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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Senate hears reports from directors of community outreach, academic affairs

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The student body senate gathered Wednesday in a classroom in the Mendoza College of Business building for their weekly meeting
The student body senate gathered Wednesday evening in a classroom on the first floor of the Mendoza College of Business for their weekly meeting.


The Notre Dame student body senate met in a classroom on the first floor of the Mendoza College of Business Wednesday night for a brief meeting. Less than 30 minutes and with no general orders, the meeting featured two semesterly senate reports from executive cabinet department directors of academic affairs and community outreach.

Student body vice president Sofie Stitt started by calling upon sophomore Helen Mahoney to open the meeting, then moved the meeting to roll call, in which senators said what they were giving up for Lent as the meeting’s question of the day. 

Following roll call, Stitt approved the prior meeting’s minutes and moved into executive announcements. She called on directors of community outreach and academic affairs, Lala Petty and Isabella Garcia, respectively, to give their senate reports on the accomplishments and ongoing work of their executive departments.

Petty went first and started her report by discussing how the department of community outreach has recently collaborated with local high schools by providing mentorship and experience in collegiate student government to selected students. 

She also said her department organized a fundraiser with local middle school students.

“We invited Notre Dame students as well as local fifth to eighth grade students to engage in a team-based fundraising event,” Petty said. “The students registered a team, competed in various activities and won prizes. The proceeds were donated to Local Cups South Bend and Pay it Forward Coffee Shop.”

Additionally, Petty said her department worked with the department of diversity and inclusion: race and ethnicity, Campus Ministry and the Office of the President to organize a service project during Walk the Walk Week, focused on addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the greater South Bend area. 

Garcia spoke next and first talked about her department’s role in hosting Exploration Week.

“[Exploration Week] was a week of programming organized to help students across campus — but particularly first-years — to discern their academic journey and other opportunities here at Notre Dame,” Garcia said.

Garcia also talked about how the department of academic affairs is working to financially support students who would like to meet with Notre Dame faculty members.

“My department's major upcoming initiative is working on reinstating coffee chats with faculty members. In the past, students could receive funding from student government to meet with faculty members for food or coffee,” she said. “Our goal is to bring this initiative back for students.”

After giving their reports, the two directors were allowed to leave the meeting if they wished. Petty opted to stay, but Garcia took the offer and told the senate she was leaving “respectfully.” With no general orders, Garcia only missed the last 10 minutes of the meeting.

When Stitt moved the meeting into new business, she called on Fisher Hall senator Creed Leathers to speak about a resolution which he co-wrote to amend the Hall of the Year scoring to include participation in the Sustainability Cup on campus. However, the sponsors of the resolution did not ask the senate to move the resolution to general orders, so it stayed in new business.

“We both had, like, two midterms today,” Leathers said of him and co-sponsor Abbey Donahue, senator of Cavanaugh Hall. “So, next week you guys can grill me.”

Also in new business on the meeting’s agenda was president of Judicial Council Madison Nemeth’s nomination of junior Koryn Isa for her position, which Nemeth, a senior, will be vacating this spring. But the senate did not discuss the topic because, as Stitt explained, Isa was not in attendance.

Following announcements from various senators, Stitt thanked the senate for their time and the meeting was adjourned.