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.

Virtual Reality at Notre Dame de Namur by Erick M. Mora-Hernandez

NDNU is a leader in higher education when it comes to using digital technologies to improve learning and to conduct advanced world class research with the help of Dr. Barry’s vision and NDNU administration.

Notre Dame de Namur University’s progressive thinking to support the creation and development of a mixed reality lab adds a remarkable dimension to its learning community. NDNU has been adjusting well to its high in technology and fast pace community which allows it to keep up and have the VR Center it does today.

The most important reason behind the creation of this lab was to meet student basic learning needs which it has been proving to do very well. In this data and technology driven community, students need to be experience and be adept with emerging technologies in order to succeed. NDNU students are being given the opportunity to become adept and be creative in this increasingly digitally mediated world.

“Our lab mission is to have every NDNU student become a competent user of emerging society, relevant technology, and to support the development of every student to be a responsible and ethical citizen when in the digital world,” said Dr. Barry.

The VR Center has hosted a digital art course for the graduate art department this semester. It’s one of the first fully digital art courses to be held in a Masters of Art Therapy program in the country at a small private university. They will be taking digital art and 3D printing to a San Francisco Bay area public art exhibit in October.

The lab offers science students learning experiences in virtual reality, augmented reality, and holographic computing. Most notably, anatomy courses are held in the lab multiple times per week. Math students can use programs where they can write equations anywhere, see graphs and shapes and manipulate them however they want.They also support learning in business, psychology, history, environmental studies, political science, philosophy and sociology.

“No matter what major, students can find something in virtual reality that they can use to improve their knowledge and to have fun learning,” said Mohammad “Wing” Baslamh, student at NDNU.

It also focuses on non-academic skills such as team building, meditation, and collaborative and individual play. Event day is held on wednesdays, students use the lab for whatever games they want and have fun. The VR Center team, Dr. Barry, Maria, Wing, Alex, Richard, and Jorge, want to make it useful for students who want to do something for fun and destress.

Numerous students visit the VR Center to play and explore immersive video games and environments as well to relax and unwind from the stress of a university day.

“This is a special place where the energy and the connection people have through the shared use of technology is ineffable. You have to experience it to understand what alternative reality based  learning and play is about.” Dr. Barry

Music Was Made for Houston by Noelli De La Cruz

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Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) Musical Performance Program and Sr. Dorothy Stang Center came together to hold a benefit concert to fundraise money for Hurricane Harvey relief on September 16, 2017.

On August 25, 2017 a catastrophic hurricane hit Texas killing 70 people. Not only was Texas affected by this hurricane, but the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky were affected as well. According to the National Weather Service, Harvey’s tropical storm poured “51.88 inches of rain, passing the 50 inch measured single-storm rainfall record for the continental US”. Consequently, this flooded one-third of Houston, Texas and parts of other states affected by the hurricane.

As reported by Kimberly Amadeo in a news article written in The Balance, a personal finance website, hurricane Harvey damaged 203,000 homes, destroyed 12,700, and left 250,000 people without power. 75 schools were temporarily closed due to flooding. 1,000,000 vehicles were completely destroyed, and 800 wastewater treatment facilities and 13 Superfund sites were flooded. This caused sewage and toxic chemicals to spread to the flooded areas.

“It’s awful that Texas has to go through another damaging hurricane and to think about all the families that lost everything is heartbreaking” said senior Erika Mendoza.

Thus citizens, organizations, and business have stepped up and donated money for Harvey relief. Many have partnered up with Crowdrise, an online fundraising platform for nonprofits. Organizations have sent food and other supplies for kids, seniors, and pets who were affected by the hurricane.

Notre Dame de Namur University did not stay behind. NDNU joined the relief wagon and hosted a benefit concert at the Taube Center on September 16.

“The idea for a benefit concert was proposed by Debra Lambert the Musical Arts Department Chair, and now with a collaboration of the Sr. Dorothy Stang Center, Musical Arts Department, Office of Spirituality, and Art Therapy Departments we have joined forces to put on this benefits concert Saturday night” says an NDNU graduate intern Alec Heiner.

20 people from the Musical Performance faculty, alumni, students, and guest sang around 25 songs. Heiner said they didn’t have a goal in mind of how much they wanted to raise. They just encouraged everyone to donate because every little bit counts.

However, Sr. Dorothy Stang Center was grateful to announce that they raised over $1000. Vanessa Jimenez, senator of the Education and Psychology Department, said that they choose to give the money to the Red Cross and United Way as well because she has worked with them in the past and they were supportive to local communities.

“I’m glad that as a community, NDNU [did] something to help out. We would want the same support if we were in their shoes” said senior Fabiola Malfabon.

The Music performance Program and everyone who helped plan this event are grateful to all who donated. They encourage those who can and couldn’t make it to the concert to donate to the United Way Worldwide and the American Red Cross via https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/stangcenter-pub.

Three New Artists in the Wiegand Gallery by Noah Sanchez

There is currently an art exhibit up in the Wiegand Gallery until April 22, 2017. The exhibit is titled Britta Kathmeyer, Masako Miki & Sara Pringle: Paintings, Works on Paper & Installation.

According to the Wiegand Gallery Director, Robert Poplack, “These three exceptional artists, with Bay Area ties, raise provocative questions about our place in nature. Their art also explores key issues about identity, myth, and culture.”

Zach Rogow, who worked in the show, has given a short description about each artist and their styles. “Britta Kathmeyer creates art that moves between ambiguity and revelation. She finds inspiration in restraint, working with ink, coffee, and other water-based media to create spaces for memories, emotions, and imagination. Her work is influenced and guided by Eastern philosophy and the observation of nature.

Masako Miki’s, a Notre Dame de Namur graduate (2001), work envisions a cosmic view of our world in constant flux, expressed through an affinity and connection with nature. Her current series, Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost, is inspired by the idea of soul and spirits—a realm between material and immaterial worlds where boundaries dissolve.

Sara Pringle uses self-portraits painted onto grand sceneries that raise questions and small works on paper to bring out contradictory accounts of self, sexuality, identity, and the body. She is interested in dualities such as flatness versus perspective, synthetic versus natural light, pattern versus chaos. Her visual language holds in balance of a questionable intersection of abstraction and nature.”

Sophomore Allyssa Valente helped to hang some of the art that is shown in the exhibit. “The art in this show really caught my eye. I generally do not really pay that much attention to art, but I really like some of the pieces in this show. This show is very unique and unlike anything I have ever seen before. All of the different works are very appealing to the eye. You can really tell which piece is each of the artists because they all have unique techniques as to how they try to relay their message to the audience. Seeing these pieces have really changed my view on art and I think I will start to view art more and look at it differently that I did before,” said Valente.


Black Student Union by Marypaz Hermosillo

February is Black History Month and NDNU’s Black Student Union hosts many events to celebrate. The purpose of these events is to educate other NDNU students about the history of African Americans in the United States.


“To me it means a month to recognize and appreciate all the black activist this country has had and continues to have today,” said freshman Antionette Watson, a member of the Black Student Union at NDNU. “It is a month to remember all the things black people had to go through just to be considered human beings in America.


Black History Month is not only celebrated in the United States, it is also celebrated in Canada. Another country that celebrates Black History Month is the United Kingdom but there it is celebrated in October.


Now Black History Month is celebrated throughout the country and many universities, like NDNU. These universities host events to spread awareness through the university’s Black Student Unions. They not only want to spread awareness of the hardships African Americans have gone through, but also on the accomplishments and achievements African Americans have had in our country.


“The Black Student Union is supposed to be a club that supports black empowerment and black students, but here at NDNU it is just a club that has events for you to attend,” said Watson. NDNU’s Black Student Union has a lot of growing it has to do but it is starting of on a good note, spreading awareness and having multiple events that everyone on campus is welcomed to join.


The Black Student Union is something that is recently gaining numbers in students at NDNU and this year for Black History Month they are putting on a movie for anyone at NDNU to attend every Tuesday. The movies consist of movies that have African Americans as the main character and others even touch on the history of African Americans. Another event they hosted this year was a fashion show on Wednesday February 22, 2106. The theme of the fashion show was culture explosion.


Although not every student is involved with the Black Student Union NDNU on it’s own teaches students about the history of the many different cultures and races in America. “I don’t remember learning much about any positive history of African Americans even during Black History Month before college,” said sophomore Xochitl Vazquez. This seems to be a common theme when talking to the college students that attend NDNU.
“I feel that at NDNU I am exposed to more African American history,” Said Vazquez. “Especially being a Political Science major and taking multiple history classes that don’t just cover basic history like in high school.” This just goes to show that NDNU and the Black Student Union try to expose its students to the history, hardships, and accomplishments of the African American community.

Study Abroad by Brianna Mora

Want to study in Spain? France? Or even Great Britain? Read how!

The Modern Languages and Cultures Program offers Notre Dame de Namur University students to join Study Abroad. The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures enables students to acquire proficiency in their target language and to gain insights from the culture. The Modern Languages and Cultures program prepares students for careers in international business, education, diplomacy, travel, and translation. Study Abroad is highly recommended for students to learn the language and experience another culture. Study Abroad allows students to obtain new perspectives of life in other countries related to education, careers, cultures, and human relationships. Dr. Helene Laroche Davis; chair of the Modern Languages and Culture program here at Notre Dame de Namur University mentions that students, discover themselves when abroad. The program is specifically programmed to help students understand world issues while learning another language and experience other cultures. Dr. Ann Fathman, Study Abroad Adviser said that in recent years, students have studied in..accredited universities throughout the world especially Italy, Spain, France, England, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. Many of the cities include historic capitals such as: Barcelona, Spain; Paris, France; Oxford, England; New Delhi, India, Geneva, Switzerland; Semester at Sea, and others. Laroche states that many of students favorites include: France, Spain, and Italy. Students can even receive credit for participating in trips and service projects. The Study Abroad Experience is available to all Notre Dame de Namur University students! Throughout the experience [students] take classes in a university abroad of their choice and live in dorms or homes. They can take 15 units of classes in any subject offered. Many students also study the language of the country where they are staying.  Most programs offer excursions, and many students travel to other countries during their time abroad, said Fathman. The program strategically allows students to select from a wide variety of summer, semester, and year programs.  Students from all majors can receive credit while studying at overseas universities in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America. Fees for overseas study are comparable to the cost of on-campus tuition and housing. Steps for applying are simple as 1, 2, 3! First, research potential programs to study abroad and contact your study abroad adviser to see if the program meets qualifications. Next, apply to the program. When accepted to the program, obtain Notre Dame de Namur University Approval to Study Abroad form from the Study Abroad office. Fathman also reminds students of the requirements to go on Study Abroad: NDNU requires that a student have a 2.5 GPA, be at least a sophomore, attend an approved study abroad program at an accredited university. Our students attend a variety of programs which have various requirements (e.g.; some require a 3.0 GPA). Fathman adds on to reveal that Students who study abroad have the opportunity to live in a new culture, to learn new languages, to study at a  university in another country, to travel and meet people from different countries. Students who study abroad say it’s the highlight of their college career and a life-changing experience. They become global citizens of the world. If students are interested, please speak with Dr. Helene Laroche Davis or Dr. Ann Fathman.

Zeuxis: Flowers as a Metaphor, a Show at the Wiegand Gallery by Noah Sanchez

There is currently an art exhibit up in the Wiegand Gallery until February 25, 2017. The exhibit is titled Zeuxis: Flowers as a Metaphor. This was a group show that included about twenty-eight different artists from all over the country. Zeuxis is the name of this group of artists while the exhibit’s name isFlowers as a Metaphor.

According to art professor and co-curator of the show, Robert Poplack, “This group of artists choose a theme and then they will submit paintings based on that. An example of this that the artists have done is that they will paint a particular object with in all of their paintings. In this case they are picking a theme of a metaphor, which is a traditional theme.”

Poplack also explained where the unique name of the group of artists come from, while also explaining how exclusive the group is. “Zeuxis was the first still life painter. This is a collective, a group of artists that show together on a regular basis and you have to be invited to be in the group, so not anyone can join. You have to be selected and so — they named the group after the first still life painter.”

This group of artists are from all over the country. They did not find the Wiegand Gallery themselves, but rather the Wiegand Gallery found them. Poplack, who co-curated this show reached out to this group of artists to come show their art at the gallery. Poplack’s wife, Debra Kirkland, is also one of the artists in the show. This is how he found out about this particular show and he thought that it would be a good show for the Wiegand.

Sophomore, Sydney Sudaria participated in hanging the art in the show. “I never really paid a lot of attention to a piece of art until I was handling and hanging it up for an exhibit. This show is very unique and unlike anything I have ever seen before. All of the pieces are very elegant looking and pleasing to the eye. This show really lets the viewer interpret the artist’s meaning of each painting so ultimately each painting has multiple meanings and significances, it just depends on how you look at it.”

One of the artists in the show, Richard Castellana said, “This is an exhibition of “flower” paintings as visual metaphors. The flowers are there, but not are not as crucial as the poetry, moods, emotions, thoughts, they engender. As the title of this exhibition implies, the viewer is encouraged to see not flowers, but what they stand for – you may see something the artists did not.”