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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Group works to foster inclusive environment

After holding a diversity discussion two weeks ago, three experts on campus diversity, Emerald Woodberry, Dr. David Moss and Iris Outlaw, addressed Student Senate during Wednesday's meeting.

Woodberry, academic and university affairs commissioner for the Black Student Association, began the conversation by updating the group on what her organization has been working on.

"We have spent our time trying to gather information from constituents of Call to Action, especially things that happened over the summer that we weren't aware of," Woodberry said.  "We have focused on putting committees together since a lot of Call to Action students from last year graduated. We're actually still recruiting by contacting the multicultural commissioners from each dorm."

She also spoke about her work with Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) to enact initiatives conceived of during last spring's Call to Action Town Hall.

"NDSP went through an increase in cultural competency training," Woodberry said.  "We made a pamphlet with information on reporting and tried to write it in a fair tone rather than one of authorities looking down on the students. Also, for increased accountability of officers they will start carrying business cards so students will know and be able to contact who they interacted with."

Moss, from the Office of Student Affairs, described his office's current project - a one-stop website for reporting any type of issue.

"Call to Action had a great deal of confusion on how to report, to whom, where to go ... this way we'll have one website called to report different instances of issues that don't fit into the Notre Dame environment," Moss said.   

He is also currently inspecting campus websites, working on amending course syllabi and continuing to encourage student involvement.

"We commissioned an internal and external audit of Notre Dame websites, basically to see whether or not they are welcoming and inclusive," Moss said.  "We are also working very hard to include on every course syllabus a phrase about valuing an inclusive environment."nLater in the meeting,

Student body vice president Katie Rose transitioned to a discussion about students' opinions of the Career Center.

"Our major concern is that for a lot of students the Career Center seems only for business jobs, so if you're not interested in strictly business or graduate school you're kind of lost on where to go," Rose said. "We want to centralize all opportunities on campus because a lot of the students that fall into the gap I just mentioned are going to other institutions on campus. We would like better communication and referrals between all these places."

Chief of staff Katie Baker said the amount of resources available for students applying to graduate school is also very limited.

Keenan Hall senator John Vernon works for the academic affairs committee and voiced other student concerns.

"The days surrounding the career fair, students were really upset about Go Irish and the Career Center. They felt that it wasn't helpful or that they didn't know how to use it," Vernon said. "There was also feedback from students in the College of Science that the Career Center is not really for them, that, like Katie said, it's more geared towards business students."

McGlinn Hall senator Ali Wellmanmsaid girls in her dorm have an overall positive view of the Career Center.

"The McGlinn girls really love the Career Center because of the mock interviews, especially the College of Science girls," Wellman said. "However they said it was irksome to call in and make an appointment. Maybe they could make it online like the Writing Center and just have us fill out a timeslot. That would be really convenient."

Monica Daegele, Farley Hall senator, provided perspective from the College of Engineering.

"There is a whole engineering career fair of its owe," Daegele said. "However, it comes right at the beginning of the year, so a lot of students hastily put together resumes and didn't really know what they were getting into."

Class of 2014 president Lizzie Helpling concluded the conversation on a positive note.

"Speaking as someone who very recently decided on a major, the Career Center was an invaluable resource," Helpling said. "I think they are a completely untapped resource for many people. They have job shadows for every single job available. I think what people don't realize is what they could find out if they just went and talked to somebody there, you just have to go find them."