Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Face: Cynthia Weber

Today I'd like you to meet Cynthia Weber, the vice-president of Notre Dame's student body. As the daughter and little sister of Notre Dame alumni, Cynthia has long known and loved Notre Dame. Cynthia is known around campus for her quick smile and willingness to listen, elegant fashion sense, and the fact that she is always wearing lipstick- she's a true Southern lady! I don't know Cynthia all that well myself but I have heard stories of her professionalism and dedication to serving the Notre Dame students. Her administration with president Grant Schmidt has already accomplished a lot. For example, there is now a Transpo bus that will run through local neighborhoods on weekend nights to give Notre Dame students a safe ride home. How awesome is that? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you one of the loveliest girls on campus.

Full name: Cynthia Marie Weber

Major: Political Science and Theology

Dorm: Pasquerilla West Hall

Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama (but my family recently moved to Hendersonville, TN)

Job description: Loving Notre Dame- working for the student body in my capacity as Student Body Vice-President, speaking an annoying amount in my classes, enjoying the company of my classmates, and trying to be holy!

Why did you pick Notre Dame?

I picked Notre Dame because I felt at home here, properly challenged and held to a high standard, but positive that my education and livelihood are in good hands. My dad went here and my older brother just graduated, so more than anything, I've always desired the company of so many smart, motivated, and just plain good people. There is a spirit of good-natured fun on campus, an appreciation for natural beauty and the presence of Christ in the sacraments that are so frequently preformed on campus. In short, I'm in heaven!

What is your dream for your life after college?

My dream for my life after college is to somehow be able to expland on my academic interests, but use them in a leadership capacity. So basically, I have no idea, but I have high hopes!

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus is a bench right next to Old College (to the right if you're facing the lakes). It has a perfect view of the lakes that inspired Father Sorin to build this place, and I have had some fond memories sitting there in the summer watching the fireflies blaze languidly around me. I have so many favorite places, but this is the one that sticks out in my mind.

What is something you struggle with?

Something I struggle with is the inevitable sense of loss when I have to prioritize one thing over another. The opportunities at Notre Dame really are endless; I feel like I'm in a "choose your own adventure" book. It is sometimes difficult to make the right decision knowing that I'm giving something up. I also struggle with keeping a consistant work ethic. It's not that I'm lazy; I'm just a dreamer!

Who is your hero?

I have many heros, and they all play such an important role in my life. They're like people in my head who love me who are cheering me on, challenging me to be a better person! Right now, I think my biggest hero is my running mate, the student body president, Grant Schmidt. Every day I acquire more admiration for his work ethic, his prayerfulness, his patience, and his ability to extend himself endlessly for the people around him. I have learned an enormous amount about leadership and friendship from him, and I'm so lucky to have him as a confidant and role model in my life.

What makes you laugh?

A million things make me laugh, although it depends on the day. Many times, I make myself laugh. Having made hundreds upon hundreds of mistakes in my life, I am now no longer surprised when I slip up (just amused). Kids always make me laugh too.

What do you think is the world's biggest problem?

The world's biggest problem today, from my perspective as an American, is our inability to see the sacredness in material reality. We are so prosperous, our thoughts are so complex and articulated, but we lack the childlike ability to see beauty, mystery, and wonder in the world around us. This is at the root of all the mistreatment of the human person which takes the form of genocide, abortion, and war.

Favorite and least favorite thing about being a Notre Dame student?

My favorite thing about being a Notre Dame student is the people, through which we can see the presence of good things. My least favorite thing is that in the presence of so many gifts, we forget we have so many gifts!

One word that describes me: passionate

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Running round the lakes

Have you ever been for a run around St. Joseph's and St. Mary's lakes? This year it's been my new favorite thing.

I'm not much of a runner but at the beginning of the semester I decided to give the path round the lakes a try.

Oh boy, was I hooked.

The sunlight through the emerald leaves made the path cool and dim, perfect for a run in the warm September weather. The other runners all smiled and waved as we passed each other. The lakes gleamed placidly and sometimes I would see a couple or family fishing. And as for the view of the Golden Dome from across St. Joseph's lake-

Would you believe me if I said that the Golden Dome shining in the sun on a fall afternoon is the most beautiful sight in the world?

But warm weather doesn't last long in South Bend and now it's almost too cold for a run, even at the warmest time of day in the early afternoon. When it starts to snow, you won't see me near the lakes unless I'm equipped with big snow boots and a parka.

But that's just until spring. As soon as the snow melts and the trail dries off, you'll see me out by the lakes again. Maybe I'll be running, but more likely I'll be sitting on the hill behind St. Joseph's lake with a book or my ipod. Every now and then I'll look up at the gleaming Golden Dome and be reassured by its presence.

If you're around campus then, come join me. It might become your new favorite thing too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday Face: Professor Moss

Today I bring you Professor Candida Moss, or Candida as her students call her. Candida went to Oxford for undergrad and Yale for grad school. She teaches theology and specializes in the early Christian martyrs, about which she is currently writing a book. Candida has an amazing life story. Among other things, she is British nobility and went to boarding school where she rode ponies every morning before breakfast. I've been lucky enough to take two of her classes, which were so much fun that we called her class "Bible stand-up." One of her most wonderful qualities is how approachable she is; students stop by her office to hang out and she always invites her classes to her house for dinner. Introducing (probably) the best professor at Notre Dame!

Your full name: Candida Rebecca Moss
Where you studied before coming to Notre Dame: University of Oxford, Yale Divinity School, Yale University

Job description: I get to read, think, and write about the questions that have preoccupied humanity throughout history. When I'm not teaching the great books or writing about early Christians and martyrdom, I spend my time cooking for and eating with students, organizing talks for the Disability Studies Forum, crying at football games, eating too many animal crackers in the PLS Office, and trying to persuade my students to go to grad school.

Why did you pick to come work at Notre Dame? As a recusant Catholic from England, I always wanted the opportunity to work at the premiere Catholic university in the world. The opportunity to be part of a world class Theology program and encourage others to pursue Biblical and Ancient Studies is really everything I could have hoped for and so much more.

What is something you struggle with? Elementary arithmatic.

Who is your hero? Belgian scholar Hippolyte Delehaye, S.J. He is one of the most important members of the Jesuit hagiographical society the Société des Bollandistes and he used historical methods to establish critical editions of early Christian martyrdom stories.

Favorite place to travel? Rome, it has everything - Roman history, beautiful churches, unparalleled libraries, and fried zucchini flowers.

What makes you laugh? Ricky Gervais, Aristophanes, when Americans imitate my accent

What do you think is the world's biggest problem? Self-interest and a declining sense of responsibility to others. I firmly believe that if we took seriously the duties we have to others as fellow human beings and children of God, many of our ecological, social, and political issues would be easier to navigate.

Favorite and least favorite things about Notre Dame: Favourite? Just one? The Program of Liberal Studies students. They are the most intellectually curious, collegial, and inspiring students I have had the pleasure of working with. Least favourite? The cold weather and, on a related note, my heating bill.

One word that describes you? Enthusiastic

Thanks Candida!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So much to do...

One of the best things about this campus is how busy it is. On any given night, there are 5 dozen different options for what to do.

Tuesday, for example, the director and actors from The Boondock Saints came to campus to talk to students and offer a free sneak preview of the coming sequel. While the movie is not the most polite or family-friendly , in the words of one of my friends, "That movie seriously makes me want to be Irish Catholic." This being the home of the Fighting Irish Catholics, the tickets sold out in minutes, of course.

Thursday night, tonight, the PLS department is putting on a student talent show. Last year's show was so much fun. Acts ranged from poetry recitals to students performing their own plays to a group of senior guys performing an old NSYNC song (to wild applause). I'm sure tonight's show will live up to that legacy.

This weekend is the Center for Ethics and Culture's tenth annual fall conference. This year's theme is "The Summons of Freedom: Virtue, Sacrifice and the Common Good." I'm writing a conference preview for The Observer and I have really enjoyed all the interviews I've done. Everyone involved in the conference is so enthusiastic, so hopeful and really just glowing with excitement. It sounds like it will be a wonderful experience. If you'll be on campus this weekend, stop by the conference!

What are some fun or interesting events you remember from your time as a student?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What happened?

I don't know about you, but my friends and I have been talking about it since Saturday. Or not talking about it, since one of my friends calls it "the game that must not be mentioned."

What happened to our team?

Navy? Really?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Face: The Leprechaun

Today I bring you Daniel Collins, our very own Fighting Irish leprechaun. Daniel hails from the cold clime of upstate New York, so I bet the South Bend winters never fazed him. He is going to be a lawyer someday and in the meantime, he does an amazing job cheering on our team! There is nothing that gets me pumped up for a game like seeing our leprechaun's spirit and energy. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with our wonderful leprechaun.

Your full name: Daniel Colt Collins

Major: Political Science

Minors: Irish Studies, Peace Studies

Dorm: Alumni Hall

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Job description: I cheer our loyal sons onward to victory, I MC the pep-rallies, I make special appearances and do community service both locally and around the nation, I dance a mean Irish Jig, I wear a lot of green, I do a lot of pushups, and I supposedly bring good luck to Notre Dame.

What are your plans for life after college? I am currently applying to law school.

What is your favorite place on campus? inside Notre Dame Stadium on the most sacred football field in the world, the grotto on a snowy night is a close second

What is it really like being the Leprechaun? It is the ultimate honor to represent Notre Dame in the way I do. I am living the dream.

What is your theme song? The Rakes of Mallow

What is something you struggle with? holding myself back from running out onto the football field and sacking the opposing quarterback like Rudy did

Who is your hero? My mom, she is the ultimate source of inspiration in my life. My idol as a mascot is Sabretooth, mascot for the Buffalo Sabres.

What is the best place to go for an away game? San Antonio, because the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas!

What do you think is the world's biggest problem? The University of Southern California Trojans

Favorite and least favorite thing about being a Notre Dame student?

Favorite: the honor of being part of the greatest tradition in existence, the Notre Dame Spirit

Least Favorite: it only lasts for 4 years (unless I get into Notre Dame Law School)

What makes you laugh? When Fighting Irish fans show me their Leprechaun tattoos on game day

One word that describes you? Lucky

Navy Weekend

For most students, it's not a question of who's coming into town for the Navy game this weekend. It's a question of who isn't coming, because most of the people we know will be there.

Every year there is one weekend when everyone's parents come into town for the game. And it's not just our parents. This weekend, Notre Dame will host my mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousin and great-uncle's best friend's dog.

Maybe not that last one, but Navy weekend will certainly be a reason to celebrate.

Especially after a Fighting Irish victory. Go Irish!