Month: January 2021

SGA launches finance committee

first_imgIn an effort to run Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) more efficiently and consistently, the Board created a Finance Committee to supplement its weekly meetings, student body president Rachael Chesley said. “The SGA Finance Committee was implemented in order to enhance clarity, transparency and consistency in regards to financial policies, sponsorships and travel grants,” Chesley said. Clubs and organizations can apply for event sponsorships and travel grants if the group travels somewhere in representation of Saint Mary’s College, she said. In years past, these requests were brought before the entire board for review, but the Finance Committee will now handle grant applications. “The newly established Finance Committee focuses on the sponsorships, travel grants and finances for SGA, so that SGA can focus on issues, initiatives and the student body during the big board meetings once a week,” Chesley said. Chesley said the committee allows for more to be accomplished during SGA’s Wednesday evening meetings. “It has allowed SGA to focus meetings on campus initiatives, such as the Co-Ex meal ticket reconfiguration, Students for South Bend Discount Program in tangent with Notre Dame and Holy Cross College, the SMC-SGA website, and the social place in Le Mans Hall basement currently being designed and planned,” Chesley said. Committee members include Board executives who meet separately from the larger board, but are still answerable to all members of SGA, she said. Chesley said the Finance Committee is comprised of six members: treasurer, SGA president and vice president, chief of staff, secretary and campus club commissioner. “Although this committee is small, it is held accountable through the Finance Committee Bylaws, SGA Constitution as well as the entire SGA board,” Chesley said. Chesley said she believes the new committee also helps remove unfairness in giving out funds. If a club or organization does not agree with the decision made by the smaller committee, they are able to appeal to the larger board. If the larger board votes that the appeal is valid, then the Finance Committee will meet again on the issue. “The Finance Committee has removed bias and increased consistency and efficiency,” Chesley said. Students interested in applying for their clubs or organizations can find forms in the SGA office on the second floor of the Student Center or on the student government website, she said. They can also contact SGA with questions. “Sponsorship and Travel Grant forms must be turned in 15 business days before the event or day of travel, and forms must include necessary documentation for expenses listed on the form as well,” Chesley said.last_img read more

Club holds climbing competition

first_imgThe Notre Dame Climbing Club held Notre Dame’s first bouldering competition in the Rockne Memorial Gym on Sunday. Sophomore Andrea Rabassa, club secretary, said the event was created to provide an opportunity  for the growing number of climbers at Notre Dame to compete. The club began in 1997 with only a few members, but has grown exponentially in the past three years, Rabassa said. With 71 paying members, regulars at the climbing wall usually work on bouldering. “Bouldering is when you climb without a rope, which can be hard depending on what you’re climbing,” she said. “We needed a competition to give these people a chance to show their skills.” The Bouldering Competition was split into six divisions: novice, beginner female, beginner male, intermediate male, intermediate female and advanced. “We were trying to cater to those who never climbed before as well as to more advanced climbers,” Rabassa said. “We wanted to reach everyone at Notre Dame, no matter what their experience level.” Each participant had a half hour time slot scheduled between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. During their time slot, participants climbed pre-made routes designed by the club. “We set up a bunch of routes for this weekend, ranging from very easy to difficult,” Rabassa said. “It was a great opportunity to change up the wall and get people to try new routes.” Each route was set for a different level and had points attributed to it accordingly. Competitors recorded the top three most difficult routes they climbed within the half hour on a scorecard. “We added up the points and then the person with the most for each division won a pretty sweet climbing prize,” Rabassa said. Winners of the novice and beginner divisions received a chalk bag and chalk. Winners of the intermediate divisions received toothbrushes in addition to the chalk bags. The advanced division winner received a $20 gift card for rock climbing gear. “Chalk is very handy when you start climbing because you use it to dry your hands. It makes it a lot easier,” Rabassa said. “Toothbrushes are used for cleaning out holds so you can get a better grip.” Senior Ben Rollin, club president, said the climbing club might hold a similar competition in the spring. Other club events include three climbing trips to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky each semester. “Based on feedback from climbers, everyone seems to be having a lot of fun,” Rollin said. “Anyone is welcome to join.” In addition the competition and trips, the club also provides a social aspect for its climbers, Rollin said. “Something about climbing that’s special is that you put your life in the hands of people you don’t always know well at first,” he said. “But they’re all extremely supportive, and you come to know them very well.”last_img read more

Showers Dampen OK Go Performance

first_imgAlternative rock band OK Go returned to Notre Dame Friday for a high-energy performance, but rain and wild behavior by band members underwhelmed students. Though rain and lightning postponed the concert for one hour, the band was still “pretty high energy” when they came out, freshman Nate Marti said. Marti said first year students mostly attended the concert.   The event, held outside Legends of Notre Dame, featured a rock wall and trampoline in addition the concert. Because it was held outdoors, inclement weather challenged concert-goers and performers alike. “[Due to the rain], they should have moved the concert inside because it was a small enough crowd,” senior Alex Penler said. Penler said the event did not draw a large crowd, though he said he enjoyed the concert. “There wasn’t as much dancing as one might expect, because the crowd was so small,” Penler said. “If it hadn’t been game weekend with all the Irish shenanigans, more students would have attended.” Senior Deborah Parks said she is happy she attended the concert, despite the poor weather.  “The rain made it kind of gross,” she said, ” but they were a good band.” Despite the rain, she “would choose to go again.” The band used Notre Dame fans’ pre-game excitement to its advantage, heightening the crowd’s energy by telling them Notre Dame was “going to smash Temple,” Marti said. Marti said they also got the crowd involved with clapping and coming out into the crowd, but he said some students seemed frustrated by the band’s behavior.   Lead singer Damian Kulash “dropped five or six f-bombs while onstage,” Marti said. Penler also said she felt OK Go should have behaved differently during their performance at Notre Dame. “[The band] was obviously drunk … and used the f-word more than was appropriate for catholic school,” Penler said. Still, some of the students who turned out for the show said they were long-time fans of the band. Junior Kenny Kraynik said he listened to the band in middle school. He said a highlight for him was when the band broke out hand bells and played their normal songs “with cool harmonies.” OK Go filmed their music video, “This Too Shall Pass,” while on campus with the Notre Dame Marching Band in 2010. Before they left, OK Go tweeted a picture of the music video and a message that read, “Thank you to the marching band who stayed at school over fall break so they could be in the video.”last_img read more

Uruguayan poet’s campus visit includes reading

first_imgSpeaking solely in Spanish, acclaimed Uruguayan poet Silvia Guerra Díaz read her poetry Tuesday at the Snite Museum of Art.  Immediately following each poem, Notre Dame students from the class “Spanish American Poetry in Context,” taught by Professor Ben Heller, shared their personal translations of Díaz’s poems in English. Junior Emma Wolff said Heller came up with the initial idea for the poetry reading.  “Our professor has a really friendly relationship with [Díaz],” Wolff said. “He thought it was obviously a great idea for us to interact with a living poet, because with a lot of the poems we read, the poets are no longer with us.” Students selected the poem they wished to translate from a list provided by Heller, Wolff said. The reading included Díaz’s poems “Ánima Mundi,” “Cloto” and “Ojo de Agua,” among others. “It was on a first come, first serve basis,” Wolff said. “We read the poems beforehand in Spanish, and I just chose whatever title spoke to me.” Heller said translating poetry is a collaborative process between the teacher and the student that seeks to reproduce the essentials of the poem in a new language.  “These translations are not done from one methodological stance. Some of them are more literal, while others are more free translations,” Heller said. “The common denominator is that each student and I, as the leader of the group, tried to capture both the precision and the strangeness of the poems in Spanish and bring that back over to English.” Junior Morgan Hankamer said it was most difficult to find the balance between translating the poem literally and capturing the essence of what Díaz wanted to express through the poem.  “Because poetry is so subjective and often isn’t literal, translating it from one language to anther is fairly hard to do,” Hankamer said.  Reading the translations to Díaz was a nerve-wracking experience, senior Kristian Hila said.  “Having the poet that wrote it sit right next to you, there’s the fear that when you read it, it’ll have a much different meaning than what she intended,” Hila said. “You don’t want to screw it up with that.”  Prior to the poetry reading, Díaz visited the students in class, where they discussed her life, her poetry and how she became interested in writing, Wolff said.  “She was so sweet,” Wolff said. “It was a great experience to have, interacting with living poetry.”  The reading was cosponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Department of Special Collections, the Hesburgh Libraries, the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Henkels Interdisciplinary Visiting Speaker and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts. Contact Lillian McGill at [email protected]last_img read more

Fisher rector issues sudden resignation

first_imgFr. Brad Metz, rector of Fisher Hall, sent an email to Fisher Hall residents early Thursday morning announcing his resignation from his position, effective immediately.“After discussion with administrators in Student Affairs, Human Resources and the Holy Cross community, I apologize for regrettable decisions that I made last weekend that failed to live up to the values of our community,” Metz said in the email. “I will be departing from Fisher in the next couple of days to address these issues and thus resigning my position as Rector effective immediately, and I ask for your prayers.“David Halm, C.S.C. will be serving as interim rector for the remainder of the academic year, and I know that he will lead our community with integrity, compassion and good judgment.”Metz declined to comment beyond what he stated in the email.Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for residential life, confirmed the information in Metz’s email was accurate and declined to comment further on the matter. She said the Office of Student Affairs would seek and hire Metz’s permanent replacement through the annual search to fill vacant rector positions.“Student Affairs is currently engaged in the regular spring search to fill any anticipated vacancies for the 2014 – 2015 academic year,” she said. “I will hire the next Fisher rector together with all new rectors as a result of this regular spring search.”Halm, a seminarian who was serving his first year as a Fisher Hall assistant rector, declined to comment on Metz’s resignation. He thanked the residents for their concern and compassion and asked them to continue respecting Metz’s privacy in an email to the hall sent Friday morning.“The Congregation of Holy Cross, Fr. Brad’s religious community and mine … is an incredible brotherhood and is rallying around Fr. Brad during these days of transition,” he said. “He is being provided with support and love and is also blessed to be near family, including his mom, in South Bend. Right now the best way our community can support him is to pray for him.”Hall vice president and sophomore Michael Lindt said Metz and Halm addressed Fisher Hall residents Tuesday night.“[Metz] basically said that he was sorry for the circumstances surrounding his resignation and that he was sad to leave because we were like sons to him,” he said. “… After Fr. Brad’s speech, he left, and David Halm, the new rector, as well as the rest of the hall staff spoke about the great unity the dorm had shown.“We are using this tragedy as an opportunity for growth, and the brotherhood that we all share will only grow stronger through trial.”Lindt said Metz remained in the dorm through Easter weekend. He said he spoke briefly with Metz, who was serving his third year as rector, over the weekend.Lindt said the residents of Fisher Hall do not know what prompted Metz’s resignation. He said they expressed concern for their former rector after receiving his email.“[The reason for Metz’s resignation] was kept vague, and I think that was good because at first, we were kind of wondering what happened, but overall most of us figured it wasn’t really important to know what happened, just to know that something did happen that caused him to resign,” Lindt said. “After we got the email … it was just kind of disheartening too.“We were very sad, because basically our father figure in the dorm was leaving us. But after we got over that initial shock, the big thing that everyone was worrying about was actually Fr. Brad because we didn’t know what was going on, so we wanted to be as supportive as possible without breaching his privacy.”Fisher Hall president Erik Siegler said Metz encouraged the formation of a tight-knit community in Fisher Hall.“He may not have been in Fisher Hall for a long time, but he has impacted many Fishermen,” Siegler said. “He was able to teach patience and respect to many of the residents of Fisher Hall in his short time here. … I will say he will be greatly missed.”Sophomore Adam Rene Rosenbaum said Metz’s resignation “came as a shock.” He said he did not know what prompted Metz to resign.“I was completely shocked,” Rosenbaum said. “I hadn’t really heard of anything; this kind of came out of nowhere.”Rosenbaum said he and other residents showed support for Metz on Thursday by leaving him notes and signing a Fisher Hall oar to give him as a gift.“A lot of people, myself included, left sticky notes outside of Fr. Brad’s door just thanking him for all he has done for us individually and for the Fisher community, and also some people were going around with a Fisher oar getting people to sign the oar because everyone loves Fr. Brad,” Rosenbaum said. “He had the spirit and he established the sense of brotherhood that we pride ourselves on in Fisher. The fact that he’s leaving us is really sad for our community.”Lindt said Metz supported the strengthening of “a fantastic brotherhood” in the hall. He said he hoped he and other residents would be able to maintain a relationship with Metz.“The biggest legacy I think he’ll leave is, in a sense, he embodied Fisher Hall,” Lindt said. “He was our director, but he also had a very strong determination and desire for us to really grow in brotherhood and he really embodied that.“He very much enabled us to have the brotherhood that we have in Fisher Hall.” Tags: david halm, fisher hall, fisher rector, fr. brad metz, rector brad metz, resignationlast_img read more

Saint Mary’s reaches fundraising goal early

first_imgIn May, the Saint Mary’s “Faith Always, Action Now” campaign announced it reached its initial $80 million goal several months ahead of schedule.Vice president for college relations Shari Rodriguez said the Board of Trustees decided to raise the goal to $90 million soon after the $80 million mark was reached, and the campaign will officially conclude on December 31, 2014.“Meeting and exceeding our original campaign goal several months early is a sure sign of the enthusiastic commitment and loyalty of our alumnae and friends,” College president Carol Ann Mooney said in a press release. “I am confident that our new goal of $90 million will also be attained allowing us to complete designated campaign projects.“At the conclusion of the ‘Faith Always, Action Now’ campaign, Saint Mary’s will be in a stronger position to fulfill the dreams of our founders, the Sisters of the Holy Cross.”Director of media relations Gwen O’Brien said the Board of Trustees approved the campaign in June 2008 and was publicly launched in February 2013.Rodriguez said this is only the third major fundraising campaign in Saint Mary’s history.“Prior to ‘Faith Always, Action Now,’ the Excel Campaign [from] 1981 [to] 1986 raised over $25 million for several projects including construction of the Cushwa-Leighton Library and renovations of the Haggar College Center and Science Hall,” she said. “From 1991-1998, the Sesquicentennial Campaign raised nearly $32 million for College priorities ranging from scholarships and faculty positions to information technology and the annual fund.”Beyond the Excel and Sesquicentennial campaigns, several individual project campaigns funded a number of major facilities including the Student Center, Spes Unica Hall and the Welcome Center, Rodriguez said.Up to this point, the money raised has gone towards scholarships, an endowed professorship in nursing, construction of the Science Hall Greenhouse, endowed summer science research communities and four faculty awards recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, service and mentorship, she said.“We hope to provide enhanced opportunities for students in the form of financial aid, research opportunities, study abroad, cutting edge curricular options and much more,” she said. “A stronger endowment … is the key to the College’s long-term health.”Rodriguez said the campaign money will also be used to renovate and upgrade Angela Athletic Facility and Wellness Complex, the Science Hall and the Cushwa-Leighton Library.Saint Mary’s alumna, Dr. Susan Fitzgerald Rice and her husband, Dr. Don Rice, a Notre Dame alumnus, announced a challenge grant for the renovation and expansion of the Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex, according to a press release. The Rices will match $1 for every $2 pledged up to $1 million, thus yielding $3 million for the project. Fitzgerald Rice is a tri-chair of the ‘Faith Always, Action Now’ campaign and a former member of the Board of Trustees.“A focus on the ‘whole woman’ has always been foremost at Saint Mary’s,” Fitzgerald Rice said in the press release. “Women today embrace an even more active and healthy lifestyle. The current facility, constructed in 1977, does not meet the needs of today’s students. The College’s plan to renovate the Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex will enhance the experience of every Saint Mary’s student.”Tags: capital campaign, Faith Always, saint mary’s, SMClast_img read more

ND students react to Kentucky loss

first_imgThis past Saturday, Notre Dame men’s basketball fans traveled to Cleveland and left disappointed as the No. 3 seed Irish lost against top-seeded, undefeated Kentucky. Kentucky eked out a victory at the last minute with a final score of 68-66.Sophomore Kaitlin Farren was at the game in Quicken Loans Arena and said even though the Irish suffered a loss, she thought it was the best basketball game she had ever seen.“It was such a fun atmosphere, so though I did feel disappointed, I was more so proud of our team for accomplishing all they did this year,” Farren said. “Honestly, I think this was, and will be, the best game of the tournament.”Farren said Notre Dame fans were on edges of their seat throughout the entire game. Head coach Mike Brey and the Notre Dame players seemed confident while Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Kentucky players seemed nervous, she said.“The ND fans fed off of that nervousness,” Farren said. “It was so much fun that ND, a team that so many people refuse to believe has talent, could freak Kentucky out so much.”Junior Kelsey Sullivan also attended the game and said although she was disappointed by the loss, at the end of the game she still felt nothing but pride for the Irish.“At the end of the day they made it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1979, so they should be nothing but proud,” Sullivan said. “From not even making the tournament last year to losing by one shot to an undefeated Kentucky team in the Elite Eight this year, they’ve had an awesome season.”Both Sullivan and Farren said senior forward Pat Connaughton’s thunderous dunk late in the second half was one of the most memorable moments of the game. Sullivan said at that moment the crowd went wild and immediately got on their feet.Farren said the dunk was impressive considering the height disadvantage the Irish had.“Kentucky has a huge team — they had 20 inches over us — and I expected that we’d have to spend most of the game outside the 3-point line taking long shots, but the guys did such a good job taking it to the hoop and getting inside the paint,” Farren said.Farren said watching the game, it was obvious that a huge reason the team worked so fluidly was because of the leadership under Connaughton and senior guard Jerian Grant.“I wish Jerian and Pat could stay because I think they add a lot to the team dynamic and are just unbelievable leaders and motivators, but I think next year we have the strength and stamina to be just as great, if not better, as we were this year,” Farren said.The common feeling in the arena was disappointment that the Irish almost managed to capture what would have been only their second Final Four appearance in program history. However, both Farren and Sullivan agreed there was no lack of Irish pride despite the loss.“It was a great season,” Sullivan said. “Look at the Final Four, they beat two of those teams and one of them twice. They did not disappoint us, they made us proud.”Tags: Final Four, Men’s Basketball, Notre Dame students, Student reactionslast_img read more

Cushwa Center hosts the 2015 Hibernian Lecture

first_imgThe Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism invited Dr. Gillian O’Brien to deliver this year’s Hibernian lecture. O’Brien’s lecture was about her book, “Blood Runs Green,” which was the product of her 2012 Hibernian Research Award and focuses on the 1889 murder of Dr. P.H. Cronin, an Irish physician in Chicago. O’Brien’s research interests, found in her new book include: Irish-American republicanism in the nineteenth century, sensational crime, the history of newspapers and journalism and the urban history of Chicago, all of which helped to inspire her interest in Cronin’s murder.    “To give a little context to how the book came into being, I came to this query almost ten years ago in Chicago on a fellowship to do something entirely different, but it involved me looking at newspapers and dealing with Chicago newspapers of the 1880s,” O’Brien said. “I repeatedly came across accounts of the murder of Dr. Cronin and wondered why I didn’t know more about him. I thought that I’d go read a book about it because I thought someone would have, but I discovered that nobody had. Six books had been written about it, but all in the aftermath of the murder and the trial.” During O’Brien’s lecture, she said her book was largely the story of two individuals: the victim, Dr. Cronin, and Alexander Sullivan, the leader of an Irish-American organization, Clan na Gael, and the man who may have instigated the murder. Reading from “Blood Runs Green,” she said that Sullivan was a dynamic and changing individual and a “master of reinvention.” “Between 1865 and 1895, he was, variously, a respected businessman, the owner of a shoe store, a tax collector, a newspaper editor, a journalist, city official, postmaster, the leader of a secret revolutionary society, a lawyer, an abolitionist, a republican, a democrat, the president of the Irish National League of America, a gambler and a murderer.” The lecture included a summary of what was known about Cronin’s murder, as well as an explanation for why this was found in all the newspapers, not just in Chicago, but across America and in Europe as well. “For the editor of a newspaper, this story had everything,” O’Brien said. “You have a naked man found dead in a sewer [Cronin]. It’s not a bar brawl or a domestic dispute. It involves secret societies. It involves police incompetence at a very high level and it involves a number of very prominent men who were publicly known.” The author also discussed the case’s after-effects, specifically how it affected anti-immigration propaganda. While showing a picture of the original “American melting pot,” she noted how it portrayed the Irish as not mixing in properly and even included a “Clan na Gael” flag, directly referencing the clan’s probable involvement in Cronin’s murder. O’Brien said Cronin’s murder was often used as an anti-Irish propaganda angle in America. “For an American public who was opposed to immigrants, the Cronin story added fuel to their fire because it showed the Irish were killing the Irish in America,” she said. “They made a lot of it.”Tags: blood runs green, Cushwa Center, cushwa center for study of american catholicism, gillian o’brien, hibernian lecture, Irish Studieslast_img read more

Saint Mary’s highlights Girls and Women in Sports

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted a second annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) clinic Friday in the Angela Athletic Facility. According to a College press release, the Women’s Sports Foundation established NGWSD 30 years ago as a way to celebrate extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports.Saint Mary’s director of athletics, Julie Schroeder-Biek, said the event is in celebration of a national day of sports. Colleges, universities and high schools are encouraged to do days like this and expose girls to sports, she said.All eight varsity sports participated in the clinic, Schroeder-Biek said. College athletes volunteered their time to be counselors for the two and a half hour camp.The camp is free and open to girls between the ages of six and twelve, and around 70 girls attended the event, according to Schroeder-Biek.Schroeder-Biek said she applied for a grant through the NCAA conference to fund the event. The event was designed to let the young girls participate in four 30-minute clinics, she said.“They can choose which sports to play when they register,” Schroeder-Biek said. “They have the option of all eight sports, and they rank their top four. Then what we try to do is put them in at least their top three choices.”She said the 30-minute clinics are basic and designed by the college athletes to be introductions into the particular sport. The girls may not have been introduced to all of the sports prior to the clinic, such as lacrosse.“A lot of the little girls have never played lacrosse before because its such a new sport to the midwest so it gives them introductory skills to lacrosse and all of the sports,” she said.Schroeder-Biek said the goal of the event was to ignite the love of activity and sport in the girls. She said the event allows girls to dream big and interact with the college athletes and coaches.“If girls are exposed to sport at a young age and they have fun with it and see the value in it, they’re so much more likely to carry on with an active lifestyle,” she said. “Even if it’s not an organized sport, just being active is so important.”Schroeder-Biek said the clinic fits into the athletic department’s mission because it is about sharing talents and service.“It’s kind of a give back night,” she said. “We all have been given some wonderful God given talents and we want to share that with these little girls and show them all that they can be.”Teresa Guerrero, a senior lacrosse player, said she volunteered because it gives the girls an opportunity to try out sports.“I think sports promote teamwork and friendship among girls so its important to have those things but also helps them stay active and fit and healthy throughout their life,” Guerrero said.Schroeder-Biek said she hopes to continue holding this event every year.Tags: SMC sports cliniclast_img read more

‘The Hunting Ground’ producer discusses work, problem of sexual assault

first_imgAfter creating films that have helped inform changes to university administrative processes, new government legislation and multiple congressional hearings, documentarian Amy Ziering was chosen to be the keynote speaker for the Student Union Board’s (SUB) Literary Festival on Tuesday night.Ziering — who recently produced “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary that examines sexual assault on college campuses and the institutional responses to these incidents — said she tries to create films that will affect change in society.“What I really do like to do is I like to ask questions, and I like to hear other people’s stories and I like to put them on screen,” she said. “ … Really, my work is all about, sort of, the importance of [being] rigorous and the importance of storytelling.”Ziering said her road to becoming a documentarian stemmed from an interest in academia. Her first film was a documentary about French philosopher Jacques Derrida, whose “thinking about dismantling unquestioned social norms was extremely formative” for Ziering, she said. It took about a year of Ziering pursuing him for Derrida to agree to be the subject of the film, Ziering said, and he remained a reluctant subject throughout the filmmaking process.“What I realized, and began to appreciate, is that he wasn’t being difficult,” she said. “He was being pedagogical. Not because he didn’t see the value in storytelling — and this is important — but because, for him, storytelling is something to be taken very, very seriously. It’s important and difficult. Words and what you say matter, and you have to take care — there’s a profound responsibility involved.”This responsibility stayed with Ziering as she embarked upon her career as a filmmaker. In 2006, Ziering said, she came across an article by author and journalist Helen Benedict, which alerted Ziering to the “epidemic” of rape in the U.S. military.“What was so problematic was not just the crimes themselves, but the fact that these victims had no access to any kind of impartial system of justice,” she said. “ … I asked her if her article had been picked up and gone wider and she said, much to her surprise, it had not. No one, she said, wanted to hear about it, no one was very interested.”After discovering that, according to the Department of Defense, “every day in our military, 49 men and women are sexually assaulted,” Ziering said she spent about a year trying to secure funding for a film exploring this subject before she and co-director Kirby Dick decided to produce the film on their own.“We had no money to make this film, and just walking around and talking to these people, it was the obligation, it was that responsibility,” she said. “I heard their stories and I was like, I’m all in. I don’t care, we’re going to make this somehow, someway, and I just felt responsible to make that film, even though everyone said I was so crazy.”Ziering and Dick premiered their film, “The Invisible War,” at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to standing ovations and an outpouring of support.“It broke the story of the epidemic of rape in our military, and unleashed a tsunami of outrage,” Ziering said. “I have a lot of incredible stories I could tell you about what happened in its wake … I knew we had an opportunity here, a possibility.”Part of the aftermath of the film included the introduction of over 35 new pieces of legislation, as well as over 500,000 soldiers viewing the film as part of military training. Ziering said none of this would have been possible without the support of the military.“We made a conscious decision — a creative decision, one could say — that the film would be pro-military,” she said. “We wouldn’t make a film that was anti-military because we realized strategically that regardless of what we might think of certain things that our military was doing at the time, it needed to appeal to and be received by everybody … the military really did watch that film, and as I said, it’s because they felt it wasn’t an attack.”The same campaign that contributed to various instances of political reform also led to the production of “The Hunting Ground,” Ziering said.“Part of what led to all of these policy changes was we did this outreach campaign, and we simply showed the film on campuses,” she said. “And the strange thing that happened was every time we showed it on a campus, a survivor of campus assault would come up to us and say, ‘You know, this happened to me here.’”Once people started coming forward with their stories of surviving campus assault, Ziering and Dick felt an “obligation” to shine a light on the problem of campus sexual assault, she said.“It’s very hard to make these kind of films,” Ziering said. “It’s hard technically, obviously, but it’s hard emotionally. You don’t really end up coming out the same. I had developed secondary PTSD, which I — who knew? But again, we just felt like someone’s got to do this [and] we’re in a good position to do it.”The impact of the film made the arduous filmmaking process worth it, Ziering said.“What’s so interesting and instructive about the importance of storytelling — or this echo effect — is how everybody sort of gets empowered by when you do share and open up, if you feel comfortable doing so, and what a powerful impact it has,” she said.In an interview with The Observer, Ziering said the response from campuses across the country to screenings of “The Hunting Ground” has been “extraordinary,” and urged students to engage in honest conversations about sexual violence.“I’d love for Notre Dame students to watch the film ‘The Hunting Ground’ and talk about it,” Ziering said. “ … The truth is, most men are not rapists. It’s a small percentage of men that commit these crimes, but our rape culture protects them. And it’s time for us to stop protecting perpetrators and start protecting victims and survivors.”Tags: Documentary, notre dame literary festival, sexual assault, sexual assault awareness, The Hunting Groundlast_img read more