When they took office in April as the only team of two sophomores to become student body president and vice president, Catherine Soler and Andrew Bell said they set realistic goals for themselves. Since April, Soler and Bell have accomplished two out of three main campaign platform goals of creating a textbook rental program, holding a block party at Eddy Street Commons and renovating DeBartolo Hall’s lounge area. Textbook rental Soler and Bell’s campaign platform was instituting a textbook rental program at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, which they launched this semester. “It was a really successful in its first semester here, so we’re really excited that that went well and we’re able to fulfill that promise,” Soler said. Bell said while they succeeded in starting the rental program, the system is not yet perfected. “We tried to be realistic in what the first semester of the program would look like,” Bell said. Through both online and paper surveys, student government complied feedback about the rental system as students rented books. Many students wished more textbooks were available for rent, Bell said. The nationwide list of rentable texts is growing, and on campus Bell said student government sent letters to deans and department chairs about the program. If Notre Dame professors commit to using a textbook for four consecutive semesters, students can rent that book. Bell said they also plan to survey students as they return their books and compile feedback about the entire process. Community relations Soler and Bell campaigned on a promise to continue the community relations efforts of their predecessors, but community relations became especially important for their administration this semester. With a spike in alcohol-related student arrests during the summer and first few weeks of the school year, they launched the beND campaign, an initiative named after both the city of South Bend and the University. The initiative, with catch phrases such as “be engaged,” “be informed” and “be educated,” began in September. While events such as a block party at Eddy Street Commons fulfilled initial campaign promises, beND has also included new ideas such as a panel discussion and lecture about off-campus partying and the law. “[beND is] a way for us to represent ourselves in the community not just as student leaders but as the whole student body,” Soler said. “So I think the beND just encapsulated everything we wanted to do under community relations.” Since its start, Soler said beND has expanded to other parts of student government, such as encouraging voter registration and supporting South Bend’s Perley Elementary School. The eND Hunger initiative also works with the local community to address hunger issues and provide sustainable food options in South Bend, which Bell said is aimed at “really impacting lives.” “We talk a lot about being good neighbors,” he said, “but there are people who live right down the street who don’t have food.” Soler said the variety of initiatives within beND demonstrates the many ways in which Notre Dame students can represent themselves to the broader community. “Our whole administration really bought into beND,” Soler said. “So I think it’s really trickled down into our whole administration.” ‘It was great to step up’ Also in light of student arrests at the beginning of the school year, Soler and Bell worked directly with local law enforcement. “We took on a much larger role than we really imagined we would,” Soler said. During the first few weeks of the school year while there were a high number of arrests, Soler said student government was in close communication with University administrators. She said she and Bell expressed their desire to meet with local law enforcement representatives and ask questions on behalf of students. The University put Soler and Bell in contact with both South Bend Police and Indiana State Excise Police in September. “It’s really important to give a face to the students,” Soler said about her role as a liaison between students and police officers. “It was great to step up as students and do something.” They met twice with South Bend Police, once with Excise Police and brought representatives from both groups to campus for their educational panel discussion open to the entire student body. Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle told The Observer last week that Soler and Bell played a significant role in working with students, University officials and law enforcement to handle the arrests. “Especially with a lot of the off-campus issues, the reason that we have found a bit of a détente with law enforcement has to do with Catherine and Andrew and how they have been leaders among their peers,” Doyle said. Soler and Bell also remain in contact with law enforcement since the arrests. “This is a big part of what we’re trying to do now, is to continue those relationships,” Soler said. “We continue to talk to them via e-mail now … We see a lot of people that we worked with when this whole thing happened at CCAC [Community/Campus Advisory Coalition] meetings and in the community.” Soler said continuing these relationships will be important during the next part of her term. “We’re continuing to be a part of the community in the ways that we are,” she said. Smaller changes Soler and Bell, like student government leaders before them, have also tried to make themselves accessible to students. Earlier this semester, student government hosted a “Whine Week,” during which they tried to gather feedback and suggestions from the student body. “Whine week was really great for us,” Soler said. “We got a ton of feedback. … It was a way to actively seek out the opinions of the student body.” Bell said suggestions from that week ranged from making changes in the dining halls — other than the varieties of hummus student government has already worked to add this semester — to adding more bike racks around campus. While many of the suggestions seem like small things, Bell said they would improve campus. One improvement to campus from Soler and Bell’s campaign platform is the renovation to the DeBartolo Lounge, which Bell said has been a topic of regular meetings and students should “stay tuned” for more information. ‘Puts everything in perspective’ As leaders of the student body, Soler and Bell faced a time this semester when their campaign promises seemed unimportant. After junior Declan Sullivan died at the end of October, student government worked to facilitate the Mass of Remembrance in his honor, collect cards for his family, send flowers on behalf of the student body and pass out pins with Sullivan’s initials at the last home football game of the season. “I think that it is a moment that we were extremely proud and humbled and honored to be able to be in this position and support Declan’s friends and family during that time,” Soler said. “It was really special to be able to help a university at a time like that.” Soler said it was also the most difficult time for her personally as student body president. “We can look back on our campaign goals … and we can have our list of priorities, but when something like that happens,” Bell said, “the loss that it was to the Notre Dame family kind of puts everything in perspective.” ‘Hands-off approach’ Especially during difficult periods like the end of October, Soler and Bell said they were grateful for the trust they could place on the rest of the students within their administration. “People just stepped up, no questions asked,” Soler said. This leadership extends beyond special circumstances, as Soler said they like to allow committee members and other leaders to take initiative rather than control all choices. “It’s sort of a hands-off approach that we hope empowers people,” Bell said. Soler said although student government leaders joke about her leading yoga poses during Council of Representatives meetings and pushing for more hummus in the dining halls, she likes to have a laidback leadership style. “I think [the joking] lightens the mood,” she said. “I think it’s very relaxed but I think we’re successful and hopefully that environment has helped people to do their best.” Grade: B+ Soler and Bell have accomplished their most important campaign promises since taking office in April. This semester, they have led their administration through unexpected and difficult situations. Yet while they continue to fulfill their campaign promises, their initiatives have not gone above and beyond to make major changes for the Notre Dame student body.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion There’s a Native American Proverb: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Perhaps that’s what Chevrolet was thinking when it wouldn’t allow Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to make his announcement on the rollback of emissions standards in front of its headquarters. For me, it was a sign that a shred of decency still exists among the rapacious capitalists. Applauding the rollback of air emission standards and fuel mileage requirements for automobiles just looks bad.As Pruitt turns the EPA into the “Environmental Polluting Agency,” my thoughts turn to another man, Donald Trump. Eighteen women have accused that man of sexual assault. I don’t remember even one such accusation for his predecessor.I will admit that Trump threw back the curtain to reveal a corrupt government. But instead of draining the swamp, he’s arrived to feed the beast.The definition of “cynical” is to show contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality. In this cynical Trump era, I applaud Chevy for refusing to engage in the farce of our EPA administrator. I only wish Mother Earth could also shun Scott Pruitt. Instead on “Earth Day,” she will cry out “Me too.”Deborah KrolFultonhamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18 read more
“Today, I successfully defended my commandant’s paper to be promoted to a full Colonel,” he wrote.Pacquiao, who is a senator in the Philippines, lost his WBO world welterweight title in a shock defeat by Australian Jeff Horn in July.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Manny Pacquiao has lived a varied life outside of the ring and now the former eight-weight world champion has announced he has been promoted to the role of colonel in the Philippines Army.The 38-year-old Filipino, who is an army reservist and previously held the role of lieutenant colonel, posted a series of pictures yesterday on Instagram in his army fatigues. read more
OxyContin – the brand name for oxycodone – has been blamed for hundreds of deaths across the country. Its intended slow-release effect can be easily circumvented, and abuse has been high in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Kentucky officials decided to pursue the lawsuit after the drug maker and three of its current or former executives pleaded guilty in May to misleading the public about the drug’s risk of addiction. They agreed to pay $634.5 million in fines for claiming the drug was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other medications. The plea agreement came two days after the company agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and Washington, D.C., to settle complaints that it encouraged physicians to overprescribe the drug. The company said it accepted responsibility for “past misstatements” by company officials. “We do not believe, however, that those misstatement were responsible for individuals’ abuse of OxyContin,” the statement said. In 2006, 484 people died from drug overdoses in Kentucky, according to the state medical examiner’s annual report. It found that oxycodone was the chief cause in 16 percent of the deaths. The plaintiffs say abuse of prescription drugs including Oxycontin is so rampant in Pike County that the jail underwent a $5.6 million expansion in 2005 to deal with the problem. “It’s ironic that those who manufacture a drug that is meant to ease the pain of those suffering from debilitating diseases and who truly need it have in fact inflicted so much pain by being deceptive and greedy,” said Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! COURTS: Kentucky wants compensation for costs incurred by users of “hillbilly heroin.” By Samira Jafari THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky officials on Thursday sued the manufacturer of OxyContin, the prescription painkiller dubbed “hillbilly heroin,” because of widespread abuse in Appalachia. A lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo and Pike County officials demands millions in compensation from drug maker Purdue Pharma. “Make no mistake about it – this is war,” said Gary C. Johnson, the county’s outside counsel who is handling the case. The suit seeks reimbursement for costs incurred in drug-abuse programs, law enforcement and prescription payments through Medicaid and the Kentucky Pharmaceutical Assistance program. In a statement, Purdue Pharma officials said OxyContin’s packaging warns against the dangers of abusing the drug and that the company shouldn’t be held responsible for individuals do. Filed in Pike County Circuit Court, the lawsuit seeks class-action status for other “similarly situated” counties in the state. It seeks unspecified punitive damages and the creation of a court-monitored fund, financed by Purdue Pharma, that would pay for a program that would notify users of the risks of the drug and spur research on the effects of the drug, among other initiatives. read more