first_imgSaint Mary’s president Jan Cervelli launched her Presidential Listening Tour: “A Foundation for the Future” on Sept. 2 to gather feedback to inform the College’s next strategic plan, according to a College press release.According to the release, Cervelli will hold a series of meetings and attend events throughout the academic year with students, faculty and staff, as well as other members of the Saint Mary’s community, such as alumnae, parents and trustees.Surveys will also be conducted to gather data and personal input from members of the community in order to find areas for improvement in the College.Former College president Carol Ann Mooney initiated the current strategic plan, called “Boldly Forward,” to cover the years 2012 to 2017. Over the summer of 2017, Cervelli will use the data collected during her listening tour to develop the next strategic plan.Cervelli said in the release that she encourages everyone in the campus and in alumnae communities, as well as friends and supporters of the College, to make their voices heard in shaping the College’s future.“Saint Mary’s proud tradition inspires and reminds us that, though our service to the College will be short in the full sweep of its history, the influence of decisions we make today will be felt much longer,” she said in the release. “What do we want our influence on Saint Mary’s to be?”In a previous interview with The Observer, Cervelli said the listening tour is an opportunity to hear from everyone involved with Saint Mary’s.“It’s my objective to meet as many people as possible in as many different venues, to listen to what people have to say about Saint Mary’s,” Cervelli said. “What they think of it today, what it means to them, how has it changed their lives, what works really well, what are some opportunities we’re missing and what are some things we could do better.“I’ve learned a great deal by asking more questions than I have talking, so I want to continue that through the year and you will see that I want to share what I’m hearing — I don’t want to just internalize it. I think it’s also a good opportunity for all of us to do a listening tour — to listen to each other, to get to know each other. While it’s a small campus, we have a lot to learn from each other.”According to Cervelli, upcoming events and other information about the listening tour can be found on the College’s website.“Anyone can get on [the website] and learn what I’m learning, can participate, can add,” Cervelli said. “I think it’s a great convening of who are we, who do we want to — where did we come from, and where are we going?”Tags: Jan Cerevelli, Listening Tour, saint mary’s, strategic planlast_img

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first_imgIn its weekly Wednesday meeting, the student senate met with Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for residential life, and Keri Kei Shibata, chief of the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD), to discuss the new rules implemented this year about residence life card access policy and some potential future safety measures such as police-operated CCTV cameras at the entrance to each dorm. The meeting began with a brief overview from the University leaders about the new policy and its motivations.In response to a question about how NDPD can keep track of who is entering and exiting a dorm for security purposes, Shibata said the force is looking at installing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to monitor dorm entrances and exits. Observer File Photo Notre Dame Police Department chief Keri Kei Shibata, right, speaks at an event in 2017. Shibata met with student senate Wednesday to discuss new residential rules implemented this year.“You guys don’t know this yet, but we are looking at adding CCTV cameras to cover the main entrances and exits of the dorms, not inside the halls throughout, but just covering those entrances so that we would have that ability and the problem of holding open doors and the fact that was occurring long before this policy was ever in place tells us that there was a gap even before this became the policy,” she said.Shibata said only police would have access to this footage.“There will be very strict guidelines about who has access — it will be the police only that have access to that video used for very strict purposes of investigating or if there is something going on following an incident for criminal or safety purposes,” she said.The prospect of CCTV cameras being in the dorm did not sit well with some of the senators who asked more questions about the topic.“If there was a student referendum, and it showed that students were very, very, strongly against the addition of security cameras into the main corridors of our dorms, would you guys not add it?” Daniel Feldmeier asked, a sophomore from Siegfried.Shibata said the University would try to do the “right thing.”“We would listen and try to understand why, but if we strongly believe that this is the right thing to do, then we need to do it whether it’s student opinion that it should be or not,” Shibata said.Russell clarified very quickly that these cameras would not be in the main corridors but facing the main entrance and exits of the dorms.Shibata also said the University decided that the past strategy whereby the locksmith office handled dorm access was no longer feasible.“Previously access control was really handled by the locksmith office, and maintenance and their department have changed a little bit,” Shibata said. “The University has come to realize that the locksmith’s office should certainly implement door hardware, the access control system and things like that, but that it shouldn’t necessarily control policy of access control, and so we put together a working group and a higher level steering committee to take a look at access control across campus and establish the right policies for campus; … Ultimately, it will result in some broader policy and probably not a whole lot of difference in people’s daily experience.”Russell addressed the context for the policy change. She brought up three main points about how the world has increasingly become more unsafe in recent years: more domestic terrorism, the fact there are now current Notre Dame students who are survivors of mass shootings with post-traumatic stress and current and past Title IX cases with both parties being Notre Dame students.“In terms of what informed the decision, I would go back to what I said a moment ago which is assessment as our standard of excellence for making these kinds of decisions at an institution like Notre Dame and also at our peer institutions. The first kind of test we looked at is what we called an Administrative Unit Review (AUR),” Russell said. “It is a process that our vice president for student affairs, Erin Hoffmann Harding, when she became vice president eight years ago, asked every department in the division of student affairs to undergo. At the time, Residential Life was called the Office of Housing and it was the first office to undergo an AUR.”Russell explained further that Notre Dame looked at four peer institutions who then formally reviewed the University’s self study at the time. The biggest concern amongst those universities was safety and security. A second tool used was benchmarking Notre Dame’s standards against similar institutions in the category of safety. Lastly, they began using National Best Practices as a guidance policy.She briefly detailed each guideline. The first guideline entails that residence hall doors are locked at all times. The second entails that access to the dorm is limited to only those living in that dorm. The third specifies that all dorm traffic must be directed towards one central entrance outside visiting hours. The fourth is the presence of a card reader access system. The fifth is a general education for the community of safety standards.“Informed by the AUR, benchmarking against various schools some of which I mentioned, and the national best practices — five of which are relevant here — that started to inform what looked like the policy that you heard announced in early August,” Russell said.Senators proceeded to ask Russell and Shibata questions about the new policy. Some questions centered around the issue of stalkers on campus.“Beforehand, if you couldn’t swipe into a dorm, you didn’t belong. People asked you ‘why are you here?’ or ‘who do you know?’ Beforehand, if someone was following you or you thought you were being stalked by someone who doesn’t live at Notre Dame, you could dip into a dorm and hide,” Quentin Colo, an off campus senior, said. “But now people are just letting anyone in; they just assume you are from another dorm, or now, if you are being stalked, you have to go back to your own dorm and the person has to follow you there. … Have you considered that this policy will make campus more unsafe than safer?”Russell and Shibata addressed the issue together talking about an experience last year with two real students waking up to their stalker outside their dorm door and that stalkers are much more likely to be someone you are close to as opposed to a complete stranger. Russell also expressed disappointment in students letting everyone inside the dorm and that she had begun educating hall staff on having residents follow the new dorm policy.Later in the meeting, the issue of stalking was brought back to light when discussing the number of stalking incidents per year. Shibata refuted the perception that stalking is done by strangers and not familiar faces; Russell also clarified that theft is the most common crime on campus.“This decision wasn’t made just because of stalking cases,” Russell said, “What is rampant, is theft, and it’s what rectors and hall staffs are regularly contacted about.”One of the broad concerns from the senate was the effect of the policy on the sense of community present at Notre Dame.“Campus living at Notre Dame is fundamentally different than every other school; there is nothing really comparable to Notre Dame because our dorms mean so much to the students, the dorm community means so much,” D.C. Morris, a junior from Fisher Hall, said.While discussion was beginning to wrap up, there was questions about whether the documentation the University used for their policy could be made available.“You repeated a lot of talking points over and over again, referring to these studies or councils that you formed,” sophomore Thomas Davis, the senate parliamentarian, said. “I was wondering if you would be willing to share all documentation from those with the student senate so that we can review them in order to understand what direction exactly these points lead to and if we would choose the same decision coming from our perspective, the people who actually live on the student’s halls.”Russell said she could not share that information.“No, and for the reason that I would not be able — so it’s not a matter of wanting which was your question — the reason I would not be able to share the benchmarking and National Best Practices is because I don’t own that data,” Russell said. “It comes from other institutions, not our own. It is not my public property or my intellectual property to share.”Other topics that came up at the meeting include the beginning of this year’s Race Relations Week, which runs from September 20 to 27. There will be events every day next week relating to the event.Tags: NDPD, Senate, swipe accesslast_img

first_imgJuan Carlos Diaz-Perez, University of Georgia vegetable horticulturist, encourages Georgia vegetable producers to consider planting poblano peppers. Compared to bell peppers, poblano peppers have a greater yield per acre, comparable market price and more disease resistance.Poblano pepper plants produce an average marketable yield of 71,000 pounds per acre, according to Diaz-Perez, who researched poblano peppers at the UGA Tifton campus. This average poblano pepper yield is 237 percent higher than the comparable state average yield for bell peppers, which came to 30,000 pounds per acre in 2016.“The market price for the poblano pepper is similar, if not higher, when compared to bell peppers,” said Diaz-Perez. “Poblano peppers should be a consideration for those farmers looking for an alternative to bell peppers. It’s always important to have diverse crops. (Poblano peppers are part of) a niche market right now, but they are already in such high demand that I expect it to grow.”The poblano pepper, which is spicier than the bell pepper, is also an attractive option because it seems to be less susceptible to diseases, according to Diaz-Perez. Southern blight disease does affect poblano peppers, but Diaz-Perez’s research shows that disease impacts poblano peppers less than it does bell peppers.In recent years, demand for the green poblano pepper has increased. Diaz-Perez thinks that Georgia growers could meet consumer demand, which means the U.S. would no longer have to import poblano peppers from countries like Mexico.“There’s always an interest in finding an alternative or complementary crop to maintain diversity among crops,” Diaz-Perez said. “You have more options to invest in that way.”More restaurants and culinary enthusiasts crave the rich, spicy flavor of the poblano pepper, Diaz-Perez said.“One common dish in Mexican cuisine is chile relleno, which consists of a poblano pepper stuffed with meat and cheese,” he said. “I don’t want to say which pepper is better, but the poblano adds a distinct, smoky flavor than can liven up any dish. It’s definitely a vegetable crop that farmers should add to their production list.”Diaz-Perez suggests that farmers add the plant to their fields one to two weeks before installing bell pepper plants.“They’re not exactly like bell peppers, and they prefer a cooler environment in order to grow,” he said. “While planting in the spring will produce a solid bounty, planting in early fall will produce a higher volume of peppers. They only take about 65 days to produce mature green fruit.”For information on growing peppers in a home garden, refer to UGA Cooperative Extension Circular 1005, “Home Garden Peppers,” at extension.uga.edu/publications.Julie Jernigan is an intern at UGA-Tifton.last_img

first_imgThe phrase “Hike your own hike” has become something of a motto on the Appalachian Trail. It’s often used in defensive reply to someone who is offering unsolicited advice on how you should hike the trail: what food you should eat, how many miles to cover in a day, what’s wrong with your choice of footwear—but it can also point to the highly personal nature of what draws people into the woods. What motivates people to commit months of their life to following a wilderness path through the mountains of eastern America?One of the most common reasons is for the challenge of it. They want to test themselves on a difficult adventure. They are drawn by the romance and allure of roughing it for weeks on end as they explore the original American frontier. Others go to the A.T. for therapy. They need to escape the grind of the modern world and refill their tanks in the quiet woods. For me, I was most strongly drawn to the A.T. by the story of it. For several years, the stories I heard most about the A.T. were those of my girlfriend, Sunshine. She’d thru-hiked the trail back-to-back in 2004 and 2005. She told me of the friends she made on the trail and the adventures they had together: cowboy camping in the White Mountains or fording swollen rivers in the Maine wilderness. She talked about how difficult it was but also how inspiring. On the trail she’d found herself and grown stronger and more self-confident as a woman. I was captivated by her stories, and the year I turned 30, I decided to go out and make my own journey on the trail. With Sunshine’s support, I went down to Springer Mountain in early February and started walking north.Throughout my hike I always felt I was walking back to Sunshine. This was geographically true in the early days as I made my way north through the dripping, gray Georgia woods towards our home in North Carolina. I spent large parts of those days thinking about Sunshine and the possibilities of our future together. I carried in my pack a wooden ring set with a rough cut diamond that I planned to give to her once I reached the north end of the Smokies where she would join me for a few days on the trail. I can’t count the number of times I opened my pack to check and make sure the ring was still there or the number of hours I spent imagining how I would propose to her.But the trail, like life, has a way of changing your plans. The words “trail” and “trial” can be exchanged by a mere shuffling of letters.When I reached the southern end of the Smoky Mountains a week before my planned rendezvous with Sunshine, I was hiking with four companions I’d met on the trail. We began the climb up the tallest mountains on the A.T. as a heavy winter storm descended on the range. Day after day, the snow deepened and the temperature dropped. Every morning I awoke to boots that were two frozen blocks of ice. The simple act of stuffing my sleeping bag into its sack was a painful ordeal that rubbed my frozen fingers raw. The romantic vision of the A.T. quickly gave way to a painful slog through exhausting conditions. If we weren’t post-holing through 3-foot snowdrifts, then we’d be walking through a cold rain, soaked to the bone. Through it all the good humor of my hiking companions and the stark beauty of the winter landscape lifted my spirits and kept me putting one foot in front of the other. When I finally reached Davenport Gap at the north end of the Smokies, Sunshine was there waiting for me with a hug and a warm pizza.We hiked together for two days through snow-laden woods under trees sheathed in ice. On the night that we camped on the shoulder of Max Patch Bald, I prepared for my proposal. In the pre-dawn dark, I stole out of the tent, leaving a note card with instructions for Sunshine that told her to sleep in (she loves to take leisurely mornings) and where to find me when she was ready to get up. I walked up to the snowy bald where I reflected and prayed while I watched the dawn break.Then my plan began to falter. Sitting down on the snowy hill, I realized that I’d forgotten some needed implements in the tent, most importantly my down jacket and coffee fixings. Not wanting to risk waking Sunshine and disturbing the plan, I decided to settle in and tough it out. An hour passed, then two. The dawn came and went, and the sun rose higher and higher in the sky. For some time I had been thinking, “What on earth can be keeping her?!”DSC_6815_FIXThe truth was she had been awake for some time, luxuriating in her warm sleeping bag and wondering where I’d gone. It wasn’t until she sat up and bumped her head against the note card (which I had romantically hung from the tent rafters) that she read it. She hurried from the tent and found me up on the mountain, a shivering hermit who was completely failing to have the patience that he’d envisioned for himself.She sat with me on the hill, and all the words I’d imagined to say left me. I spoke to her sincerely and falteringly of my love for her and my desire to join my life to hers. When I had finished, she rewarded me with a “Yes.”Long distance hiking does not measure well by the standards of the civilized world. It won’t make you rich or famous. By the end of the journey, you won’t have much to show for your efforts besides some extremely well-toned calves, and those fade quickly once you descend the mountain and return to “normal” life. But the day I descended Mount Katahdin I felt I’d gained a treasure of immeasurable value. I’d lived one of the most important stories of my life, and I was ready to go forward into my future with Sunshine.[divider]Related Articles[/divider]last_img

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