Parents, those kinds of events, just trying to get our name out there.”As a senior, Parillo said she knows the future of Bella fluctuates every year between graduating students and new members, she said.“The group changes significantly every year with who graduates,” she said. “The group sometimes takes a few steps forward and then a few steps back. Things change and things happen, but being the premiere a cappella group on campus, we’d hope Saint Mary’s would know we were here. We’re excited to perform, and we are willing to combine with groups. It’s really just bringing the community together. I just hope Bella takes a lot of steps forward from this great place we are now.”If there’s anything Parillo wants the audience to take away from Bella’s fall concert, it’s a sense of fun and enjoyment, she said.“I hope they’re like, ‘Wow, you can tell they put so much time into this,’ Parillo said. “A lot of this is give and take. It’s not, ‘We’re going to sing at you.’ I want them to have a great time. I want them to be in the moment with us.”Tags: bellacappella, Christmas in November, fall concert, Nia Parillo, O’Laughlin Auditoriumlast_img read more

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SMC’s Moreau Art Galleries display student artwork

first_imgStarting this week and extending through finals week, the Saint Mary’s Moreau Art Galleries will display a rotating exhibit of student work from the Department of Art’s Video, Advanced Painting and Drawing I classes.Professor of Art Ian Weaver said in an email, “Rather than have the gallery empty for the final month of the semester, myself and Professor [Julie] Tourtillotte decided to use the space to install the final works from our courses.“My students also have the required research they have done along with their work; it has been placed on the pedestals next to the work.”Tourtillotte, the instructor for this display, said in an email that the videos on display from the Department of Film Studies “are highlights from this semester’s work in ART 224 Video Art. The students in this course learn about camera use, lighting, audio and editing with Final Cut Pro.“The video exhibitions in Hammes Gallery will change over this Thursday to the students’ final project for this semester — two collaborative video installations titled, ‘There/Not There’ and ‘Nature Studies: Earth, Air, Fire, Water,’ she said. “These installations will remain on exhibit through next Thursday, Dec. 17.”Brigid Feasel, a junior with a double concentration in Studio and Art History and an emphasis in painting and writing is one of the art students whose work will appear in the exhibit. “My pieces are very detail-oriented and I like creating narratives within them, but I also don’t like taking things too seriously, so I like to add elements of humor to lighten up the scene,” Feasel said in an email. “My pieces in Moreau right now are made to essentially evoke the Romantic Landscape awe and introspective thoughts that are brought about when being exposed to the vastness of nature, but this isn’t a person’s journey, it’s a cow’s journey (where the humor comes in).“I’m still trying to figure out my own artistic aesthetic at this point, but I know I want to incorporate humor and narratives into my future work. The subjects, I guess, will come from inspiration somewhere or from my own imagination,” Feasel said.As an art major at Saint Mary’s, Feasel said she knows her professors will help her form her own style and push her artistic limits. Alexandra Pittel, a junior whose work is also displayed in the gallery, said in an email, “My work reflects my commitment to detail though the technical application as well as conceptual aspects of my research. Later in the semester, I started to think of this set of paintings as a Phenomenological progression with a cast of characters. My hope is that the viewer is able to engage with the pieces as a documentation of my reality, that they can interpret in a way that is meaningful to their own spiritual and physical consciousness. “The interdisciplinary approach that allows my work to be multi layered is very much fostered by the liberal arts environment here at Saint Mary’s and my wonderful professors.”Tags: Moreau Art Galleries, student artworklast_img read more

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