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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Observer

Senate confers Student Union awards in second to last meeting

The 2022-2023 Notre Dame student senate convened for its second to last meeting Wednesday evening in the Mendoza College of Business. Student body president Patrick Lee offered his final State of the Student Union address and senators deliberated on four Student Union awards.

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Student body president Patrick Lee delivers his final State of the Student Union address.
Student body president Patrick Lee delivers his final State of the Student Union address.


After opening prayer, roll call and the approval of minutes, director of campus technology and innovation Jeremy Moynihan got up to give an update on his department.

First underscoring the success of student government’s progress tracker, two initiatives of campus tech, Moynihan explained, are still in progress: the creation of an input form for students with technological issues and a database for students who want to volunteer with community partners.

Next, student body vice president Sofie Stitt guided the meeting through Executive Cabinet events for the upcoming week.

Highlights included PrideFest — a full slate of happenings this weekend centered around building community in and around Notre Dame’s LGBTQ+ student population, a sustainable style swap Friday and an inclusivity and immigration prayer service Sunday.

Stitt reminded senators that Lee sends out a complete list of student government events to the student body each week over email.

Lee then delivered a brief State of the Student Union address, expressing gratitude for lessons learned during his four years of service to the Notre Dame community.

"Thank you for all that you have done this year," Lee said. "Seriously from the bottom of my heart, it's been a real pleasure to work with you guys and I hope we can all stay in touch. When I come back and visit, I hope the Student Union is so much better than I could even imagine."

Moving on to general orders, the Student Union Ethics Commission presented its nominee for the first of four awards to be divvied out, the Michael J. Palumbo Award.

Senators voted to accept Ethics Commission acting chair Koryn Isa’s recommendation for the award, Michael Murakami. Currently serving as the financial chair of Hall President’s Council (HPC), Murakami had represented Dunne Hall for three years, as First Year Class Council representative, senator and then president.

Subsequently, senators debated the merit of 20 nominees for the 2023 Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award, which is given annually to a member of the Notre Dame faculty who has had an outstanding impact on undergraduate education at the University.

Brian Mulholland, director of ASCEND Program, was chosen for the award over political science professor David Campbell in a runoff election. In debate, multiple senators testified that Mulholland, an incredibly approachable and understanding professor, was recently hit by a car but is still teaching because of how much he loves it.

A pair of Irish Clover Awards, given to two outstanding members of the Notre Dame community for exemplary service to the student body, rounded out the general orders section of the meeting.

In a narrow contest, Howard Hall rector Anna Kenny was awarded the 2023 Nancy J. Walsh Irish Clover Award.

"[Kenny] has only been there I believe for four years," HPC co-chair Lauryn Pugh said. “I think my freshman year was the first year that she was in Howard, and she came in a little bit not knowing what to do and had a little bit of struggles. In the past four years, I’ve definitely seen her grow into the type of rector that’s been awesome for the Howard community. Last year when we won hall of the year, it couldn't have been done without her."

Senators then voted to award Molly Schroeder, one of six nominees, the 2023 Student Irish Clover Award.

"I think the spirit of Notre Dame is very much embodied in how much you engage with the community and how you affect other people’s lives," Senior class president Jake Lowry said. “And I think [Schroeder] has affected so many lives on this campus. Even if she hasn’t personally touched your life, she’s been working in the background and making so, so many people happy… If you met Molly Schroeder, you would just melt inside."

To conclude the evening, Knott Hall senator Griffin McAndrew decided not to bring SO2223-27 to the floor.

"This meeting has been so positive I don't really want to move [SO2223-27] up," McAndrew said.

Before adjournment, Executive Cabinet chief of staff Nicole Baumann announced that signups are open for Back the Bend, which takes place on April 1.

"It’s the biggest service event of the year every year," Baumann said. "There were 700 [participants] last year and we’re trying to get 1000 this year, so help out the south Bend community and sign up."