NDNU Fraternities or Sororities, A Future Reality or Not? by Cynthia Rinaldo

Notre Dame de Namur University does not have fraternities or sororities on campus, but there are some students who say they are part of a chapter, NDNU refuses to identify them as a club.

Sororities and fraternities are popular in universities all over the country, so why doesn’t NDNU recognize them?

Dean of Students Marsh-Allen Smith mentioned, “that this institution is too small to have a Greek life and because it is too small it would be difficult to include anyone who wants to be a part of it, and that would go against the NDNU hallmarks.”

These social organizations are student run. They are not created by the school but by students who would have to propose to the school and the club headquarters about initiating a chapter at their university. After the chapter headquarters has accepted the proposal, the students would then make sure the university recognizes them.

NDNU senior Yocelyn Mendoza a Communications major said, “I am a sister of Lambba Sigma Gamma. We are a multi-cultural sorority but the school does not allow Greek life because the school is Catholic and it goes against its hallmarks.”

Mendoza expressed her disappointment in why she and her sisters are unable to affiliate their chapter with the school, “personally I think its unfortunate because we are a multi-cultural sorority so we don’t target a specific ethnicity, culture, or sexuality, doesn’t matter who you are we will never exclude anyone. Originally we were a club called, Sisters for Change, once we officially got established as a sorority the school found out and took our club away.”

Even though the school does not recognize them, members would still wear their Greek letters.

“Since then we no longer affiliate our sorority with NDNU,” said Mendoza. Even though Mendoza and her sisters have tried they have not been able to get through to the school.

A well-developed Greek life culture can help NDNU attract more potential students, especially those who have been anticipating this type of culture at universities. Moreover, fraternities and sororities NDNU can benefit by fundraisers for meaningful causes, which in turn create a caring community among students.

Mendoza said, “we give back to the community, campus clean ups, food drives, we are also part of national events where you gain leadership skills.”

NDNU offers some educational Greek life clubs such as Alpha Mu Gamma (language honor society), Delta Epsilon Sigma (Catholic scholastic honor society), Delta Mu Delta, (business administration honor society), Lambda Pi Eta (communication honor society), and Phi Alpha Delta (law fraternity) not any special frats or sorority.

In the “A Guidebook for Student Organizations” on the NDNU website it is possible to have Sororities and Fraternities if guidelines are properly followed.

Call To Action Day by Abby Dyer

Call to Action Day took place this year on Tuesday October 10, 2017 at Notre Dame de Namur. It is a day where Notre Dame de Namur leaves the classroom and students, staff and faculty come together to participate in community service around Belmont or other locations in the Bay Area.

Carter Bishop, NDNU Junior said “Many Universities just teach information from lecture halls but they don’t send their students out into the real world. By going out and doing community service and real life experiences will help us now and years to come. NDNU is taking college learning to a new level.”

Call to Action gives the opportunity for NDNU to learn through community service projects such as recreational park clean-ups, serving meals with local hunger relief organizations, hands on learn with elementary school students and many more. This

provides an opportunity to apply academic learning to real human needs.

Lindsay Denton, NDNU Senior and Student body President said “It is specifically organized by the Sister Dorothy Stang center and Bonner Leaders. Although It is a group effort through out the University, and there isn’t one demographic at our University that doesn’t engage.”

Call to Action brings the NDNU community together, uniting people from diverse backgrounds to work towards a common goal.

Cheryl Chou, former NDNU Alumni said, “not only does NDNU have Call to Action but as well as requirements to take like freshman seminar. The purpose is coming together as one community and reflecting on the engagement we came together for. To have this it is all set up by NDNUs Dorothy Stang center. They given a budget to follow by and list of things around the community that needs to be focused on.”

NDNU Mens and Women Soccer team took action at Ole Donnell park in Belmont. There the city provided them with gloves, shovel and a variety of different plants. They started at nine o’clock and ended a 2 o’clock. They planted plants for the park, picked up trash, watered and laid down fresh bark. At the end of the day, they transformed the park where now Belmont citizens can forever enjoy.

NDNU takes pride in core values and the seven Hallmarks to follow by. Number four of NDNU Hallmarks is, “We commit ourselves to community service.” Denton also mentioned,“ Call to Action is essential because it is in the hallmarks of the school, it is the code in which we operate by.”

Not only does NDNU focus on the Hallmarks but specifically it focuses on Environmental Justice, Social Justice, and of course Community engagement. Call to Action teaches NDNU students, faculty, and staff members to respect NDNUs principles and life long commitments to help and serve. Alec Heiner , Graduate Student and current worker at NDNU Dorothy Stang Center said “ The reason for Call to action is that NDNU takes a day and dedicates it to others, it gives us a life long aspiration in wanting to help and do better throughout communities.”

NDNU Theater hosts Ravenscroft throughout October by Diego Acuna Ortega

The Department of Theatre and Dance will be performing their latest production, Ravenscroft, a gothic thriller by Don Nigro at the NDNU Theater. There will be multiple performances of the play throughout October 13 – 21, along with special events for each performance.

Four current NDNU theater students will be performing at the play: Treci Fields, Andrea Rosewicz, Tatiana Ochoa, and Ariana Sanchez. Also performing will be school alumni Seamus Donohoe, as well as an appearance by the local actress Abigail Warren. They will be directed by Professor R. Dutch Fritz, and will have Juan Pascual as the stage manager for the production.

Director Fritz, who has been directing and working in other local plays for many years, jumped through several hurdles to pull everything together to make the play happen, including finding the necessary male and female actors. “The outlook for success was grim to say the least,” said Fritz. After a “two week scramble and networking blitz I was able to find… Seamus Donohoe [who] turned out to be made for the part.”

Ravenscroft is one of the Halloween-themed events being held this October by the school. “We want to provide fun and engaging activities that tie into the spirit of the season and give NDNU students something a little different” said Director Fritz. As a murder mystery play, Ravenscroft adds to the NDNU Halloween spirit.

“I haven’t seen a murder mystery or really watch plays in general,” said junior Karl Fernando who attended the October 14 show. “But I enjoyed the play, and they should have more of these events like this because it’s very entertaining and in the Halloween Spirit.”

The performances will also have numerous special events to go along with the productions. Some of these events include a post-performance reception on opening night, a horror movie festival after the October 14th performance and a steampunk/victorian/goth costume contest after the October 20th performance. There will also be raffles rewarding gift cards to people who attend each night. “The events are intended as incentives to draw in audience, especially those who might otherwise not come to a live theatre performance,” said Director Fritz about these accompanying events.

The thriller’s plot focuses on a detective called Inspector Ruffing who comes to investigate the death of Patrick Roarke, who fell to his death in theRavenscroft home staircase. In this home he finds five distinct women, each with their own unique personality and their own version of how Patrick died. This murder mystery takes Ruffing and the audience on a thrilling ride to find exactly what happened at the Ravenscroft home and who is responsible for Roarke’s murder.

After the finale of Ravenscroft, Director Fritz will be working along with others for two other productions in the spring, and will continue to work on his own script that he has been preparing based on the character Renfield from Dracula as well as working at other local theaters.

Ralston Mansion Renovation by Erick M. Mora-Hernandez

“The Campaign to Save Ralston Hall” has raised a total of $20.2 million of a $26 million renovation plan for this National Registered Historic Landmark.

Many summer homes were built in the late 1800s by financial leaders and early citizens of California, but the Ralston Mansion is the only one that has not had any major changes since the 1870s. It’s structure and garden has attracted many over the years, but it now remains closed as it awaits its renovation.

The Ralston Mansion renovation will allow it to become a place of gathering for everyone to enjoy once again. It will be open to the students and faculty of Notre Dame de Namur University as well as to the public. The third floor will be available as a learning center. The first floor will be used as a rental for social events which will provide an important revenue stream for NDNU.

“I don’t really care about Ralston Mansion since I haven’t experienced it for myself, but from what I’ve heard it was pretty cool in there,” said Renaeivy Roque, a senior at Notre Dame de Namur. “So my hope is that it actually gets renovated so we can use it.”

Its renovation budget is $26 million and the “The Campaign to Save Ralston Hall” has already raised $20.2 million. There has been many donations with an extensive list of several foundations, alumni, community members, faculty and staff.

The renovation plan is underway and construction will begin early next year, 2018, if the budget is met. Once it starts, the construction will take around 18 to 24 months.

When the Ralston Mansion was first built, it was the country showplace of William Chapman Ralston who lived from the years 1826 to 1875. He was a businessman, financier, and founder of the Bank of California. He used his home to entertain several great figures and used its setting to show off the potential of California to its visitors.

“I believe that the Ralston Mansion is important to the university because of the history it has from the previous owners to where it stands now. I hope after renovations students will be able to access and utilize the mansion with more student friendly programs,” said Andy Urbina, a senior at Notre Dame de Namur.

 

In 1922, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur purchased the mansion and it became their dormitory, dining hall, chapel and residence. It later became an office space and also served as a recreational area for students and staff once other buildings were built on campus. The mansion was used for dances, recitals, meetings, concerts and other student activities. It has also been very popular for hosting weddings and social events for the community.
“It was the heart of the campus,” said Denise Winkelstein, Director of Advancement Special Events and Stewardship.

Zine In at NDNU’s Gilbert Library!

Come express your thoughts at NDNU’s zine making space at the Gilbert Library. There will also be a zine exhibit now through November 3rd.

Zine (pronounced “Zeens”) is short for magazines or fanzines. Zines are self-publications made by anyone who wants to express themselves and their thoughts without the goal of making money.

“Zines are unique in that they are self-published and are a powerful medium for expressing uncensored ideas and telling stories that often counter mainstream ideas and thoughts,” said Instructional Design Librarian at NDNU, Pia Walawalkar.

Pia Walawalkar and Collin Thormoto, Library Access Services Manager at NDNU, came together to organize an exhibit where students can read and get inspired by the different zines that have been published by people across the country. Some of the zines you can find at the exhibit cover topics such as feminism, bullying, yoga, love for art, eating disorders, a taxi driver’s guide to SF and more.

Along with the exhibit, the library also provides a democratic space for students to create their own zines. They have all the necessary supplies for students to start their zines, get them printed and published. For those who have never done a zine, there are instructions posted on the wall for students to have a guide when making their zines. There is no limit on what the zines can be about. They can be of any mixed format and cover a range of topics.

“[Students] can publish anything they want to publish. There are people who have done zines on meetings,  interviews, drawings. [Zines] is a very good medium,” said Thormoto.

Apart from creating a space at the library for zine making, Walawalkar took the initiative to make zines an influence in the NDNU community. Walawalkar  is co-teaching a freshman seminar course this year and for their midterm, students made zines. The goal of this activity was for students to share out how community engagement activities, Call-to Action day, and their first year at NDNU has impacted them.

Although zines are having a come back, people have been enjoying reading zines for years now because they are able to read about different perspectives in regards to many issues.

Michelle Clark, Teen Services Librarian at Redwood City’s Downtown Library, has been reading zines for a while “because they offer a lot of different perspectives when they come to perspectives on social issues and even different perspectives on art.”

If students need help creating a zine and how to get it published, they are welcomed to contact Pia Walawalkar via her email  swalawalkar@ndnu.edu or they can drop in at the library and ask for her.

Foul Ball in MLB game hits Toddler by Jared Ortiz

In a recent incident on September 21st, 2017 in New York a toddler was struck in the head with a baseball at Yankee Stadium. Many were questioning how and why this happened, but it was just a freak accident that no one wishes to happen to anyone.

Due to this recent event professional baseball teams from all around the country have started to draw up plans to put safety nets all around the park so incidents like this wont happen again. Both fans and players were disgusted with what happened and soon began to talk about how there should be safety nets everywhere around the stadium no matter where you are sitting at. Because when a baseball is coming at you 100 MPH you have no time to react.

Here at NDNU there has been no incident like this recorded because the softball fields are gated off where fans do not have access to. The spectators usually sit behind home plate or near the benches where there are gates provided protecting them from any foul balls.

Sergio Gonzales Notre Dame de Namur Sophomore was sad to see this happen to such a young person because he is an avid sports watcher and likes to watch baseball and when talking about this certain topic with him he said I am sick to my stomach because this is the type of thing that can be prevented. Gonzales also went on to sayI am glad to see something finally being done, but it came too late and paid too big of a price for something to not have been dealt with earlier. This is a very sensitive topic that should have been dealt with yeas ago and it is a shame that it has come to this point for Major League teams to finally step up and do something about an ongoing incident that has been happening around the MLB for years on end.

Many students around Notre Dame de Namur University  have were surprised about what had happened especially Sophomore Adam Lopez because he and his family are baseball lovers and are horrified to see something like this happen. When asked about this Lopez said This is the type of accident that happens almost every day at ballparks but goes unnoticed until someone really gets injured for owners to actually take action for these sorts of things , it is a shame that this had to happen for something to change.

People should care about this recent incident because it can happen anywhere at any given time, no one is really safe when attending a baseball game. At baseball games there are always flying baseballs and commotion everywhere but in a blink of an eye a ball could be coming at you without even noticing.

Belmont Resident Passing Raises Questions About Campus Safety by Diego Acuna Ortega

Over the weekend of September 16-17, Belmont Police officials came to the campus to recover the body of a city resident that passed away. While no students or school property were in danger that night, it does spark questions on how secure the campus is from emergencies to outside threats.

Every year, the public safety office publishes their annual security report, which has records of various offenses and incidents that happen on campus, giving an estimate of what incidents occur the most. There are a few cases of theft and sexual harassment each year, but the towering offense compared to all the others is disciplinary action for alcohol and drug abuse. While all other offenses stay in lower, single-digit numbers, there were 64 liquor law violations in 2016 and 89 violations in 2015, virtually all of which happened on campus.

The director of Public Safety, William Palmini, who has had 49 years of police experience and publish two books on his career, said that the real problem “is when these kids get drunk and invite people they don’t even know to the campus… these people with alterior motives.” These actions endanger the safety of all students on campus.

Aside from the problems with alcohol, there aren’t any other major problems, indicating that the campus is pretty safe. However, there are always issues that aren’t reported. When asked about how often offenses like sexual harassment and domestic abuse are reported to authorities, junior Russell Mecua said, “maybe people don’t report it because they are too afraid to speak out or make the situation worse and make it public.”

The nature of sexual assault and domestic abuse makes it difficult to speak out about it because of the sensitivity of the subject, and because there is no way to know how many of these unreported events happen, there is no way to know how it compares to the data that we do know.

When asked about the same subject, Palmini said that these victims likely don’t speak out because of the stigma in society that comes with sexual or domestic abuse. “They don’t want to go to court; they don’t want to continue reliving that experience.”

The director also stated that these victims should “definitely speak out, because it’s not their fault. And by not reporting, it leaves the man or woman… free to continue abuse.” By being brave and reporting their perpetrators, they help remove the people that make the campus less safe.

Resident Assistant Yojani Ulloa said that the housing department focuses on liability. They don’t want “students who shouldn’t be responsible to be responsible”, and try to respond to situations as quickly as possible, sometimes with public safety. “We’re also really good with confidentiality”, she added. “We make sure no one outside of the situation gets to know.”

Public Safety officers and RA’s are always available 24/7 in case of an emergency. They have plans for any situation and are ready to help students with anything they may need. As Palmini stated about public safety as a whole, “it sounds overused, but we’re here to protect and serve.”