Will Villanova repeat as National Champions? by John Schrup

March madness is one of the craziest times of the year for college basketball fans. Basketball enthusiasts from around the world dial in for three weeks of the most intense games in all of basketball. People take off work, watch from their offices and even schools play the games in their cafeteria. “At my high school, March madness was being played all throughout the day in the cafeteria,” said Sophomore Travis Roberts.

To say the least, March madness is a big deal and the champion of the tournament will forever be glorified in the college basketball world. March madness is known for airtight games that go down to the buzzer and huge upsets. Last year Villanova was the no.3 seed and in the discussion to contend for the championship. Although major contenders, Kansas and North Carolina were the favorites to win the NCAA National Championship. In an epic buzzer beater championship game, Villanova when on to beat North Carolina making them the 2015-2016 NCAA basketball Champions.

Similar to last year, the Villanova Wildcats are not the number one ranked team and this year their even one spot back from last year at the number four ranked team to win the Championship. Villanova has star power, shooting, size, the ability to play small and a fantastic coach. The loss of leaders and impact starters Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono leave a gap in the lineup and with their absence the question now becomes, can the Wildcats have the consistency in this year’s tournament to surpass the top three ranked teams in Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.

” Vegas has Duke with the highest odds at 7-1 to win the championship this year. . . I think they have three guys that are going to be drafted in the first round,” said Freshman Stephen Baity. With their tremendous talent and coaching lead by coach K, Duke has every possibility to become national champions. Villanova and Duke will face off in the elite and 8 assuming both will make it that far.

The second team that’s a major contender to Villanova is Kentucky. Kentucky is another team that is projected to produce three first round draft picks. With Kentucky’s youth, speed and athleticism they can hang with any team. Kentucky and Villanova would face off in the championship which would be an epic battle of experience versus youth.

The third team that could potentially get in the way of Villanova’s repeat is Kansas. Kansas is another team with multiple players projected to go in early in the NBA draft and have a ton of talent throughout the lineup. Kansas who went 29-2 in the regular season, would face off against Villanova in the National championship if they both make it that far.

The major difference between Villanova and the teams ranked in front of them is the confidence that the eight returning players have of being last year’s National Champions. “When you win a championship you have a chip on your shoulder and you have that confidence that you believe you can beat every team you play.” said Senior Joe Laherran. With Villanova’s depth in their bench play, Josh Hart one of the highest scorer in all of Division 1 basketball and Kris Jenkins the same guy who sank the game winning shot in last year’s championship, the Wildcats have the swagger and talent to potentially repeat as National Championship.

Updated “Muslim Ban” by Tamara Qutmiera

President Trump issued a replacement executive order in response to the protests and utter displeasure the people have shown regarding the original Muslim ban, which was executed on January 27, 2017. The original order barred all immigration for ninety days from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The new ban, which will be implemented on March 16, bars immigration from six of the original seven.

Iraq was removed from the list because government officials were worried the U.S. had jeopardized our relationship with Iraq, an important US ally. The new order does not bar lawful permanent residents and others from those six countries that have been granted visas. It applies only to those seeking new visas. Where the initial order suspended refugee admissions from Syria indefinitely, and from all other countries for one hundred twenty days, the new order subjects Syrian refugees to the same suspension as everyone else.

Some of the commentary regarding the new order has suggested that these minimal changes have made it less vulnerable to legal challenge. It won’t go into effect until March 16, but it’s believed that it shouldn’t cause the same chaos we saw at airports the weekend the first order was signed. The decision to exempt current visa-holders also means that the order does not strip individuals in the US of rights previously granted to them, as the first order did.

“I don’t believe that this new order will just fly unnoticed. People are going to be just as outraged and disappointed with the Trump administration this time around, as they were with the first order. It is still a ban that is wrongfully targeting Muslims, no matter how they want to frame it,” said Senior Danielle Jones.

Furthermore, the new order eliminates a provision in the first order that made a case-by-case exemption from the refugee ban available for persons of “minority” faiths in their country of origin, a provision Trump admitted was designed to favor Christian refugees. The new executive order, however, retains a case-by-case exemption authority, so the government could still indeed favor Christian refugees in practice.

“The countries on this list aren’t even the countries in which terrorists, that have caused harm in America, have derived from. The list is completely unjustified and if Trump were really doing this to “keep America safe” then he would have included other countries not the ones on this executive order,” said Senior Jessica Long.

The new order still shares the central defect of its predecessor. Removing Iraq from the list still leaves six countries, all of whose populations are at least 90 percent Muslim. And all the evidence that pointed to the illegal intent underlying the first order applies with equal force to the second order. The administration maintains, as it did with the first, that the order is justified by national security concerns, but that justification is not universally accepted.  

“There are many other ways to keep this country safe, this ban isn’t going to be doing that, if anything it will cause rifts and problems with these people who have never wronged us,” Said Senior Jessica Long.

Another Disappointing Dunk Contest for 2017 by Andrew English

 Once upon a time the slam dunk was so new, so unexpected, and so original, that no one even knew how to describe it.

“Downward into the hoop, much like a cafeteria customer dunking a roll in coffee.” Was one way the New York Times described the shot as being pitched in 1936. In the decades that followed, the slam went from an object of confused wonder to a move reviled as tall-guy hackery. In 1967, the NCAA called it “not a skillful shot” and banned it from competition. The slam dunk is as American as apple pie, iced coffee, and moms. Eighty years on, it seemed as if the full human range of slam dunk motion had been fully explored. Windmills, Statue of Liberty dunks, free-throw-line takeoffs, 180s, 360s, reverses, double-clutches, through the legs, off the backboard, alley-oops. It had all been done again and again and again.

NBA all-star weekend took place this year in New Orleans from February 17-19. There a number of events that the event consist of however, the dunk contest is the main event for NBA All-star weekend. Nonetheless over the years it has become one of the most boring thing to watch due to lack of creativity, or so we thought. In last year’s 2016’s contest, Zach LaVine slipped the surly bonds of Earth to windmill on the face of God and Aaron Gordon CrossFit leg-lifted clear over Stuff the Magic Dragon, turning Air Canada Centre turned into a basketball fan mosh pit.

Many people were excited for the 2017 dunk contest with Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine both saying that they were going to be returning to the contest for a rematch. However, LaVine was injured a couple of weeks before All-star weekend and was unable to attend. “I had really high hopes that Zach LaVine was going to win the dunk contest this year, but since he got injured I though Aaron Gordon was going to win it by a long shot. I was sadly disappointed,” said John Victor Cruz a Senior at NDNU

The 2017 lineup for the dunk contest included Derrick Jones Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Glenn Robinson III, and returning contender Aaron Gordon. “I thought that Derrick Jones Jr. or Aaron Gordon were going to have a battle in the final. But after all the missed dunk attempts I ended up just turning the channel”, said Gonzaga basketball player Brian Alberts. “I mean I love the dunk contest but there’s just no more creativity. Everything has already been done, that’s why when Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon were going crazy in last year’s dunk contest. It was like a breath of fresh air,” said Byron Davis, a former Azusa Pacific college basketball player and coach.

During night of the dunk contest students came into the St. John’s building lounge area to watch the event take place live. “Yeah a lot of people showed up to watch it in the lounge but after the second round of the dunk contest was over, half of the people left,” said Jay Sharma, a junior R.A. at NDNU. Before 2016, the competition had been in steady decline since Vince Carter’s revelatory Air Canada showcase in 2000. The flaws leading up to this year were easy to pick out; inconsistent performances, creative ambition out of proportion with actual ability, and the worst of all, crappy props. The 2017 dunk contest was a remake of these three things and a major fall off from 2016’s Godly dunk contest. If this keeps on going more people are going to tune out instead of tuning in to All-star weekend. Which could lead to less popularity amongst the NBA and its fans.

The Impact of Sporting Success on a College Campus By Ryan Malley

March Madness is here! For the next few weeks, college basketball will be at the center of the sporting world. While many expect the usual teams like Duke, Kentucky or Kansas to end up winning the whole thing, it is the small Cinderella teams that will steal hearts this spring.

What makes the NCAA Basketball tournament so exciting is that any team has that one opportunity when they can play like champions. Last year the 15 seed Middle Tennessee State defeated the National Player of the Year Denzel Valentine and number 2 seeded Michigan State. Over the last 20 games, 12 seeds have gone 10-10 against 5 seeds in the first round. The great upset is what warms hearts, but it does even more for the team that pulls off the upset.

For the regular giants of college athletics, money is thrown around like professional sporting leagues. The 14 team Big 10 Conference’s next TV deal is gong to be worth approximately $2.64 billion according to the Indianapolis Star. Money is not a problem at big time colleges. However the small ones have to earn theirs.

This year Gonzaga is the number 1 seed in the West Bracket of the NCAA Tournament. Many have heard about Gonzaga’s success as a basketball power but that was not always the case. In 1999, the 10th seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs made a Cinderella run of three NCAA tournament victories to advance to the Elite 8.  The small Jesuit school in Spokane Washington has been in every NCAA Tournament since.

A small school’s success athletically on a national stage can change their identity.

The freshman enrollment numbers at Gonzaga in 1997 were 569. In 2001 they were at a record 979. Gonzaga was able to raise $23 million in donations to build their new basketball arena in 2004 according to Ron Lieber of the Wall Street Journal.

Gonzaga is not the only school that has risen above thanks to national exposure from sports. In 1984, Boston College Quarterback Doug Flutie defeated the Miami Hurricanes on a last second Hail Mary pass. This famous win helped Flutie win the Heisman trophy, which goes to the Most Outstanding Player in College Football. In the two years after that season, the number of applications received by Boston College rose by 25%. The phenomena of a schools rise in national prominence and prestige has been coined “The Flutie Effect.”

The “Flutie Effect” continues to hold its own with recent examples from schools such as George Mason, Appalachian State, Boise State, Northern Iowa, Butler, Auburn, Oregon, Baylor, Virginia Commonwealth, Wichita State, Florida Gulf Coast, and Texas A&M. All of these schools have seen recent success in the NCAA tournament or in college football and the results have been higher application numbers.

So while you are enjoying the great games that are available in the NCAA Tournament, try to have en even bigger appreciation for the small schools. A win for Kansas and Duke in the first round is expected, but when 15 seed Middle Tennessee State beats Michigan State, the impact is incredible. In fact Middle Tennessee did it again as a 12 seed this year by defeating 5 seed Minnesota.

Notre Dame de Namur is still a division 2 school. Creating national prestige through athletics is far from conceivable at this point. However successful athletics programs can still bring pride to our local community and help create an exciting atmosphere on campus.

“There is no doubt that creating a greater buzz around our sports programs could could really create a buzz around NDNU’s campus” said senior Luis Ortiz.

The Grateful Garment Project by Noah Sanchez

Professor Richard Rossi’s Public Relations Cases and Campaigns class is currently working with the San Jose based non-profit organization The Grateful Garment Project. His class is planning and setting up a public relations campaign for the non-profit. “In this class, the students are creating a PR campaign for The Grateful Garment organization. A majority of the students have taken some of the other public relations courses I teach before this PR Campaigns class so they are familiar with the steps to start a campaign and all of the different things they need to do. I feel that with a strong PR campaign, we can really help The Grateful Garment Project reach their goal of 20,000 sports bras for Operation emBRAce,” said Professor Richard Rossi.

The Grateful Garment Project’s mission is to ensure that every victim of a sexual crime who crosses the threshold of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) facility or who seeks medical attention and/or law enforcement involvement is provided with whatever new clothing, toiletries, snacks, and other miscellaneous items that he or she may require. They have further expanded their mission and vision to encompass all victims of sexual violence. This includes, but is not limited to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and victims of Human Sexual Trafficking (HST).

Along with donations of money, the Grateful Garment organization is also looking for donations of sports bras for their Operation emBRAce campaign. Their goal for the campaign is to collect 20,000 bras over the next year. “Although this goal seems a little far fetched to achieve because twenty thousand does seem like a lot of bras, even if it is over the course of the year, but with the right public relations campaign, we can achieve the goal. There is also currently a drop box for sports bras in the library if anyone is interested in donating. Helping this non-profit organization is very fulfilling to me and I really like what this organization stands for and what they do,” according to sophomore student, Erin Banda.

The Grateful Garment Project was started by a Notre Dame de Namur alumni, Lisa Blanchard, as senior project, but it expanded to become a whole non-profit organization. Blanchard says that it is her vision that victims of sexual assault never experience further suffering due to lack of resources. One of Blanchard’s partners Michele Grisham accompanies her whenever there is a meeting with Professor Rossi and his class. “TGGP’s mission truly touched me. There are really no words to properly describe the horror of being sexually violated. Anything that I can do to help those survivors is important to me personally. Sports bras are one of the most requested items by sexual assault victims, and yet they are one of the least donated items. Allowing victims to go home without proper support is unacceptable, and you can help us solve this challenge,” said Grisham of The Grateful Garment Project and Operation embrace.

The Grateful Garment Project currently partners with agencies in 29 counties throughout California. In each of theses counties, they have up to six programs. The programs include; clothing closets, human trafficking/CSEC Resources, youth gift-card/incentive, dress for dignity, pack-it forward, and beautification projects. For more information on each of these projects, as well as the different ways you can get involved and donate directly to The Grateful Garment Project, visit their website at http://gratefulgarment.org.

Rising Issue of Hunger In College by Lupe Gutierrez

Hunger has become an issue within universities, for students are now starving themselves in order to pay for college expenses. They are reducing their personal expenses, in order to get through college.

According to author Katy Murphy in a 2016 mercury news article she said that “A new UC survey found that 1 in 5 of students had gone hungry in the past year because they didn’t have money for food. CSU this year released the sobering estimate that 8-12 percent of students were homeless or lacked permanent housing. And a survey from San Jose State found that 20 percent of students had gone a whole day without a meal because money was so tight”.

Here at Notre Dame De Namur University, resident students have meal plans according to what they can afford. Commuter students also have the option of applying for affordable meal plans. 

“Our school should do more in regards to helping students who are starving. UC’s/CSU’s have already developed food programs to help out students who are struggling with hunger, yet we don’t happen to have any programs just yet. Notre Dame De Namur University, should change the meal plans and make them more affordable and to create a food program, that could benefit both resident and commuter students, who are dealing with this issue” Said Senior Fabiola Malfabon.

Jim McGarry, Director of The Sr. Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement stated “ Here on campus we do in fact have students who suffer from food security and homelessness. To help with this issue we have a food pantry on campus, where we bring fresh produce from a local farmer’s market, for students to take for free. Hunger is a big issue within college campus now a days and we are determined to do more for students”.

CSU and UC’s have taken a stand against the hunger epidemic that is spreading across universities. College campuses across California have decided to set up food pantries, coordinate emergency relief and  set new policies, such as allowing homeless students to stay in campus residence halls during breaks, so students don’t have to worry what will be their next meal or where to stay for the night. Notre Dame De Namur University has began to help out those who suffer from hunger and we hope to make more changes in the year to come.

NDNU Commemorates Berta Caceres For Foundress Week by Renae Roque

Notre Dame de Namur University commemorated the death anniversary of Berta Caceres, a Honduran environmental activist at the Cunningham Chapel on February 9, 2017.
 
The commemoration featured: a candle light vigil, speech from student, Junior, Yahaira Barahona, music, an open panel discussion with Caceres nephew, Silvio Carillo, and different religious organizations.
 
Baharona is a Honduran-American and spoke about her fathers story coming to America. To her, Caceres means everything. She said, We are living in a time where rising up and speaking up is important so knowing that it is possible and that our voices will be heard just likes hers is what truly matters. She fought for what she believed and never forgot where she came from, she actually took Honduras and our people with her everywhere.
 
Music was provided by singers and guitarists Evelie Delfino Sales Posch and Francisco Herrera. Together they shared music from their culture and led the congregation in singing songs together.
 
Carillo shared stories about growing up with his aunt Berta and shared how her love for helping others started. He also answered questions from the audience and said, one of the perpetrators from the assassination has been caught, they have yet to capture the actual master mind.
 
Different religious organizations from the community presented on root causes on why immigrants come to the United States, which relates to the current situation with the Trump administration. A lot of people have a misconception that drug and gang violence is the main reason people from South America migrate North. But thats just a small portion of it. One root cause is because of the newly built resorts in South America denying the access for native people to cross the beach, making them travel around a long route just to get home. Another reason why people migrate North is because of job exploitation in Honduras. Natives work long hours for such low amount of pay which is less than or equal to $1 US Dollar. The religious organizations hope to help those who seek assistance with immigration and encouraged students to also take action and participate in actives in line with the cause.
 
Sophomore, Jemm Magaling enjoyed the event. She was among the few who attended the commemoration.
 
I wish more people attended because you learn more about the current things that are happening, said Magaling.
 
Coordinator of this event was Director of the Sr. Dorothy Stang Center, James McGarry. He chose to commemorate Caceres because shes another heroic woman just like Sister Dorothy Stang who fought for human rights against exploitation.
 
The university has ten Hallmarks that resonate with the school community. One of them is Hallmark 2 which states: We honor the dignity and sacredness of each person. With everything going on in regards to immigration and deportation theres one thing the university and students can do to help according to McGarry.
We cannot lose one person. We cannot allow them to be taken away from this country. We cannot allow them to separate families. Everyone has the right to basic human rights, said McGarry
 
On a poster in the chapel it says, ¡Presente! which not only means present but also resurrected to life which means that she is not gone, but instead still with us by the works that a community does to help one  another and other communities.
 
Caceres was assassinated on March 3, 2016, and her killers are still unknown. Caceres was one of the leaders of The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organization of Honduras (COPINH). They fight against companies seeking to destroy communities environment by means of logging, dams, and mining products.