Ken Hackett, former president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will receive the 2012 Laetare Medal during the 2012 Commencement Ceremony. The Medal, established at Notre Dame in 1883, is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. It is awarded annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to a University press release. University President Fr. John Jenkins praised Hackett’s compassion and strong commitment to worldwide outreach throughout his tenure at CRS. “Ken Hackett has responded to a Gospel imperative with his entire career,” Jenkins said in the press release. “His direction of the Catholic Church’s outreach to the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and unsheltered of the world has blended administrative acumen with genuine compassion in a unique and exemplary way.” After serving CRS in various capacities since 1972, including a stint as its regional director for Africa and in several posts throughout Africa and Asia, Hackett was appointed president of CRS in 1993, according to the press release. He held the position for 18 years until his retirement in December. Hackett was succeeded by Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza College of Business. Hackett, a native of West Roxbury, Mass., became interested in international service when he enrolled in the Peace Corps following his graduation from Boston College in 1968 because he said “it seemed like an interesting thing to do.” Hackett’s experiences living in a Catholic mission and working in an agricultural cooperative project in rural Ghana demonstrated the “actual impact of American food aid on the health and well-being of very poor kids in a very isolated part of a West African country,” he said in the press release. After completing his Peace Corps assignment, he continued his commitment to service by beginning his CRS career in Sierra Leone, where he administered both a maternal and child health program and a nationwide leprosy control program. While serving as CRS regional director for Africa, Hackett addressed the agency’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 and supervised CRS operations in East Africa during the Somalian crisis of the 1990s, according to the press release. During his tenure as the agency’s sixth president, Hackett oversaw the redoubling of CRS efforts to engage the American Catholic community in worldwide service work by reaching out to Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes, and colleges and universities throughout the country. CRS also incorporated lay people into its board of directors under Hackett’s supervision. The organization, one of the world’s most effective and efficient in global relief and development, now operates in more than 100 countries with a staff of nearly 5,000, according to the press release. In addition to his service as CRS president, Hackett also served as the North America president of Caritas Internationalis, the coalition of humanitarian agencies of the Catholic Church. He continues to serve as an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as a board member of the Vatican Pontifical Commission Cor Unum. Hackett was awarded an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 2007. He also holds honorary degrees from Boston College, Cabrini College, University of Great Falls, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s University, New York Medical College, Siena College, University of San Diego, Santa Clara University, Villanova University and Walsh University. The Laetare Medal is named in celebration of Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent and the day Notre Dame announces its recipient each year. The 2011 Medal was jointly awarded to Sr. Joan McConnon and Sr. Mary Scullion, founders of Project H.O.M.E. Previous recipients include President John F. Kennedy, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and jazz composer Dave Brubeck.
Saint Mary’s is offering a solution to its students’ weather-induced woes. The Happy Light, available in Women’s Health by appointment only, imitates sunlight with special fluorescent bulbs that are twenty-five times brighter than normal bulbs. Students are welcomed and encouraged to take advantage of the pseudo-sunlight, director of Women’s Health Elizabeth Fourman said. “The counselors had been reading about the benefits of the Happy Light for years, so we finally purchased our Happy Light in the fall of 2010,” she said. “It’s used to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is prevalent in the northern U.S.” Up to 25 percent of people in the northern U.S. have some symptoms of SAD, Fourman said, and the disorder is more prevalent in females, which made Saint Mary’s an ideal location for the light. With lows in the 10s and highs in the 40s this winter season, Fourman said South Bend’s weather may be detrimental to academic success. For those afflicted with the disorder, the environmental inconsistencies are hazardous to both physical and emotional health. Consistent exposure to sunlight or artificial light may mitigate the effects of the disorder. Fourman said those who have used the light usually notice a small improvement in mood and energy. “There is a direct correlation to improved symptoms with regular use,” she said. “The symptoms of SAD also improve with regular exercise, good nutrition, hydration, counseling, regular sleep cycle and for some, medication.” Saint Mary’s is not the only school to try this unconventional method, Fourman said. “I don’t know of any locally, but some schools with multiple lights rent them for a week at a time, or have students check them out from the library, and some have students schedule appointments like we do here,” she said. Ideally, the light should be used daily, Fourman said, but with students’ busy schedules, that often is not an option. Typical sessions run from 15 to 60 minutes, but most people use it for about half an hour. “Students start making appointments for the Happy Light in November. The most we’ve had in one week is 11, but usually it’s less than that,” said Fourman. Sophomore Logan Nevonen visited the light for the first time last year. “I hadn’t heard of it before and I thought I would try it because I was not feeling like myself. I was pretty down,” said Nevonen. The Texas native went to the Happy Light twice a week for about three weeks and did homework. “Girls from warmer climates request the Happy Light more frequently,” Fourman said. “Our dreary weather can last for months, and a lot of us forget what the sun looks like until it comes back in the spring. Many students who come from a more sunny climate have a difficult time adjusting to our clouds.” Unfortunately, the light’s effects do not work for everyone. “I didn’t feel any different than I had before I tried it, so I decided not to go back. It didn’t work for me,” said Nevonen.
Students used to cringe at the thought of having to go to the Office of Residence Life, but the new school year has brought changes to the University’s conduct system. Members of the Office of Community Standards, which has replaced the Office of Residence Life, gathered in the LaFortune Student Center on Tuesday to discuss these adjustments to the disciplinary process. Director of community standards Ryan Willerton said these changes are only to the process a student undergoes and not to the actual policies regarding student conduct. Willerton said the motive for the new change was to create a disciplinary system that addresses the specific needs and offenses of individual students. “We will look at every student as an individual,” Willerton said. “We want to get to the heart of the matter and try to make a process that helps a student learn and grow.” University officials conducted a comprehensive review of student opinions about the conduct system and of standards at other leading universities. Willerton said this review highlighted the problems with the Residence Life system. “After we compiled all this information, we noticed procedural inconsistencies,” he said. Sarah Senseman, director of constituent services for Student Government, explained how certain scenarios will play out under the new policy. She said if a student is intoxicated on campus, he or she will receive an individualized punishment. “In the old system, students would have been referred to the Office of Residence Life along with the option of 20 hours of community service or a $200 fine. Now, this [infraction] will result in a meeting with a rector, along with an outcome tailored to the specific student,” Senseman said. Another change is that the University will no longer report first-time offenses of this level to external groups or individuals, Senseman said. Members of the Office of Community Standards also discussed the continuation of the Peer Advocacy Program, which allows students undergoing the conduct process to meet with a peer adviser. Erin O’Brien, vice president of the Judicial Council for Peer Advocacy, said the Peer Advocacy Program enables students to better work with the system instead of against it. She said students can consult with these peer advocates before, during or after the conduct process. O’Brien said the Peer Advocacy Program makes the disciplinary process less stressful for students. “We want to ease anxiety that students may have about the conduct process,” she said. Willerton said the new system is designed to create a campus community where behavior is characterized by proper respect for others. “It’s all about holistic development of our students. …The standards of our community are really based on respect,” he said. There are only two circumstances under which a disciplinary case can be appealed, Willerton said. “Only a procedural defect or a new form of information about a case can reopen it. … One cannot file a new case based on the severity of the outcome,” Willerton said. Willerton said the new policies give rectors and resident assistants increased opportunities for mentorship and conversation with students. “The rector knows you best and can figure out an outcome that will help you learn and keep the problem from happening again,” Willerton said. Many standards of conduct and the associated levels of disciplinary referral are available at communitystandards.nd.edu
The Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s ceili team stepped on stage to compete with Irish step dancers from all over the world at the All-Ireland Championsips in Belfast last week. Senior coach Connor Reider said the team performed their final dance, called the Cross Reel, flawlessly. “It was beautiful because it was more than just a dance,” Reider said. “It was our hard work, our coordination, all the fun we had at the practices and performances. It was all worth it, and it was perfect.” Reider said the team performed their second dance in the set, called, “Trip to the Cottage,” earlier that day. Their exceptional performance in both numbers won them the All-Ireland Championships for the third consecutive year, he said. The competition features teams from across the world. “There was such a sense of pride because you achieved something for your school,” Reider said. “It was special bringing Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to the world.” Senior and co-president of the ceili team Kelly McGovern said eight Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students from the Irish Dance Club traveled together to Belfast, Ireland after nine months of preparation for the competition. McGovern said competition day was one of the best days of her life. “We were all doing each other’s hair and taking pictures,” McGovern said. “When we went to the venue, they were running way ahead of schedule and it ended up being kind of rushed. We didn’t have time to get stressed, and then we just went on and danced. The way we danced, no one was worried, and everyone was just like, ‘Let’s show them what we can do.’” “Everything just worked. We hit every line. It was my last competition ever and it was so great. It’s always better with your friends,” McGovern said. Reider said the friendships among the team members were integral to their success. “It was so rewarding because out of it we all got nine new friends. Nine friendships were solidified,” Reider said. “I was up in the balcony watching [the second dance], and six of the girls are seniors and this was going to be the last time on the stage competing, The first number was great, but as they were dancing this second number, I teared up.” Sophomore Katy Wahl said the moment the team discovered they won was “joyous.” “We had done it together and we accomplished what we set out to do,” Wahl said. “Winning with new nine brand new friends who had never danced with each other was awesome.” Tara Macleod, associate teaching professor in the department of Irish Language and Literature and faculty advisor to the club, traveled with the ceili team to Belfast. She said the team’s focus on competition helped them acheive success. “They went to compete. They were extremely focused,” Macleod said. “They were wonderful ambassadors for the University. It was obvious on stage the long days and nights paid off. “I was a bundle of nerves when they were dancing,” Macleod said. “As soon as it was over, I felt that I saw something special. It was electrifying. I only met the team the Sunday before they left, but it was obvious at that point that they were such a team. I’ve never seen such cohesiveness. They all support one another and it was quite impressive to watch.” Senior Grace Deardruff said the ceili team held tryouts last February that included dancing in front of a panel of four judges, who evaluated each dancer’s stamina and ability to dance in a group. “Usually the team is very laid back, and then suddenly the ‘Irish dance competitive’ side comes out in people and it’s very intense,” Deardruff said. “I was very honored to make the cut because everyone really wanted it. Hearing I was going [to Ireland] was one of the happiest moments of second semester last year.” Contact Katie McCarty at [email protected]
More than 100 Notre Dame students, faculty and South Bend community members gathered at the Grotto on Thursday night for a remembrance prayer vigil to show support for the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico.In September, students from the Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa were abducted during a peaceful protest. Since then, the protest movement in Mexico has spread around the world and continues to gain momentum as people turn the spotlight on the country to demand justice for the more than 20,000 people who have disappeared since 2006.Michael Yu Ph.D. student César Leon Soto, president of the Latino Graduate Association at Notre Dame (LGAND), planned the vigil as a vehicle to bring the global movement directly to the Notre Dame community, reminding students that young adults similar to themselves were severely punished for standing up for their beliefs.Forty-three empty chairs stood around the grotto as a reminder of the missing students. In the tradition of Latin American protest movements, each student’s name was called as a candle was lit on their chair.“This serves as a symbolic gesture indicating that the 43 are not forgotten and that their struggle is now ours,” Soto said.Marisel Moreno, associate professor of Spanish, said she encourages students to not remain unmoved by such “unimaginable” violence.“As members of a higher learning institution, it’s unimaginable to think of 43 of our own students victimized for standing up against corruption and oppression,” she said. “These students are the latest victims of a highly corrupt system that is working in tandem with drug cartels and benefits from impunity. … We are all implicated, and it ultimately affects us all.”According to Soto, there are various ways for students to get involved in the movement. By clicking on hashtags such as #FightingForAyotzinapa, #WeAreAyotzinapa and #Ayotzinapa, students can stay up-to-date on the movement.Soto said he calls all Notre Dame students to become aware of the problems in Mexico and to work toward restoring the image of Notre Dame as “a champion of human rights” and more than just a “football school.”“Ultimately, we can show our support by putting pressure on the Mexican government, by writing letters to the Mexican consulate expressing our dismay,” he said.According to Kellogg visiting fellow Sandra Ley Gutiérrez, student movements are important in creating change and providing energy and strength to the demands for truth and justice. Gutiérrez ended the prayer service by challenging students to become informed, spread the word, show support and reject all forms of violence.“Lastly, never forget, and never let others forget about this massacre,” she said. “We are counting on you.”Tags: Ayotzinapa, LGAND, Mexico, missing students, prayer vigil
Saint Mary’s will join the fight against cancer with this year’s Pink Party Zumbathon hosted by the College’s Stand Up to Cancer Club this Saturday. The fourth annual Zumbathon will take place in Angela Athletic Facility from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are available at the door — $5 for students and $15 for the general public. Proceeds will benefit the Kelly Cares Foundation. According to the Kelly Cares Foundation website, Paqui Kelly, wife of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and started the Kelly Cares Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to help support other organizations that share the same values as the Kelly family — health, education and community.This is the first year Saint Mary’s club will be working to benefit an organization in the South Bend community. In previous years, the Zumbathon proceeds have gone to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the national Stand Up to Cancer organization.The Zumbathon was first started by Saint Mary’s alumnae and physical fitness instructor Kimmi Troy in 2014.“I’ve seen the success of other Zumba parties, and I knew that the potential for it to be here could be very big,” she said. “Cancer touches everyone in some way. Everyone has been affected.”Club president Catherine Smith said many of the event’s participants are members of the South Bend community.“It’s interesting to see the students and community interacting,” Smith said. “It’s really cool to see everyone come together to make a difference.”Junior Claire Condon, a member of the club, said there is a heightened sense of community between students and the public at the event. “Everyone’s from a different background, but they all come together for this one cause,” Condon said.Troy said the event can inspire others, both in the local community and on a national scale.“It has the ability to make someone want to fight more — someone who’s fighting cancer or someone who’s never experienced it,” she said.Troy said Zumba will be led by a variety of experienced instructors, each with their own style. There will also be vendors, refreshments and a limited number of free t-shirts at the event. She said she hopes people realize the long-term effects this event can have on others.“I hope that they walk out of here knowing that they made a contribution,” she said. “Not only will they walk out of here sweating and smiling, but their money is going toward saving lives.”Tags: cancer, Kelly Cares Foundation, SMC Stand Up to Cancer Club, zumba, zumbathon
This year marks the fifth year of the SPARK program, which is put on by the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) through the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership. The SPARK program is a training program in entrepreneurship for female entrepreneurs in the South Bend area with high potential but without the resources to start up their own business.“Deciding to take on your dream and create a business from your own vision is takes a lot of courage and can can be terrifying without the right support,” senior Emerald Blankenship said. “SPARK is the first step in this process for a class of inspiring women each year.”Blankenship is an intern for the SPARK program, and first became involved last fall.“I want to go into philanthropy, so volunteering for a nonprofit designed to help women launch startup businesses was right up my alley,” Blankenship said. “I did not know it would end up being one of the most influential experiences of my college career.”As an intern, Blankenship said she has a variety of responsibilities.“Since I study marketing as one of my concentrations, I get to help with media plans, market research and just answering general questions about the business process,” Blankenship said. “I also facilitate one or two classes depending on where there is a need.”Last year, Blankenship taught classes titled “Sales Forecasting and Making Sales” and “Social Media and Marketing Plan.” This year, she taught a class about “defining your target market,” Blankenship said.“With the SPARK program, you basically get a crash course in business,” Blankenship said. “The women who participate, SPARKlers, go through an 11-week session that touches on everything I’ve taken four years to learn.”SPARK — which stands for “screening,” “pre-accelerated program,” and “re-kindling the flame” — accepts candidates who are ready to start their own businesses. Then, the women participate in the course, and learn how to take their business ideas and turn them into a business.“SPARK is important because it helps create a community of female entrepreneurs,” Blankenship said. “There is a special, unexplainable sisterhood which develops between the SPARKlers throughout the course. They become intertwined and committed to helping one another. … We have the capacity to accept 28 women per session, and the alumnae of the program provide consistent support and insight to new participants each year.”This growth that the program has seen is expected to continue into the future, Blankenship said.“As we tally more and more successful launches from graduates of the SPARK program, the potential to grow the program and educate more women is something I see on the horizon,” Blankenship said. “Greater success typically will signal greater support from our community, which is exactly what this program needs.”Blankenship sees this connection between graduates of the program as representative of the sisterhood many experience at Saint Mary’s. “The SPARK sisterhood is a lot like the Saint Mary’s sisterhood,” Blankenship said. “We are given opportunities to put ourselves out there, and are often, if not always, met with a supportive community who genuinely wants us to succeed. SPARKlers feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. They are paving the way for women entrepreneurs in this community and impacting their own lives in big ways.”Tags: CWIL, entrepreneurship, SPARK, WEI
As students enter the last couple weeks of the fall semester at Notre Dame, many are starting to spend their last few Flex Points at the Huddle, Starbucks and other on-campus eateries. Chris Collins | The Observer A notice board in North Dining Hall displays renovation plans for the building. Due to the renovations closing off large portions of the building, students will receive $250 of additional Flex Points next semester.Next semester, however, they may not encounter the same problem. Each student living on campus will receive an additional $250 in Flex Points due to large-scale renovations to North Dining Hall (NDH).Chris Abayasinghe, director of Campus Dining, said since the seating at NDH will be compressed starting in January, he needed to find ways to give students alternative meal options during peak dining hours.“We wanted to be thoughtful in providing options,” he said. “Because we understand that North Dining Hall’s your dining hall.”After examining dining behavior in previous spring semesters, Abayasinghe said Campus Dining was able to predict the times when the renovation project will impact student life the most — around dinnertime on weekdays, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.“Students will probably dine the way they normally dine for breakfast,” he said. “I think they’ll dine the way they normally dine for lunch because some of it is based on proximity, and the other part of it is based on routine.”The change will probably affect dinner, Abayasinghe said, because students tend to eat at the dining hall closest to their residence halls in the evenings. So hopefully, he said, the additional Flex Points will allow students to dine at other on-campus locations if NDH is overcrowded.Other campus eateries — like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, Smashburger, Reckers and Au Bon Pain — have the capacity to handle an influx of students during dinnertime, Abayasinghe said, for they already receive much more traffic during the lunch hours.“Based on this and based on our evaluation, we really feel that having these points will help shift some of that dinner traffic into the Huddle,” Abayasinghe said.Campus Dining also plans to introduce a “continuous dining” system in both dining halls, so students can eat at any point in the day — not just during specified meal times.“We understand that there is the potential for displacement,” Abayasinghe said. “But we anticipate that — especially at dinner, when the compression happens — that we have the capacity to handle it.”Right now, most on-campus students are registered for the Gold meal plan, which provides them with up to 14 meals in the dining hall each week and $410 Flex Points each semester. All students paying housing fees receive a meal plan through Campus Dining with no additional charges.Funding for the increase in Flex Points will be included in the multi-million dollar renovation project budget. Abayasinghe said Campus Dining decided not to reallocate the money for some of students’ weekly meal swipes to Flex Points because they didn’t want to limit dining options even more.Fifth-year Tom Nye, a member of the Executive Advisory Committee for the NDH renovation project, said he appreciates that — because he thinks the Notre Dame community places a value on eating together.“It’s so much a part of life on and off campus, but especially when it takes place in the dining hall,” he said. “I think that would be another driving factor of how seriously Campus Dining considered the potential crunch.”Students living off campus — even those with meal plans — will not receive extra Flex Points, Abayasinghe said.“Let’s say, for example, you have a block plan with certain points,” Abayasinghe said. “We’ve provided them as a convenience for students to dine while they’re on campus. But we acknowledge that students who are living off campus also eat off campus — have kitchen facilities and things like that.”“From that perspective, in the scope of this and based on the feedback through the committees, we really looked at focusing on the on campus students,” he added.Nye, a resident assistant in Dunne Hall, said he also thinks off-campus students frequent the dining halls for lunch more often than they do for dinner.“The crunch at dinner — I would add that that’s the time your residence hall plays the greatest role,” he said. “I live in Dunne, where I’m more likely to go to North at night. Where at lunch, I’m an archie, I’m more likely to go to south. The data sort of proved the anecdotal evidence that that would be the general trend.”Nye said providing students with a higher amount of Flex Points will allow them to dine at places they would now frequent if the dining hall is closed or too busy.“I think now with a smaller capacity at North, you’d more frequently go to these places anyway,” he said “And I think Campus Dining recognizing that is pretty thoughtful. It’s a way to alleviate any sort of impact that would affect the students due to this necessary construction.”And hopefully, the end result will be well worth the hassle, Abayasinghe said.“When that new dining hall opens — wow,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”Tags: flex points, North Dining Hall, renovation
The Notre Dame community honored the nearly 60 people killed and more than 500 injured in Sunday’s shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Earlier in the day, University President Fr. John Jenkins released a statement expressing his condolences and the day ended with a 9 p.m. prayer service at the Grotto on Monday.“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the awful carnage in Las Vegas,” Jenkins said in a statement. “We pray that there comes a day when the senseless violence that has plagued the nation for so long ends for good.”According to an email from Campus Ministry, the bells of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart tolled in honor of the victims from 3 p.m. – 3:05 p.m. Later, at 5:15 p.m., special prayers were offered for the victims in Las Vegas at the Annual Red Mass, at which Fr. Kevin C. Rhoades, the Bishop of Fort Wayne–South Bend diocese, presided. At 9 p.m., director of Campus Ministry, Fr. Pete McCormick, led a prayer service at the Grotto.Allie Green, Campus Ministry’s assistant director of liturgy, emphasized the community element of the service.“The only way we can come together to make sense of this is together in groups,” Green said. “We can try to make sense of this violence as one family.”Green also noted the importance of the Grotto as the venue for the service.“How blessed we are to a have a sacred space like the Grotto to pray,” she said.Kate Barrett, associate director of liturgy, also stated the importance of gathering as a community.“I think the thing about events such as last night is that there is a lot of fear surrounding it because it is so unpredictable,” she said. “One of the things we hope comes out of this is solidarity,” Barrett said. “You can only overcome hatred and violence through prayer, community and peace.”Barrett agreed that selecting the Grotto as the venue was an important choice.“The Grotto is a place where people come to find comfort,” she said. “We chose it, as opposed to a mass or a rosary, so that we could include everyone.”The service itself consisted of a hymn, an opening prayer, a reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer and the alma mater. Once the alma mater was finished, the assembled community members exchanged signs of peace before many entered the Grotto itself to light candles in honor of the victims. Throughout, quiet weeping pervaded the air.After the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, McCormick issued a call for unity.“As we conclude this prayer with our hands joined, let us remember that we are stronger together,” McCormick said. “Just as we stand here at this Grotto, that emanates forth light, it is made brighter by the candles united together. The same is true for us.“In a day in which darkness seemingly prevailed, always remember that the light is within. That what we have to offer this world is made most profound in our unity, the ways in which we come together to share for love one another, and share compassion for one another. You can always, and I promise this, always, be the change you want to be in the world by simply joining hands, as we do tonight.”Tags: Grotto, Las Vegas shooting, Prayer service
Chris Collins | The Observer Members of Students for Child-Oriented Policy advocate for filters that would make accessing pornography more difficult.Senior and SCOP member Carolyn Ebner said they hope to foster productive dialogue about the issue.“I think it’s not something people are willing to talk about, which is the trouble, so I think our primary goal for this week is to draw attention to that and try to remove the silence and shame around it,” Ebner said.The University forbids the use of its Wi-Fi network to view porn, but the policy is difficult to enforce while respecting the privacy of students. The filter, while it would not be the end-all solution to the issue of pornography on campus, would send an important message and force students to consider their actions more fully, Ebner said.“Putting a filter in, first of all, is technologically extremely difficult to do, to actually filter out all the websites that would provide pornography for people,” Ebner said. “So, from our point of view, it’s more like a symbolic statement from the University. … It’s not going to stop the people who are really watching and using it, but for people trying to stop, it’s one more check on them to be like, ‘Okay, is this something I actually want to do?’” Senior and SCOP member Maria Kunath said while efforts to prevent others from viewing pornography may make it more difficult to access, the users must ultimately make the decision themselves.“We are not going to stop pornography use,” Kunath said. “If this petition passes, that’s not going to say that everyone who has ever looked at pornography is never going to do it again in their lives, but we’re hoping that people stop and think.”Kunath said SCOP comes at the issue of pornography from a variety of angles, including Catholic teaching. The Church condemns porn as objectification of human beings made in God’s image and a violation of human dignity, she said.“We’re hoping that a block, if it goes through, gives people pause and they say, ‘Okay, why is that?’” she said. “Why does the Church teach that about human sexuality? Is it good, is it bad, is this something I do, how does this affect my life? We’re hoping that the filter is a moment for a lot of people to pause and think and say, ‘What’s porn? Why am I using it? Why does Notre Dame think it’s bad?’” The ultimate solution, Ebner said, has to come from students’ challenging and supporting their peers — something she has already seen among her own friends.“The biggest thing with WRAP Week is that we’re not expecting this to fix the problem, but we just want to get people talking about it,” Ebner said. “And I don’t think the University taking giant actions is going to be the most effective thing. I think the most effective thing is for groups of friends to start talking about it and holding each other accountable and give each other permission to be real and vulnerable with each other. I think the realest help is going to come from friendships.” Tags: filter, pornography, Students for Child Oriented Policy, White Ribbon Against Pornography, Wi-Fi, WRAP To conclude White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) — a weeklong effort to bring attention to the consequences widespread pornography use can have on relationships and human sexuality — Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) invited students to offer their support for a filter that would block porn websites on Notre Dame Wi-Fi. Members set up tables outside North and South Dining Halls around lunchtime, seeking to engage their peers in conversation.