Friday, October 29, 2010

May His Soul, and the Souls of All the Faithful Departed, through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace

I was walking to Main Circle Wednesday night for an off-campus venture when I heard a familiar voice talking on the phone behind me. John (name changed), an Observer sports writer and the first guy I met at Notre Dame, was hustling down the South Quad sidewalk as fast as his legs could carry him, with two other sportswriters in tow.

"John!" I called as he closed his phone. "Where are you off to?"

"The football practice field," he said. "A video tower fell over during practice."

"That's crazy." I said. "Was anybody hurt?"

"I don't know," John told me. "That's what we're about to find out."

I made a mental note to check the story in Thursday's Observer and then forgot about it as I piled into my friend's car. Three hours later, we were coming back to campus when Jenn in the back seat pulled out her Blackberry and gasped so loudly that we all turned to stare. My heart sank. Remembering my conversation with John, I knew what was coming as she read aloud to us the email that changed the lives of the 8,000 students who Declan left behind.

We drove in silence, bidding subdued farewells as Elliott dropped us off. The solitary walk from Main Circle back to Badin was the coldest and loneliest I can recall. My mind churned with worry, terror, confusion - all the reactions one has to the shock of sudden tragedy. But when I reached Badin, I found friends ready to talk it out, offering willing hugs and consolation. We mourned together for Declan Sullivan as I remembered that in good times and in bad, and even unto death, they call it the Notre Dame family for a reason.

Last night I attended the memorial Mass for Declan, wondering if I should bring tissues for the inevitable tears - but they were not needed. The Mass was hopeful, even joyous, as we focused on celebrating his life rather than mourning his death. Good comes out of even the greatest sorrow and surely Declan's brief, beautiful life has already done immeasurable good.

"Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious." St. Rose of Viterbo

May Declan rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back in the Bend

I'm back on campus, blogging about my work as the Hannah Storm intern and finishing the fall semester.

The second half of the semester had a dramatic start - yesterday morning at 9 am, blaring sirens warned students to go to the lowest indoors spot we could find because of a local tornado warning. I grabbed my laptop, a smart move as it made my two-hour sojourn in the Badin ground-floor hallway a chance to be productive. As the tornado warning extended, we all hoped that class would be canceled, but no such luck. The sirens cleared out at 10:45, just in time for my 11 am History class.

After yesterday's weather fiasco, campus today is beautiful. I waded through an ankle-deep pile of burnished leaves on my way to the Alumni Association.

This week is another very busy one at Notre Dame. Tuesday evening, about 100 students, faculty and staff joined Father Jenkins at the Basilica to pray a scriptural Rosary for an end to abortion. I attended and found it deeply moving to see Father Jenkins kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament and leading the congregation in prayer, fulfilling his role as a spiritual leader for this university.

This afternoon, Terry Eagleton will be presenting the lecture "What is Poetry?" in 117 DeBartolo at 4:30. To quote a fellow PLS major, "Eagleton is one of the most important literary critics in the world (wikipedia says most important in Britain). He is also a Marxist British Christian. He published an absolutely scathing book review of Richard Dawkins The God Delusion in the London Times, writing 'Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.'" I am excited to attend his lecture.

Thursday afternoon, I will choose between two competing events: Theology on Tap for Seniors at Legends and the first Rodzinka dinner of the semester. Rodzinka is an informal weekly event that my friends and I hold, in which we invite professors to join us for dinner, tell us about their academic work and advise us about marriage and family life. I blogged about a Rodzinka event last year and tomorrow will be the first of this semester. The legendary Fr. Neil Roy will be talking about the importance of saints as models and intercessors in the Catholic home. Rodzinka vs. Theology on Tap - how will I ever decide?

Today I discovered this neat blog about fun activities to do in South Bend. It's worth a look if you live in the area or will be visiting soon.

Thank you for reading and Go Irish!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Irish Weekend Update and Fall Break

Welcome back to Read Me, I'm Irish.

The Irish are playing Western Michigan this weekend and we fully expect to dominate. If you can't make it to the game this weekend (or if you're coming and want to prepare), enjoy this clever video of Notre Dame Game Day in 50 seconds. The visual aesthetics are very creative and as an added bonus, Glee Club is singing in the background.

If you'll be in town for the game, use this website, which was designed to make the Game Day experience fun, organized, and stress-free.  A few events not to miss are listed below:

The pep rally, at 6 pm on Irish Green. There will be football players, Coach Kelly, screaming students and dorm cheers. If you've got a drop of Fighting Irish blood in you, you won't want to miss this event. To add a little international flavor to your evening, walk right across the Green to the DPAC after the pep rally for a showing of the award-winning French film Daddy Longlegs.

Saturday morning, before you line up for your Knights of Columbus steak sandwich (and wave hello to me working the line), stop by the Saturdays with the Saints lecture on the Holy Cross Congregation's first saint. Then if you're in an academic frame of mind, take your pick between lectures on science and history, with an 11 am lecture on Newton's math and a lecture at noon on "The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan." After that, there's the usual round of Notre Dame traditions: cheering on the players as they walk from the Basilica to the Stadium, the Marching Band Concert at 1 pm, Inspection of the Irish Guard at 1:30, and finally the IRISH WIN will begin at 2:30 pm.

After the game, you can attend Mass in the Basilica, the Stepan Center, or in any of the following guys' dorms: Alumni, Dillon, Keenan, Stanford, Keough, Morrissey, Siegfried and Sorin College. I'd recommend Candlelight Dinner afterward for a delicious meal and conversation with your fellow Notre Dame fans.

I will take a break from this blog for the next week as I head home to spend Fall Break with my family. Please email me or leave comments if there is anything you would like me to write about after I return October 25th. As always, thank you for reading and GO IRISH!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Campus on Thursday

Fall break is one day away and as students finish up midterms (or start celebrating that midterms are over), there is plenty to do on campus today.

Bright and early at 11 am, there is a lecture on "alternative water sources for use in electric power production." This lecture doesn't really fall within the scope of my academic interests, but for those with an interest in engineering or the environment, this should be right up your alley.

International Affairs types will enjoy this lecture on overcoming apartheid in South Africa, while Architectual Enthusiasts should get a kick out of this colloquium on melding the best of traditional architecture and urbanism - surely a relevant concern for modern builders.

For a fierce and fun event, cheer on the Irish hockey team against Lake Superior State at 7:30 pm - exciting for even the most amateur hockey fan.

Do you like foreign film? Today is your lucky day, with not one but two excellent films showing at the DPAC tonight: Seraphine at 6:30 and Welcome at 9:30 pm. Seraphine is said to be an especially beautiful French film and I'm hoping to see it with friends.

What else is going on around campus? Tonight many students will be gathering around the television with their friends as a number of favorite college TV shows are on, such as The Office, Grey's Anatomy and Community. Students are busy preparing for the weekend football game and for traveling home this fall break.

Thank you for reading. Go Irish!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Variety in Campus Events

Welcome back to my student-life blog. It's my second day of work as Hannah Storm Intern. Currently I'm working on articles about the newly-unveiled alumni website, myNotreDame, and opportunities for alumni to mentor undergraduate research, among other things. The articles will be published in the alumni newsletter.

Today on campus, there is an event for any interest. Take the short quiz below to see which event suits you best.

Are you a...

A) Sports Enthusiast? Check out the Men's Soccer Team take on Marquette at 7 pm.

B) Lover of Musical Theater? You'll enjoy tonight's pre-talk on Wagner's opera Das Rheingold, the first part of his glorious Ring Cycle.

C) American History Buff? Don't miss tonight's book discussion from Notre Dame's Rooney Center for American Democracy. The speakers will discuss American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, written by Harvard's Robert Putnam and Notre Dame's own David Campbell.

D) Medievalist? Notre Dame has a real treat for you with tonight's performance of Gregorian chant from the Schola Musicorum. It promises to be an elegant and moving concert for all in attendance (which will likely include me).

Whether you picked A, B, C or D, you are certain to be entertained and engaged by the excellent resources at our great university.

Thank you for reading and Go Irish!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Events Around Campus

What is going on at Notre Dame today? I started the morning with reading in the Coleman-Morse center, followed by History class and then lectures and lunch at what I affectionately call "the baby conference," sponsored by the Center for Children and Families.

There is an ISSLP information session this afternoon. ISSLP, or International Summer Service Learning Program, is a chance for Notre Dame students to serve the poor around the world. The information session should be well-attended since Notre Dame students love to travel and are passionate about service. ISSLP offers the best of both worlds.

When Father Jenkins became University president, one of his goals was to increase students' intellectual engagement on campus. To that end, he installed the Notre Dame Forum; it brings experts on major national issues to campus, where they discuss solutions in the light of Catholic teaching - a nice reminder that Catholicism is about the union of Faith and Reason. This year's Forum examines economics within the context of the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate. The latest installment of The Forum is tonight.

Most Domers have heard of Father Sorin, Father Badin, and the other legendary priests who braved the frozen wilds of Indiana to found Our Lady's University in the 1800s. They were all members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which serves Notre Dame to this day. The first Holy Cross saint will be canonized next week. To celebrate the canonization, students are invited to a Log Chapel Mass and a Procession in honor of Brother Andre this evening at 9 pm, in Corby Hall.

Thank you for reading and Go Irish!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happening on Campus Today

Welcome to the new and improved version of Read Me, I'm Irish.

It's a busy time at Notre Dame: the dreaded Midterms Week. Students in sweatpants, with sleepy eyes,  laptops, and tall cups of coffee, fill every campus study spot. Good luck getting a table in the Coleman-Morse Center study lounge. Better luck at the library, where you can usually find an open table upstairs. If you're lucky enough to have a light midterms schedule (or to be taking only 4 classes, like me), check out the following great events:

"It is the test of a good religion," G.K. Chesterton once said, "whether you can joke about it." Chesterton, a Catholic author and journalist, joked about his faith in order to show its truth - and the twentieth century's funniest Catholic writer was a guest lecturer at Notre Dame back in 1930. In remembrance of that visit, The Center for Ethics and Culture is hosting Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, to talk about Chesterton's life and work: I'm biased toward this event because I did an independent research project on Chesterton while studying in London last semester. In any case, it should be a great lecture on a very great man.*

Notre Dame's Center for Children and Families is holding a symposium on early childhood development, or "the baby conference" as I call it: I might be the only undergraduate who is attending this conference just for fun (and for the free lunches). I've found it very interesting, although rather technical for my amateur understanding.

France and Modern Art come together in this lecture from the Nanovic Institute: I've never been a fan of modern art myself, but art history students and French-culture enthusiasts will likely enjoy this event.

Thanks for reading and Go Irish!

*If you are unfamiliar with Chesterton's works and would like to get to know them better, I recommend this website: and Chesterton's book Orthodoxy, which is "the trunk of the tree from which all the other branches of Chesterton grow."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome Back


It's been almost a year but I am back at the Alumni Association, after a semester studying abroad in London and a summer internship at FOX News Channel in New York City.

I am back through the Hannah Storm Internship, which means I will be writing articles for the Notre Dame Alumni Newsletter and working closely with the Alumni Association's communications department. I'm looking forward to this chance to improve my writing while learning more about the wonderful Notre Dame alumni community.

As I start working in my new position, this blog will also take a new focus. Whether you graduated in 2010 or in 1940, you're probably wondering what life on campus is like today. It's certainly different for every student, and I don't pretend to offer a "typical" Notre Dame experience; in fact, my perspective as a PLS major, non-legacy, and non-athlete is a fairly unusual one. Using this blog, I will not only share some favorite moments from my final year as a Notre Dame student, but I will also write about major campus events from a journalistic perspective. Hopefully this will offer you a broad view of campus life, with an occasional personal anecdote to add spice.

Of course, if there is anything you are especially interested in reading about, please let me know. If you want me to investigate a particular feature of campus life or interview a campus personality for this blog, shoot me an email or leave a comment - that's what I'm here for.

As always, Go Irish!