The safety of students and area residents was a chief concern of South Bend community representatives during the Campus/Community Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting Wednesday. Members discussed the upswing in crime and how the community can come together to address the problem. Brian Coughlin, associate vice president for student affairs, said the University is concerned about the recent rise in crime. “This community has done a great deal, and we’ve done a lot to talk about neighbor relations and a number of other things, but I think that it’s time that we start to focus on crime against students and crime in those neighborhoods,” he said. Michael Carrington, a member of the St. Joseph County Alcoholic Beverage Board, said local law enforcement is working hard to address the problem. While discussing how law enforcement officers are working to identify groups and individuals responsible for the criminal activity, CCAC members agreed students and local residents all need to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings. “We can’t be a soft target, we have to be ever-vigilant and keep our guard up,” Carrington said. “People need to be careful, but the criminal justice system needs to respond and it needs to be a strong response.” Student government has been working to develop a connection between the student body and local law enforcement, student body president Pat McCormick said. This year, Notre Dame’s student government has organized a safety summit and an off-campus informal meet-and-greet between law enforcement officials and Notre Dame students. McCormick said that he was pleased the CCAC meetings provide a venue for the community to work together to address pressing issues, like student safety. “We had the opportunity to bring to the attention of the community that our top concern is the safety of students and trying to confront crime together, whether through particular action steps or trying to facilitate relationships between students and law enforcement,” McCormick said. Members also examined the problem of students leasing off campus housing that is not sanctioned to be the residence of more than two unrelated students. Director of South Bend Code Enforcement Catherine Toppel said many students are unaware of this rule. “The problem they [students] run into is not knowing which properties are grandfathered and which aren’t,” she said. “One of the rules is that a lot of houses are under the rule that not more that two unrelated students can live in it.” Toppel also said an association of landlords has drafted an ordinance, to be submitted sometime around January 2012, creating a landlord registry. This registry would have a list of residences that can be used as student housing, and will be updated to reflect occupancy changes in those residences, she said. Landlord Mark Kramer, of Kramer Properties, agreed that collaboration was required to remedy this problem. “People sometimes ignore the restriction if they like the home or the area, but then they run the risk of being turned out in the middle of the year,” he said. He suggested the creation of a list of houses eligible for student living, allowing students to check if their prospective house is on the list. CCAC members also discussed plans for snow removal volunteer programs and the success of collaboration regarding the recent taxi ordinance. CCAC, McCormick said, has been successful in addressing these issues affecting the Notre Dame community and the surrounding area because of the collaboration that it facilitates. “These meetings give us the opportunity to learn and to be in conversation about issues that are pressing to the community and to bring to different stakeholders in the community the concerns of students as they relate to community life,” McCormick said.
Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution to amend the Student Union constitution by adding instructions to fill vacant student government positions Wednesday. Oversight committee chair Ben Noe said the subcommittee for constitutional reforms recommended several changes that he and his committee wrote into a resolution. The first addition inserted a clause detailing the procedures to remove a committee chair. Previously, the constitution did not contain a way to remove a chair if necessary. “This is kind of a problem because if committee chairs are slacking and not doing their jobs right, they may need to be removed,” Noe said. The resolution also modified the instructions for the selection of the Student Union treasure. “In the constitution the way the Student Union treasurer is replaced is that they appoint one of the assistant Student Union treasurers,” Noe said. “What if neither of the assistants are available to take the role of the Student Union treasurer?” Following the amendment, if this scenario were to occur, the Student Union treasurer would have two options. If he or she was available to serve another term, the treasurer could reappoint himself or herself. Otherwise, the treasurer can open the position up to applications from the student body. “We thought this increased the transparency and openness of student government so we can get some people who have not been involved in student government for years at a time into the top positions,” he said. Similarly, another clause opened up the positions of judicial council vice presidents to the entire student body. While the judicial council president has the final say over who is selected as vice presidents, Noe said this step encourages students who have not previously been involved with the council to apply. “Once again, this is with the intent of increasing the openness of student government,” he said. “We’re trying to make positions of some authority open to everyone.” The last modification to the constitution eased the process of replacing officer positions. “These changes are being made to make student government more open to the student body as a whole, and also to just make some technical changes that needed to be made,” Noe said.
The works of the Dutch poet and mystic Hadewijch inspired Saint Mary’s women to deeply analyze thirteenth century spiritual life Tuesday night. Professor Amy Hollywood of the Harvard Divinity School explored the work of Hadewijch in the lecture “Love Abyss: Hadewijch’s Infinite Desire” in the Stapleton Lounge. She said it is crucial to understand the time period the mystic lived in to understand the poet’s work. “To understand Hadewijch, one must understand the context in which her work was created,” Hollywood said. Hadewijch’s work was sparked by the practices of the beguines in the thirteenth century, groups of women that were semi-religious, but not bound by taking formal vows, Hollywood said. “These women often worked in the cloth industry, took care of the sick or were school teachers,” she said. “They were spiritual women, but since they were not bound by vows there was more permeability between the beguines and the outside world. This is what sparked a movement.” Hollywood said this progress includes the many letters, poems and the manuscript of Hadewijch. Today, the work of Hadewijch is studied and translated into many languages, but Hollywood said experts are still trying to fully understand the poet. “We really do not truly know anything,” Hollywood said. “All we have are these texts and poems. We do not even know if there is a Hadewijch, but we assume there was based on bodies of text with her name.” Hollywood said communal prayer, manual labor and private reading and devotion were the main components in Hadewijch’s texts where she described her divine episodes. “For Hadewijch, communal prayer is a necessary pre-condition for anything to do with the divine,” Hollywood said. “This especially includes psalms.” Hollywood said Hadewijch often referred to the word love as meaning God, and believed love was God’s act. Hollywood said it is through this understanding of love that Hadewijch described her divine mystical experiences. “Hadewijch had intense personal devotion and this allowed for spontaneous mystical ways in which the divine can be encountered,” she said. Hollywood said it is important to study the intense practices of spirituality of the past in order to bring the same passion intomodern times. “For Hadewijch and other women in the thirteenth century, there was an understanding of their own intense amount of labor for being a Christian,” Hollywood said. “By reading material from the past we see this intensity and the vitality it had within Christianity at the time. When we see this intensity we must recognize it and think about it.”
Saint Mary’s faculty and students reflected on last summer’s Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Women’s Leadership for international undergraduate women during an informational panel Wednesday evening in the Warner Conference Room of the Student Center. Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership, recalled the SUSI application process and the joy of hearing the College had been accepted. “We thought it was a very perfect fit with some Saint Mary’s strengths so we decided, let’s give it a try,” Meyer-Lee said. “We pulled it all together and we were selected to host the [program] we had applied for, which was to bring four women each from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Myanmar and Mongolia.” Meyer-Lee noted that most of these countries had been in a great transition during the time the program was beginning. “They were clearly identifying countries that were at sort of transformative points,” Meyer-Lee said. “There is a lot of literature out there about how important women’s leadership is and social change and they wanted to create this opportunity.” Once selected for the Institute, the College built in a role for Saint Mary’s students within the program. “We included the students originally as participants, then changed it to a mentor and participant role,” Meyer-Lee said. “We brought on 10 students to do this and they participated side-by-side with the [international] students; they lived in the dorm with them, and they went through all of the classes and communal activities for a very intense five weeks.” Meyer-Lee said students spent the first four weeks on the Saint Mary’s campus, where they were able to travel to local areas. The final week was spent traveling to the East Coast where the students were able to visit Niagara Falls, upstate New York, Boston, New York City and Washington. Meyer-Lee then introduced senior Ambreen Ahmad, a student who participated in the program last summer. Ahmad lived in a quad in Regina Hall with three participants, all from different countries including Mongolia, Myanmar and Tunisia. “This summer was a really great experience. This is definitely a great experience for anyone who is interested in political science, business, communication and social justice because it really allows you to learn and communicate with people from all around the world,” Ahmad said. “I actually learned a lot from the perspective of these girls, who are really accomplished and are only our age.” Ahmad noted how inspiring and interesting the program was for her because it allowed her to see the perspective of the young women from different countries aside from everything our society learns from the media. “It really helps in establishing and enhancing intercultural relationships because, no matter what you end up doing in your life, everything is so much more of global context and it really helps for you to learn to communicate with people who have different backgrounds,” she said. “Being able to build bridges between [the differences] is a great thing.” Ahmad added that she, along with the other students and participants from the program keep in contact through Facebook. “Almost every day someone is posting something on it,” she said. “Learning from these women what is happening in their respective countries really gives us a firsthand account from them. I think just having a connection with people from [different countries] makes you learn more about it that you may have never done on your own.” For Ahmad, living with the participants and getting to know them on a more personal level was the best outcome she received from the experience, she said. “Living in a quad gave me the most roommates I ever had,” she said. “To me, living with them was the greatest part of it. That gave me the opportunity to hear their perspective on Americans and in some ways debunk them. Being that firsthand person to explain Americans to them was really good.”
At the conclusion of a one-ticket race, Saint Mary’s students elected juniors Kat Sullivan and Maddy Martin on Thursday to serve as the 2013-14 student body president and vice president. Sullivan, a communications studies major whose mother was student body president of Saint Mary’s in 1976, said she is looking forward to stepping into the role April 1. “It was really exciting and I was glad that other students were just as [excited as] we were,” Sullivan said. “They realized the importance of voting, regardless of the fact that we were running unopposed. It is very important that students’ voices are heard.” The Student Government Association (SGA) sent an email Thursday to students opening up the election. Attached was a link to OrgSync, the College’s new communication system, where students were able to select the Sullivan-Martin ticket or chose to abstain. Current student body president Maureen Parsons said 262 students voted in this year’s election, and 91 percent of the voters were in favor of the Sullivan-Martin ticket. Martin, a biology and Spanish double major, said she is particularly excited about the level of voting participation from the student body. “Obviously it wasn’t a huge surprise, but it was still really awesome that we had enough participation from the student body,” she said. “Even though we were the only ticket running, I had great feedback from other students saying that Kat and I were going to be great leaders next year. It really gives me a lot of confidence going in to next year knowing that the student body supports us.” In the upcoming weeks, Sullivan said she and Martin will work on applications for other SGA positions. They plan to release the applications for these positions Friday to give students ample time to consider applying. “We would also like to have an Activities Night geared towards SGA so students can see what exactly SGA is and how they can get involved,” Sullivan said. “This will be important as we start to work towards transparency and better communication between SGA and the student body.” Martin, who currently serves as the vice president of finance for SGA, said she wants to alert the student body to the opportunities SGA offers. Outgoing leaders will assist the new team in learning the ropes of their jobs. “We will have a grace period starting April 1 where the new members essentially ‘shadow’ old members,” Martin said. “It provides some comfort going in because students have the opportunity to ask questions; they aren’t just thrown into the system.” Choosing the right students as fellow leaders for the College is the pair’s first priority once they take office in April, Sullivan said. “I would also like to sit down with all the newly elected leaders on campus once big board and class board elections are finalized,” Sullivan said. “I would like to hit the ground running and delegate tasks from the beginning of our term as student body president and vice president. That’s why it will be important to choose leaders as soon as we can so we can establish what roles people will take with events and initiatives over the next year.” Student Activities Board (SAB), Student Diversity Board (SDB), Residence Hall Association (RHA) and class board elections will be held March 7, Martin said. “I am so excited to continue expanding SGA,” Martin said. “We have a really great backbone set in place, and now it comes time to add on. We can now begin to perfect and modify the structure.” Sullivan, like Martin, said she is looking forward to working alongside her fellow Belles to get the student body more involved in SGA. “I am really excited to be working with Maddy,” Sullivan said. “I think that we will make a good team because we have different academic and extracurricular backgrounds. Through our current involvement on SGA, we have seen different aspects of Saint Mary’s that need to be improved. “Together, we can change the dynamic of the student body.”
To augment the work of student government’s Gender Issues Committee and the new Prism ND, the Gender Relations Center (GRC) is initiating new programming this year to drum up conversation about sexuality, identity and relationships at Notre Dame. Dr. Christine Caron-Gebhardt, director of the GRC, said expanded offerings include roundtable discussions, presentations from experts and dorm workshops. The first notable event is a three-part series of speeches from Terry Nelson Johnson, a professional speaker and mentor at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, on sexuality and Catholicism, men and masculinity and LGBTQ and Catholicism and it will take place Sept. 16 and 17. “We’re continuing our conversations on sexuality and relationships, but really broadening the conversation to include things around men and masculinity, LGBTQ, understanding of gender and identities [and] the intersectionality of identities,” Caron-Gebhardt said. Amanda Downey, assistant director for educational initiatives at the GRC, said Johnson first spoke at Notre Dame last year, at the request of a group of students from Keough Hall. “Terry Nelson Johnson came to us as a result of a student interest. A group of men from Keough came over one day and said they wanted to talk about intimacy,” Downey said. “They wanted to bring him, and they wanted him to talk about intimacy.” To better connect with the needs of the student body, Caron-Gebhardt said the GRC is starting a dorm commissioner program. “We are piloting dorm commissioners as a resource for students within their residence halls as well as a conduit for students to let us know what kinds of conversations, what kinds of questions they want to talk about here on campus about gender, sexuality and relationships,” she said. For those who want to continue these conversations, Caron-Gebhardt said the GRC is sponsoring the Sr. Jean Round Table, where students can discuss gender issues together. Each meeting will have a different theme ranging from “sports and gender,” to “gender and Catholicism,” with the first taking placed Oct. 2. The GRC will also sponsor “Man Talk” and “Women’s Wisdom” sessions, Caron-Gebhardt said. “Those conversation talks are student-generated,” she said. “We provide the venue, we provide the structure, but students provide the things that are important and they want to discuss.” To begin the discussion freshman year, Caron-Gebhardt said the GRC has amended its Contemporary Topics curriculum so one day covers healthy relationships and the other addresses prevention of sexual violence on campus through bystander intervention. “We took up that charge from [the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention] saying, ‘How can we understand that sexual violence on our campus is not just about two people involved but actually impacts our community?’” Caron-Gebhardt said. In another effort to raise awareness of sexual violence in the spring, Downey said the GRC will sponsor an exhibition of “Unheard Voices,” a show by artist Jason Dilley that tells the stories of individual survivors of sexual assault. “[Dilley] has bronzed face casts – imagine a plaster cast of a face and then it’s dipped into a bronze and on a black background,” she said. “Students can walk around and there are little headphones attached to each face, and you can actually hear this person tell their story, which is a really powerful program.” Caron-Gebhardt said the GRC also plans to supplement Prism ND’s LGBTQ-focused programs, including special events for National Coming Out Day in October and Transgender Awareness Month and Stand Against Hate in November. “We see collaborating on events and co-sponsoring events together [with Prism ND],” Caron-Gebhardt said. “We also see that there are things that they may offer that we would then complement and offer individually. I see us doing things collaboratively and individually.” Caron-Gebhardt said the GRC encourages students to get involved with their programing and express what they want the GRC function. “[We want to] respond to student needs as we continue the dialogue around certain issues,” she said.
The Kellogg Institute for International Studies hosted the International Conference on Archbishop Oscar Romero on Sept. 25 – 27. The conference included guest speakers from universities and organizations from the United States, the United Kingdom and El Salvador, discussing the life and legacy of Fr. Oscar Romero.Professor of systematic theology Michael E. Lee, Notre Dame alumnus and current professor at Fordham University, gave a lecture on Monseñor Romero’s martyrdom Saturday afternoon.Sarah Olson “In Romero we have … a martyr of solidarity,” Lee said. “We can allow Romero’s death to deepen our understanding of martyrdom today.”According to Lee, some people do not consider Romero’s death to be a martyrdom. Romero was shot in 1980 as he was celebrating Mass and therefore was not called out to directly renounce his faith. However, Lee challenges this event by saying that Romero’s entire life was a testimony to his martyrdom.“Throughout his life, Romero lived a life of prayer and piety,” he said. “The witness of such utter devotion to God has been described as a martyr.”According to the U.N. website, Romero became known as “The Voice of the Voiceless” because he used his authority as archbishop to speak for the impoverished who could not speak out for themselves. Romero’s main focus was to speak out against the injustice and abuse that occurred during El Salvador’s civil war. Romero was also known for believing that no separation should exist between the Church and the poor.“Martyrs confront us with the holy mystery of the Gospel,” Lee said. “Romero’s case demonstrates that there is still progress to be made.”Lee examined two types of poverty: material and spiritual poverty. Lee defined material poverty as a lack of actual finances or possessions, and he said spiritual poverty is a dependence on God that each Christian is called to, a calling which Romero exemplified.“Martyrs function as a sign pointing to the path of conversion,” he said. “Martyrs … reveal the workings and real presence of sin.”Christianity involves an awareness of the preferential option for the poor, Lee said. According to the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) at Notre Dame, preferential option of the poor means “to strengthen the whole community by assisting those who are most vulnerable.”“The call of the Christian today is to make the commitment that is called the preferential option for the poor,” Lee said. “The solidarity called in the preferential option for the poor is essential in Christian discipleship.”Lee said Romero is an example of a “martyr of solidarity,” whose example is relevant today.“Recognizing martyrs of solidarity can even open doors to see how the Spirit moves outside the Church,” he said.Tags: Archbishop, International Conference, Kellogg Institute, martyrdom, Michael Lee, Oscar Romero, poverty
Philosopher, writer and editor Martha Nussbaum explored the role of anger in movements led by Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela in a lecture titled “Anger and Revolutionary Justice” on Wednesday as part of the 10th Christian Culture Lecture at Saint Mary’s.Nussbaum began the lecture by reflecting on an ancient Greek story in which Athena persuades the Furies in a city to re-orient themselves and adopt attitudes of benevolence, thus liberating the city with justice because of the transition, she said.“Political justice does not put a cage around resentment, it must ultimately transform it from something barely human, excessively bloodthirsty, to something human,” she said. ” … Anger with all its ugliness is a very popular emotion. Many people think it is impossible to carry out justice without anger.”Nussbaum said many people believe anger is a necessary component in supporting one’s beliefs and defending self-worth and often involves the idea of ‘payback,’ or retribution.“The most popular issue in the sphere of criminal justice today is retribution, that is, the view that the law must punish transgressions in a manner that embodies the spirit of justified anger,” Nussbaum said. “ … Anger is at the heart of revolutionary transformation.“We think about payback all the time,” Nussbaum said. “It is very common to think that the proportionality between crime and punishment somehow makes good. Only it doesn’t.”Nussbaum described three paths to deal with anger: the path of status, which is self-focused, the payback path, which results in the offender suffering, or the better, more rational spirit of looking forward and ‘do what makes sense’ option.This third rational option requires a stage known as the “transition stage” and is the stage used by the three leaders in the transition from anger to passionate hope, she said.One must take courage and learn from the legacies of three noble, successful freedom movements conducted in the spirit of non-anger — those of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, Nussbaum said.“Now there is indeed anger in King’s [I Have a Dream] speech, at least at first … but King gets busy reshaping it to work and thought for how could it [anger] be made good,” Nussbaum said.Nussbaum said a strategy of transition anger is necessary, which she defined as a movement from anger with all its defects into a forward constructive form and work.“Anger towards opponents is to be transformed into a mental attitude that carefully separates the deed from the doer. … After all, the ultimate goal, as King says, is to create the world where all can live together,” Nussbaum said.Mandela also embraced this method, Nussbaum said.“Payback was natural and easy, Mandela took the difficult course. … A generous spirit was far more useful for the nation,” Nussbaum said. “Mandala asked, ‘How shall I produce cooperation and friendship?’ It is this remarkable capacity for generosity that was Mandela’s genius.“It’s a difficult goal, but it’s that goal that I’m recommending for both individuals and institutions. Anger is a prominent threat. … I hesitate to end with a slogan that will portray my age, but it really is time to ‘Give Peace a Chance.’”Tags: Christian Culture Lecture, martha nussbaum
Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt sided with Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) on Monday in responding to a complaint filed with his office last month by The Observer. The complaint concerned the police force and Notre Dame’s denial of records requests in November, despite a change in state law last year that might have required them to grant access.The relevant law hinges on the legal distinction between private and public agencies.Under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (APRA), “public agencies” — like local police departments — are required to release certain records by law. However, private university police departments like NDSP have long been considered private agencies under state law, and therefore not subject to APRA.Last spring, the Indiana State Legislature passed HB 1022, which would have required private university police departments to disclose records only in situations where someone was arrested or incarcerated, shielding them specifically from the rest of APRA. It was vetoed by then-Gov. Mike Pence in March.But in November, the South Bend Tribune reported another law — HB 1019 — was also passed last year containing language such that it inadvertently changed the state’s definition of a “public agency” to specifically include university police departments.Effective July 1 of last year, the law changed the term’s definition, which now reads in the Indiana State Code as the following:“‘Public agency,’ except as provided in section 2.1 of this chapter, means the following: … (11) A private university police department. The term does not include the governing board of a private university or any other department, division, board, entity, or office of a private university.”Of the change in the definition, Britt said it was “inadvertently inserted into HB 1019.”Britt said in a letter that his office became aware of the error in July 2016, and that “on the advice of the Legislative Services agency,” he began to advise his constituents that the changed definition had “the full force of law.”“In August of 2016, however, the Indiana Legislative Council voted unanimously to include the error in the 2017 Technical Corrections Bill, HB 1181,” Britt said. “As of the date of this writing [Jan. 30] it had been referred to the Judiciary Committee but had not yet been passed.”Britt also cited the state Supreme Court’s decision in ESPN’s lawsuit against Notre Dame, which ruled in November that private universities in Indiana are not obligated to disclose police records.“While I may respectfully disagree with that ruling as Public Access Counselor for policy reasons, I defer to the Court’s opinion as the binding and final authority on the matter,” Britt said.Ultimately, Britt said his interpretation of the events surrounding HB 1019 is that the change regarding private university police departments was unintentional.“While the language itself and its impact is substantive and not technical in nature, it was obviously an oversight to include it in the bill,” he said. “I hesitate to categorize it as a simple scrivener’s error, however, it appears to be done in error.“It has been my modus to evaluate the totality of circumstances of an issue and not make determinations on a technicality.”Because he believes the correction will pass the General Assembly and because of his interpretation of the original bill’s intent, Britt said he would “defer to the General Assembly.”If, however, the section regarding APRA is removed from or altered in the legislative corrections bill and private university police departments remain in the definition of “public agency,” Britt said he would revisit the issue.Tags: APRA, HB 1019, HB 1022, NDSP, police records
The Office of Multicultural Services (OMS) at Saint Mary’s hosted an open house mixer event Monday in its office.Director of Student Involvement and Multicultural Services Gloria Jenkins said she wants her office to feel like a welcoming space for all students.“A lot of students are not connecting on campus,” she said. “I want them to know this is a place they can come to meet people, make friends and find a way to get involved on campus. It’s somewhere to hang out.”Jenkins said her office partners with various student groups and other offices to plan events and programming, including Belles Connect, a pre-orientation program for diverse students. The office also works closely with Student Diversity Board (SDB), she said.Senior Princess Mae Visconde said she is very involved with the OMS and helped plan the mixer with the intention of fostering community.“We’ve done [the mixer] in the past and just invited multicultural students, but this time, we opened it to everyone just so everyone can meet one another,” she said.Visconde said the goal was to help students branch out and make new connections.“Some students may not know about the office at all, so this gives them the opportunity to get to know the office, Gloria and the people who come here,” Visconde said. Visconde said she has been a member of SDB the past three years and has worked closely with Jenkins in the past. She said she planned the mixer last year because some students were not connecting with one another on campus and felt lonely.First year Theresa Bridge she attended the mixer because a friend invited her, and this was her first experience with the OMS.“[Mixers] help us get to know new students, get involved in the community and meet new people,” she said.She said she thinks introverted students have a hard time connecting with other students and campus organizations.“When you’re an introvert, you like to stay in,” Bridge said. “If you put yourself out there, it’s not hard; but for some people, it’s hard out of fear of acceptance.”Rawia Chaouali, an international student from Tunisia, said she agrees it is harder for introverts to make friends on campus, so extroverts have an easier time.“For me, I’m social and like to start conversations with whoever and wherever,” she said. “I’ve never felt lonely, actually. Maybe for some other students, it may be hard, though. Clubs are not promoted, or the culture in a club is not that involved.”Chaouali said she believes clubs and organizations should continue hosting mixers such as this one.“Events like this are important first of all because of networking,” Chawali said. “Second of all, it gets yourself out of your comfort zone. When you’re busy, you’re not homesick. It’s also fun, and you learn a lot.”Sophomore Karin Garcia also attended the mixer and said she thinks the OMS is such a good resource for students that she and her friends visit the office frequently.“It’s such a comfortable environment for us,” she said. “We know there are people of other cultures, so we definitely feel safe and comfortable with other people here. There are snacks, and it feels home-ish.”Garcia said she hopes people got to know more about the office through the mixer.“It gets more people to come and meet different people and learn about different cultures,” she said.Tags: Gloria Jenkins, multicultural mixer, Office of Multicultural Services, SDB, Student Diversity Board