Iran’s hard-line parliament rejects president’s budget draft

first_imgTEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s parliament has rejected a budget bill proposed by the country’s relatively moderate president, the latest win by the hard-liners in the house. The move is part of a political struggle between moderates and conservative hard-liners ahead of June elections, which hard-liners hope to win. Iranian state TV report said that of the 261 lawmakers who were present in the 290-seat parliament on Tuesday, 148 voted against the bill while 99 lawmakers backed it. The rest abstained. The hard-liners and opponents of President Hassan Rouhani say the proposed budget is unrealistic, lacks transparency and would cause high inflation.last_img

Irish Green rally draws 20,000; 9 arrested at game

first_img “The numbers were off the charts,” Seamon said. “Everyone is excited about Coach Kelly and the team, and we really want to capitalize on that excitement.” Overall, the weekend ran smoothly despite rain on Saturday, and students and fans showed up under the blue skies on Friday for the pep rally at Irish Green, Seamon said.  Most of the fans removed from the Stadium were targeted for impairment or possession of alcohol, Johnson said.  Saturday’s crowd generally arrived later because of rain earlier in the day, but the rivalry still brought about 10,000 more fans to campus than the Purdue game the previous weekend, he said. “The pep rally to our best guess was well over 23,000 people,” Seamon said. Seamon said the tunnel into the Stadium was open to the public again Friday, and more than 4,200 fans entered through the gates to see the field.  “Police made two arrests on campus outside of the Stadium,” he said. “Both arrests were for public intoxication, and additional charges of minor consuming and resisting law enforcement were requested against one of the subjects.”center_img Pedal cabs and golf carts provided campus transportation for fans again Saturday. Due to rain, the pedal cabs were not available Saturday morning but ran over 240 rides during the afternoon, and fans are taking advantage of the golf carts as well, Seamon said.  “We did about 1,100 golf cart rides Friday and Saturday,” Seamon said. Damp weather did not prevent nearly 110,000 fans from heading to campus Saturday for the football game against rival Michigan, Director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said.  Seamon said between 3,000 and 3,500 undergraduates participated in the student walkover and the rally, and Game Day Operations gave away 2,500 thundersticks to members of the student body.  Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) arrested nine people in total and removed 63 people from the Stadium, NDSP Director Phil Johnson said.last_img read more

Married professors work together

first_imgMany members of the Notre Dame community believe there is a “ring by spring” sentiment that pervades campus and the students. But what many people might not realize is that there is something in the air for many members of the Notre Dame faculty as well. Notre Dame’s faculty features several individuals who are not only professional colleagues, but also husband and wife. Some of these Domer duos came to teach at Notre Dame together, while others spent time at separate institutions or careers before becoming the second member from their family to receive a faculty position at the University. Professors Joshua Diehl and Kristin Valentino both teach in the Department of Psychology at the University. The couple, who have been married “5 years, 1 month and 27 days” both received positions at Notre Dame last year. “During our postdoctoral fellowship at Yale, we both went job hunting as a ‘package Diehl,’” Diehl said. “Notre Dame was the best opportunity for both of us because of its fantastic psychology department, top notch students, and the mission of the University fits well with both of our programs of research.” Other professor-couples struggled with trying to find an academic position at the same university, or even in the same time zone. Professor Annie Coleman of the Department of American Studies, who is married to Professor Jon Coleman of the Department of History, said before she found a position at Notre Dame last year, balancing her own career with her husband’s was difficult. “Jon got a position here at Notre Dame in 2004 when I was coming up for tenure at IUPUI [Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis],” she said. “I drove down to Indianapolis for four or five years and was gone two nights a week to keep on the tenure track.” Jon and Annie said it was especially difficult because their children were 1 and 4 years old when the family moved to South Bend. “It strengthened our relationship in a lot of ways,” Coleman said. “But I couldn’t have kept doing it forever, but it worked out really well in the end because I love working in the Department of American Studies here.” Other professor couples have found different ways to pursue their professional academic life while remaining on campus with their spouse. Professor Kevin Vaughan of the Department of Biology was recruited to teach at the University in 1998, but his wife, fellow biologist Patricia Vaughan, took a different route within the University. “I chose not to pursue a tenure track because of our children,” she said. “I’m research faculty so I work in my husband’s research lab, but I’ve also taught since 2005.” The two remain in close proximity and see each other throughout the day. “Our offices are right next door to each other and we usually have lunch together,” she said. Other faculty couples do not see each other often due to different fields of study. Ramzi Bualuan, a professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been at the University since 1990. His wife, professor Ghada Bualuan, whom he married in 2001, received a job in the Department of Classics in 2006. “We surprisingly don’t see each other that much,” Ramzi said. “Our schedules don’t coincide but that’s intentional so that we can better manage our children’s schedules.” Ghada said working at the same University, albeit in different fields, does have its advantages. “It does make it easier working in the same place,” she said. “We share almost similar backgrounds, talents and aspirations.” While the Bualuans may not run into any professional disagreements because of their different subjects, Diehl and Valentino have found ways to make their shared professional interests into an intellectual competition involving their students. “We have a lab rivalry,” Valentino said. “At the end of each semester our labs engage in a competition for a trophy. Currently, Professor Diehl’s FUN Lab has the hardware.” Diehl and Valentino have also found a unique way for informing unaware students that the two professors are married. “We both tend to use clips of our son to highlight examples in class,” Diehl said. “It’s always kind of funny when students realize that we must be married based on the fact that we have the same adorable child.”last_img read more

Theologian studies evolution

first_img “We’re going to [be] working out important questions, theological questions, about what it means to be human, but in the light of not just the internal, theological context but in the light of the understanding of science,” she said. Deane-Drummond will continue that mission this fall, leading a team of scientists, theologians, anthropologists, psychologists and others in a study called, “Inquiry on Evolution and Human Nature.” Deane-Drummond said she herself has a multi-disciplinary background, as she holds a doctorate in theology and another in plant physiology. “In my previous major monograph on systematic theology, I looked at Christology and how we could envisage a Christology that made sense in the light of evolutionary theory,” Deane-Drummond said. “This particular [study] is looking at human nature in the light of other animals but also our own evolutionary origins,” she said. “I’ve moved from Christology to human nature, and the questions I began to ask at the end of my Christology book were about human nature. So this book follows on from that directly.” “The first part of the process is getting the team together for the year,” she said. “There’s an application process, and it is in itself highly competitive.” Each researcher will pursue his or her own individual monograph project, Deane-Drummond said. She said the study will pick up her research right where she left off. She said she would also like all the researchers to eventually produce a collaborative project. “The point of this is to bring together …  a multidisciplinary team to contribute to sharing what they are researching in their own areas around this topic so that we feel … we are far better informed when we come to consider the crucial questions,” she said. “We will probably produce a book on evolution, human nature and religion, or something like that, which will show the fruits of our mutual conversation as well as our individual projects,” she said. The study, which strives to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue, is sponsored by Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) in Princeton, N.J., and will take place during the 2012-2013 academic year. “The project itself is very exciting because there are questions also that scientists would not think of asking without the dialogue with the humanities,” she said. “I’m not suggesting that theology necessarily informs the message of science, but theology will certainly push science to ask questions in a different kind of way than they might otherwise have done.” Deane-Drummond, along with co-leader Dominic Johnson of the University of Edinburgh, is reviewing research applications for eight research fellows and two post-doctoral fellows to participate in the study.   Deane-Drummond said the study will facilitate a cooperation between the two disciplines. Theology professor Celia Deane-Drummond has spent 20 years of her career bridging the gap between science and theology. She said that in today’s world, it is important to reconcile science and theology. Deane-Drummond said the research team will address large theological questions from multiple angles. “I’m working on forms of theological thinking that make sense in a scientifically engaged culture,” she said.last_img read more

My brother’s and sister’s keeper’

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the second installment in a three-part series discussing mental health at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s in recognition of national Mental Illness Awareness Week. Saint Mary’s junior Molly Smith said she first experienced depressive episodes during her sophomore year of high school. Since then, she has been fighting to get better. “I think this summer was a big point where I realized if I wanted to feel like I was living and not just existing, I had to really work on the issues that were keeping me sick,” Smith said. Smith’s struggle with mental health started with depression and anxiety but grew to include an eating disorder in which she restricted food intake, she said. “Looking back, [the eating disorder] was kind of a coping mechanism to the depression,” Smith said. “I think in hindsight, I didn’t really see how much the depression and all of that were controlling my life.” Smith said she underwent in-patient treatment during winter break of her freshman year at Saint Mary’s. Her subsequent fight to stay well had its ups and downs, she said. Her eating disorder resurfaced during October of her sophomore year, and her health spun downhill again. “It was a lot harder than the first time,” Smith said. “I think [it was] kind of the rock-bottom point of me figuring out that I really needed to address this head-on.”   ‘A common struggle’ Smith’s battle with mental health issues is far from uncommon. Between 6 and 12 percent of college students nationwide seek counseling services, according to the 2012 Executive Summary Report of the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors. Dr. Susan Steibe-Pasalich, director of the University Counseling Center (UCC), said the top five reasons students sought services at the UCC during the 2012-13 school year were anxiety, depression, family concerns, romantic relationships and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Two factors contribute to the development of a mental health issue, Steibe-Pasalich said. “There’s a predisposition toward mental illness – a genetic, biological disposition – and then there are environmental factors,” she said. “Both things need to be present for you to develop a mental disorder.” Notre Dame psychology professor Gerald Haeffel published research about a risk factor for depression, called “cognitive vulnerability,” in the journal Clinical Psychological Science last spring. He told The Observer in May that cognitive vulnerability is a style of thinking about events that can be passed from one person to another. A person’s cognitive vulnerability can predict future depressive episodes.   Haeffel said last week it is difficult for most people to identify their levels of cognitive vulnerability, but they can notice when their moods are abnormally negative. “You may not be able to completely pick up on what dial of thinking you have, but you can pick up on when you’re feeling a little down,” he said. ‘Engage in self-care’ Notre Dame senior Zoe Jimenez said she struggles with anxiety. When she realized her stress level was constantly high, she sought counseling at the UCC. “Especially on this campus, it’s hard to figure out when your high levels of stress are not just regular … because all of us are very, very stressed out all the time,” Jimenez said. “[I realized my stress levels were extreme] when the anxiety started to seep into other aspects of my life, rather than just academics, [and] when I couldn’t stop thinking about work and the things I had to do while hanging out with friends on weekends.” Students can take steps to decrease their stress levels, Jimenez said. “Whether or not you think your level of anxiety or stress is normal, if it’s not desired, … you can do things to help yourself out – like running, exercise, yoga, meditation, praying, going to daily Mass,” she said. “These are all little breaks from life that we all need.” Steibe-Pasalich said students should also take other measures to preserve their mental health. “Engage in self-care,” she said. “Allow yourself to have good social support systems, good friends, people that love you and you love back. … [Also helpful are] letting yourself be vulnerable to others, giving up perfectionistic ways of thinking and ideas.” ‘A community that cares for each other’ Students should work to be active bystanders with regard to their friends’ mental health, Steibe-Pasalich said. “The whole idea is that you would not just stand by and let a crisis happen, but that you would intervene in an active way to help somebody to get involved in preventing an emergency situation,” she said. “It’s sort of [the] ‘I am my brother’s and sister’s keeper’ idea, that we are a community that cares for each other.” Steibe-Pasalich said if a friend’s behavior seems radically different than usual, the student might be facing a mental health issue. “Your friend who suddenly isolates or stays in their room and stops going to class and doesn’t go to the dining hall anymore, that could be some manifestations of depression,” she said. “Or somebody who has extremely excessive energy and hadn’t been that way, but suddenly they’re up all night painting their room or running around the lakes, and they just go … without sleep for more than 24 hours, that could be a bipolar disorder manifestation. “So any real change or very unusual or bizarre behavior, you might suspect that there’s a problem.” Helping a friend who has a mental health issue is tricky but important to his or her well-being, Smith said.   “I think the best thing you can do is just be patient with them and … express to that friend that you’re there if they need anything,” Smith said. “Obviously, if it gets to a situation where you feel like something bad may happen, … you do need to try to talk to them. And if they’re not willing to do it, maybe talk to an RA [resident assistant] or something, because it’s important that they get help.” Jimenez said friends should help each other to stay healthy by participating in relaxing activities together. “If you have a couple hours, leave campus, because a huge part of this is the environment and how stressful it is,” she said. “A lot of times, people need to exit a situation to stop feeling stressed out about whatever is happening in that situation.” Steibe-Pasalich said if the situation seems serious, however, it is appropriate to ask the friend if he or she feels suicidal. She said it is myth that using the word ‘suicide’ will put the idea in someone’s head.   If a friend does feel suicidal, Steibe-Pasalich said to bring him or her to a rector, an RA or the UCC. “I think direct and straightforward is the most courageous way to [approach a friend],” she said. “[You can say] ‘I really care about you, and I’m concerned about how you’ve changed, and I think you need to talk to somebody – more than just us, more than just your friends.’ “Or, ‘Let’s call and make an appointment for you right now,’ so you’re doing it right with them. It’s also good if you can use very specific examples about behavior you’re concerned about with your friend.” ‘Fighting to get better’ Ryan Murphy, a Notre Dame senior, said he struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder during his senior year of high school. He became extremely anxious all the time, was hyper-observant about his actions and refused to eat certain foods because he believed they were unclean. Murphy said receiving counseling for his illness taught him to challenge the stigma against therapy. “I think one of the biggest problems on campus … is that people tend to think that mental health issues are ‘These are broken people, and these are normal people,’” he said. “And that’s not the case at all. … Everyone is susceptible to anxiety, compulsions, depression, … just like everyone’s susceptible to the common cold. “You’re not broken, that’s the thing. You’re feeling something that is part of a normal human condition that can be helped and can be controlled.” A student who is worried about how he or she feels can call the UCC to share concerns, Steibe-Pasalich said. Students can also attend one of the Center’s “Let’s Talk” sessions, which are 15-minute, walk-in consultations the UCC hosts three times a week in locations around campus. Smith said people at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are willing to help students in need of support, as long as students make them aware of their needs. “If you need a friend to help you do that, find one of your close friends who can help you,” she said. “RAs are great for that, too. “The easiest thing to do is to not say anything and to just try and pretend like it’s not a problem, but that’s, at the same time, the worst thing you can do for yourself. Everybody deserves to feel good about themselves and to be able to enjoy and take what they can from their college experience, and you can’t do that when you’re sick.” Students should not quit trying to get better when the going gets tough, Murphy said. “There is someone out there to help you,” he said. “There is always a way to get better, always a way to improve your life.” Smith said it is important that a student struggling with mental health issues believes he or she deserves to feel better. “If you don’t feel good about yourself, you don’t see a need to address these kinds of things,” Smith said. “You don’t really think you deserve it. “People should know that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, you deserve the help. And you deserve to feel good.” Contact Marisa Iati at miati@nd.edulast_img read more

CSC engages South Bend youth

first_imgThree years ago, Naomi Penney, former president of the Neighborhood Research Corporation (NRC) in South Bend, developed an idea that hopefully would engage youths in community building and neighborhood development. Her idea has since come to life in the form of the Engaging Youths, Engaging Neighborhoods Project (EYEN), which allows middle school and high school students to examine their neighborhoods through the lens of photography. The NRC collaborated with Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns to create the project, specifically working with Maria McKenna, assistant professional specialist with Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives; Stuart Greene, English professor and fellow with the Institute for Educational Initiatives and Kevin Burke, assistant professional specialist with the Alliance for Catholic Education. “The goals were twofold: one, to have youth voices heard in community planning and development and two, to engender a sense of agency in youth that would sustain them into adulthood,” McKenna said.  The program particularly seeks to empower children from low-income families and youth of color in the South Bend area, Burke said.  “One of the ways we think about empowering youth was, what if we asked them to tell us a story of their neighborhoods in photos?” Burke said. “What would you change and what do you think is a real asset to the community?”   McKenna said EYEN has worked with three groups of young people in the past two years. “Each of the three groups … have presented a unique photo exhibit of their work and also prepared proposals for community change projects in their various neighborhoods,” McKenna said. Their second project was in collaboration with the Robinson Community Learning Center, a youth center in South Bend frequented by many Notre Dame student volunteers. McKenna, Greene and Burke said youths think about their neighborhoods in a broader sense than do adults, and have thus greatly informed both the project and the neighborhoods with their research and experience. “They see things that adults might not see,” Greene said. “They see assets in parks and safe spaces, even the homeless center, that adults might not see because those are places that draw people together.” Greene saidTthe leaders of the project listened to the children when they suggested something new for the future of EYEN. “[For the next project] we didn’t take on another neighborhood,” Greene said. “We took on youth from these [past] projects and created a youth leadership group … that was a brainchild of this one student in the third project.” According to the Center for Social Concerns website, the Youth Council and Leadership Summit took place this past Augustt expandind the already existing goals of the EYEN. “The idea is to bring youth together … to get kids to think about what they bring, what are their assets and how can they use their collective assets … to see the strengths of the city of South Bend but also then look to where we could improve things,” Greene said. When asked about the future of the project, Greene said the leaders want to see EYEN become self-sustaining. “We would like youth to come to the point now that as they become older, they’ll be in the position to mentor young people, and that will be a really nice perpetuating cycle of youth working with youth to change the city and have a strong enough voice,” Greene said. For those who find the EYEN intriguing, Greene and McKenna plan to teach a Community Based Learning class in the spring of 2014 that will work with the youths of this project. Contact Emma Bone at eborne@nd.edulast_img read more

SMC series fosters relationship between faith, reason

first_imgThursday night, Saint Mary’s Center for Spirituality launched “Unitas, Veritas, Caritas: Catholicism and the Liberal Arts and Sciences” fall lecture series. The series will probe the relationship between faith and reason across several academic disciplines, including economics, nursing and biology.“The series will provide students with an opportunity to engage in conversation with women of extraordinary intellectual accomplishment about the relation of faith, reason, and the profession that God is love,” Elizabeth Groppe, Center for Spirituality director, said. “The endowed lecture series is one way in which the Center for Spirituality fosters conversation about the relationship of faith and reason, a discussion that is foundational to the intellectual culture of a Catholic college.“The scholars speaking in the series have advanced degrees in theology and another discipline and are uniquely qualified to lead this interdisciplinary exploration,” she said.Professor Mary Hirschfeld of Villanova University, who has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Notre Dame, opened the series Thursday night with her lecture “What Difference Does Caritas (Love) Make? A Conversation between Economics and Catholic Social Thought on the Nature of the Human Person.”Hirschfeld said both economists and people who criticize economists end up over-valuing or over-loving material goods.“We should love God, but what does economics have to do with loving God?” Hirschfeld said. “God created this world and it is a world that is ought to be loved, it’s unintelligible to love a God and then scorn his creation.”Hirschfeld said material goods are a part of human life, and having goods can still be virtuous if they are used for a higher purpose.“Our desire for material goods should be absolutely measured by or bounded by the ends they serve,” she said. “The real thing we need to love are the goods we are trying to distribute back and forth, because when we think we love our neighbor more by giving them stuff, we’re thinking about a conception of love that involves having, not being.“That, in turn, is what causes us to have a disordered relationship with material goods. It makes it very hard to be genuinely charitable and open to the human good.”Dr. Marie Hillard, director of bioethics and public policy at The National Catholic Bioethics Center, will deliver the second lecture in the series on Tuesday, Oct. 7. She will speak on “Catholicism, Caritas, and the Vocation of the Health Care Professional.”Hilliard has graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies and Canon Law.Professor Celia Deane-Drummond will conclude the series on Thursday, Oct. 30, with her lecture “Tracing Common Ground in Biology and Theology: Caritas and the Drama of Kinship.”She earned a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Reading University and a Ph.D. in Theology from Manchester Victoria University and is currently a professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, with a concurrent appointment in the College of Science.The lectures are open to all members of the Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Notre Dame communities, and the broader Michiana community. They all begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in Vander Vennet Theatre in the Saint Mary’s Student Center.Tags: Caritas, Center for Spirituality, lecture serieslast_img read more

SMC Alumna starts dance company in South Bend

first_imgAfter graduation, Saint Mary’s alumna Hannah Fischer started her own dance company in South Bend and is now choreographing dances for the upcoming play “Lucky, Liar, Loser,” to be performed at Saint Mary’s Moreau Center for the Arts.Fischer said she wanted to major in women’s studies and dance before there were programs at Saint Mary’s, so she combined them in a self-designed major along with a major in humanistic studies.“I did a self-design major at Saint Mary’s in digital media, women’s studies, and art,” she said.This liberal arts education at Saint Mary’s prepared Fischer for all of her jobs she held after graduation“It’s demonstrative of the education I got at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “And people ask me what I do at my job … I have been [a] jack of all trades.”Part of Fischer’s job in Saint Louis was working with incarcerated youth through dance and theatre.“That work really centered around 13 to 18-year-old young women incarcerated,” she said. “I did that for three years and would love to do that again.”When she came back to South Bend, Fischer said she wanted to start using dance as a means by which to have a conversation.“I just found the dancers I knew in town and found some [other people] that weren’t dancers, but wanted to have conversations that use movement to have the conversation,” Fischer said. “Not everyone I work with is a classically trained ballet dancer.”Fischer got involved with Saint Mary’s upcoming show when one of the dance professors asked her to help. This lead to Fischer and playwright Casey Whitaker exchanging information about the show, she said.“Once I read the description [of the show] I was really interested in being part of the process,” Fischer said. “So when I read about the topic … I was like ‘that is very right up my alley of what I am interested in,’ which is interdisciplinary work that is not just theater for theater sake, or dance for dance sake, but is going to push a conversation along … and to bring people in to the conversation.”Whitaker said she wrote the play to be a “dramedy.”“It’s this hard, serious topic, but it’s also very comedic,” she said. “It’s a multimedia project, so there’s dance and sketch comedy and we’re using this projector to do shadow puppetry.”Fischer said she wants to have dialogues with hard topics in her work.“At the end of the day, I am an artist and I want to have conversations … especially the tough conversations … [those that are] not going to beat around the bush,” Fischer said.Fischer said that she thinks the new show will be groundbreaking for the community.“I think Saint Mary’s has never seen a show like this and South Bend has never seen a show like this,” she said.“Lucky, Liar, Loser” will be performed from April 27 through 30 at the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary’s.Tags: Lucky Liar Loser, Moreau Center for the Arts, Second Citylast_img read more

Fr. Jenkins to serve on Commission on College Basketball

first_imgUniversity President Fr. John Jenkins will serve on the newly formed Commission on College Basketball, the University announced in a press release Wednesday. He will be one of 14 members on the commission.“[The commission] will examine critical aspects of Division I men’s basketball in the wake of recent investigations into the sport by the FBI,” the press release said.The commission was created by decision of the NCAA Board of Governors, Division I Board of Directors and NCAA president Mark Emmert, according to the release.According to the release, main issues the commission will focus on are: “the relations of the NCAA national office, member institutions, student-athletes and coaches with outside entities, including apparel companies, agents and non-scholastic basketball; the NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, including the league’s so-called ‘one-and-done’ rule; [and] creating the right relationship between NCAA member universities and colleges and the national office to promote transparency and accountability.”Five other commission members have connections to the University, according to the press release. Former Secretary of State and Notre Dame alumna Condoleezza Rice will chair it. Two honorary degree recipients — Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, and Martin Dempsey, retired army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — will serve on the commission, as will Notre Dame parent and member of the NBA Hall of Fame David Robinson and Ohio State University athletic director and Notre Dame alumnus Gene Smith.Tags: basketball, Commission on College Basketball, Fr. John Jenkins, University Presidentlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts a donation drive for free store in the basement of Le Mans Hall

first_imgSaint Mary’s College just concluded a week-long donation drive for its free store located in the basement of Le Mans Hall.The annual drive serves to remind students that the free store is a valuable resource — both as a donation site and economical shopping center. Now a junior at Saint Mary’s, ministry assistant Nicole Popow said, “The free store reminds me a lot of Goodwill. Students can donate things and then students that are in need of certain items can also sift through the store and take what they need for free.” Recently, Popow, along with the other ministry assistants, have been working to make the store more appealing to students. “It’s a nice space,” Popow said. “We did a lot of work this year in cleaning it out which has made it a lot more accessible. We staff the free store at specific hours, and while there was a specific drive during this month, the store is open all year and people can give all year as well.” The drive encourages students to donate by facilitating the transportation of items, Popow said. “The ministry assistants in each dorm building advertised for the drive and we put bins in the lobby or by the front desk and we just asked people to bring their unwanted goods there,” she said.  Rather than having to trek between dorms with an armful of clothing or books, students are simply a short elevator ride away from dropping off their donations. “The ministry assistants bring everything over,” Popow said. “Usually we ask people to donate in Le Mans, which isn’t always convenient for everyone so this is a good incentive to donate.”The majority of donations which stock the free store throughout the year come from this drive, Popow said. “We normally get donations throughout the year,” Popow said. “But this is the time when we get the bulk of our donations.” Popow said this year the drive was very successful. “We had a good number of people donate. It kind of fluctuates depending on the time of year, how much advertising we do, and how much people actually give, and in years past, it’s actually been kind of hit-or-miss,” Popow said. “But it’s been really good this year.”For students who missed this drive and are reluctant to make the journey to Le Mans, another opportunity is coming soon. Popow said, “At the end of the year, we’re doing a mega version of this drive called ‘Blue to New’. It takes place when people are moving out and have a lot of useful stuff that they don’t want to take with them and would usually throw away. So we do a drive for that as well.”In terms of what sort of donations are accepted, anything that is not garbage or impossible to reuse is a welcome addition to the store. “Sometimes we even get textbooks,” Popow said. “It’s just a great resource if students need anything from clothes to notebooks and folders. Instead of going to the bookstore, come to the free store!” Tags: donation, free store, Le Mans Hall, saint mary’slast_img read more