Caitlin Acherl, a junior in the Saint Mary’s ROTC program, agreed with Spittler. “[The change] is about better utilizing the tickets we distribute so the people who need them are getting them. We are happy to pay for the meals of students who have a demonstrated need to be on Notre Dame’s campus,” Johnson said. Beginning this semester, Saint Mary’s students will only be able to apply for a Co-Ex ticket if their commitments to classes or organizations at Notre Dame prevent them from eating during normal Noble Family Dining Hall hours, according to the e-mail. Sophomore Genevieve Spittler was a member of the Saint Mary’s swim team last year. Because practices were held at Notre Dame, she said she often missed College dining hall hours and used the Co-Ex policy to eat at Notre Dame. Saint Mary’s and Sodexo, the College’s food service company, pay the for the number of Co-Ex meals each day because the meals are not included in an individual student’s meal plan, the e-mail said. According to the e-mail, the existing policy allowing Notre Dame students to eat at Saint Mary’s has not changed. “We never had problems getting Co-Exes,” she said. “I understand the fact that [Saint Mary’s] needs to keep a budget,” she said. “However, I think they can limit the number of tickets while still keeping students happy.” “[The program] may exist for decades to come, but with a more focused intent. The program is not being eliminated,” Karen Johnson, vice president of student affairs at Saint Mary’s, said in an e-mail to the College student body. “It is being managed in a more efficient manner, so that Saint Mary’s students with a demonstrated need to be on Notre Dame’s campus at mealtime will get the Co-Ex tickets.” Recent revisions to the Saint Mary’s Co-Exchange (Co-Ex) food services program have prompted College students to start a petition in opposition to the changes. Two of the event’s creators — juniors Maggie Pinnick and Grace Kenesey, who is a member of The Observer’s photography staff — plan to present a 300-signature petition to College President Carol Ann Mooney. The former Co-Ex program allowed Saint Mary’s students to use one of their meal swipes to receive a ticket to eat dinner free of charge at one of Notre Dame’s dining halls. In recent years, seventy-five daily tickets were offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to an e-mail sent to Saint Mary’s students explaining the policy change. According to Johnson, the former policy often prevented students with commitments at Notre Dame from obtaining tickets. Several College students created a Facebook event titled “We Want Co-Ex’s Back” to protest to the new Co-Ex policy. Students who join the event are encouraged to leave their e-mail address and short paragraph about the how the revision of the Co-Ex policy affects them. Saint Mary’s students who do not fit these criteria must pay full price to eat at Notre Dame.
This fall semester brings the launch of a new department on the Saint Mary’s campus. The Department of Global Studies is ready for enrollment to the college. Jill Vihtelic, chair of the department of Global Studies and a professor of business, believes the new department will bring a greater sense of excitement about global studies programs. “The Global Studies programs will act as a home for students who want to further their knowledge on global studies,” Vihtelic said. “This is where their global interests can flourish.” Global studies is an interdisciplinary major in which students learn about the economic, historical, cultural, geographical, and political factors that influence global processes. “The major is built around a core of globally oriented social science courses which provide a foundation for upper-level concentrations in which the student can take advantage of a wide array of curricula at Saint Mary’s and tailor her major to her interests and future professional goals,” Vihtelic said. Since Saint Mary’s is gaining more international students every year, the department expects the new programs to be more attractive to these students who identify with global studies, Vihtelic said. “Saint Mary’s is continuing the growth of international students and this is a great opportunity for these students to come and study at a place that they can call their home,” Vihtelic said. Incoming faculty for the new department is also diverse, Vihtelic said. “We have professors who are coming to Saint Mary’s from all over the globe to teach in our department because global studies is already attractive to them,” Vihtelic said. “This is very exciting for us and for them as well.” According to the program description, students who major or minor in global studies will be required to spend at least five weeks in a college-sponsored study abroad program. They must also have competence in at least one world language. Requiring the students to study abroad will increase the use of technology into each course for students in the major and minors, Vihtelic said. “We will be encouraging our students to tweet and blog more about their experiences at Saint Mary’s as well as their experiences abroad,” she said. “Students will also begin creating an E-portfolio which will contain everything they create from the courses they take. This is a great tool to have for meeting future employers.” The new department will spark a great interest for global studies to students who may want to explore new cultures, Vihtelic said. Vihtelic said the Department of Global Studies responds to global interests for students on campus. For more information on the Department of Global Studies, visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/departments/global-studies
Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is investigating a report of forcible fondling that occurred early Sunday morning, according to an email sent to the student body Monday evening. The incident involved two visitors to campus who had met earlier in the day, the report stated. The fondling occurred in a non-residential campus building on the south edge of campus. The report was made Monday to the department. In the email Monday evening, police advised students to protect themselves from unwanted contact or sexual assault by being aware of their surroundings. “Forcible fondling and other sexual assaults can happen to anyone,” the email report stated. “People are more likely to be assaulted by an acquaintance than a stranger. Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault. “Perpetrators may target people who have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol or those to whom they have given drugs.” Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors of sexual assault is available from NDSP at ndsp.nd.edu or through the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention at http://csap.nd.edu.
Keri O’Mara Increasing its rating from the past three years, the University of Notre Dame was recently awarded a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for exceptional sustainability achievements.“We are extremely proud of the gold rating the University received in the AASHE STARS [Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System] program,” director of sustainability Linda Kurtos said. “The STARS rating system is unique from other systems because it takes into account sustainability aspects from all across the university, not just one or two areas.”Looking at a wide variety of aspects, the rating is indicative of an overall extremely positive change in the environmental awareness of the University, as well as an execution of the goals set forth by Notre Dame’s sustainability strategy, Kurtos said.“Our achievement of a STARS gold rating is a result of a campus-wide commitment to sustainability,” executive vice president John Affleck-Graves said in a press release. “This recognition supports our ongoing efforts over the last few years and reinforces our continued commitment to sustainability.”“From the construction of more LEED-certified buildings to expanding the number of sustainability-related courses and research, the promotion from Silver to Gold is a testament to how much the entire University is doing to advance sustainability,” Kurtos said.Students were excited by the news, particularly those involved in the campus environmental club, GreeND.“Overall, this is positive news, but we still challenge the University to take more ambitious action on sustainability and on climate change in particular. As Pope Francis is making clear with his upcoming encyclical on climate change, this issue is a moral one and Notre Dame can do more,” GreeND leader and senior Garrett Blad said.The improvement from just three years ago is major, but the club and the We Are 9 campaign hope to see more change in the future.“That’s why GreeND is challenging the University to divest the endowment from fossil fuel corporations with the We Are 9 campaign. Notre Dame cannot be a truly sustainable campus if it continues to profit from corporations driving climate change,” Blad said.The new rating puts Notre Dame in the top 13 percent of 300 schools reporting data, and it is the highest rated school in Indiana.“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and are looking forward to making even greater strides in the future,” Kurtos said.Tags: AASHE, association for the advancement of sustainability in higher education, GreeND, STARS, sustainability, sustainability award, We are 9
Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday evening to vote on two resolutions, as well as voting on the nominees for the Frank O’Malley Teaching Award, the Irish Clover Award and the Michael J. Palumbo Award. Additionally, senate approved nominations for Student Union Board (SUB) executive director and Judicial Council president.Senate began with an informal discussion with representatives from Notre Dame’s office of General Counsel, Brian Guarraci and Matt Lahey, both Notre Dame graduates.The Notre Dame General Counsel office is comprised of only eight lawyers, according to Guarraci. The office is split into three groups — employment, litigation and student affairs, and research and marshal property — each of which deals with different issues at the university, Guarraci said.One of the toughest concerns the office deals with are related to Title IX, Lahey said.“I would encourage all of you to be as involved as you can. Prevention is obviously the key,” Lahey said. “Notre Dame is on the forefront of efforts across the country amongst colleges and universities.”Following the discussion, quorum was established, and senate discussed and approved several resolutions. Resolution SS1617-31 amended the Student Union Constitution by adding a subsection stating that if a member of the Hall of the Year Board is unable to attend one presentation by a dorm, he or she will be unable to evaluate any hall presentations. In the event of a tie for Hall of the Year, the Hall Presidents Council co-chairs will decide the winner.Resolution SS1617-32 amended the Student Union Constitution to establish the department of constitutional procedure. The Parliamentarian will act as the director of the department of constitutional procedure ex-officio.Senate voted on the 20 nominees for the Frank O’Malley Teaching Awards, ultimately choosing Dr. Peter Bui, an assistant professional specialist in computer science and engineering, as the winner of the award.Additionally, senate voted on nominees for the Irish Clover Award, an award given to two Notre Dame students who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Notre Dame Student Union. Senior Louis Bertolotti, current SUB executive director, and senior Jessica Pedroza, co-president of the 1st Generation Club, won the award.Student Union Ethics Commission nominated senior Caitlin Geary for the Michael J. Palumbo Award, given to a student who has shown dedication in his or her service to the Student Union. Senate unanimously approved the nomination.Additionally, senate unanimously approved the nomination for SUB executive director, junior Jackson Herrfeldt, and the nomination for Judicial Council president, junior Matt Ross.Tags: general counsel, Judicial Council, Senate, SUB, Title IX
This fall marks the 40th anniversary of the Maynooth, Ireland, program at Saint Mary’s, making it the longest-running study abroad program at the College, Karen Chambers, associate professor of psychology and faculty coordinator of the Ireland program said.A week-long celebration of the program’s anniversary is planned in Ireland, Chambers said, including a visit from College President Jan Cervelli, an Ireland tour for program alumnae and a Mass at Maynooth Chapel.“It’s very hard to get a special Mass scheduled there,” she said. “It’s a great honor to be allowed.”The celebration will conclude with a dinner for guests, alumnae and current Ireland program students at Barberstown Castle, Chambers said.Chambers visits Maynooth University — the school where Saint Mary’s students study — every other year, she said. While there, Chambers said, she works with the administrators and professors at Maynooth University to make sure Saint Mary’s students are being taken care of both academically and personally.“With all of our programs, we try to have personal relationships with the people there,” she said. “That helps us help our students while they are abroad.”Chambers said students who participate in the study abroad program reap several benefits, including academic ones.“A fundamental part of a liberal arts education is being able to understand questions from multiple perspectives, and study abroad is living that,” Chambers said. “Academically, students get a richer understanding of culture and the world.”Most of the students who study abroad in Ireland are sophomores living on their own for the first time, Chambers said.“Students learn how to cook, budget and travel on their own. That helps them step up into themselves,” she said. “It’s a personally enriching experience.”Senior Jessica McCartney, who studied in Ireland during her sophomore year, experienced that personal enrichment for herself. She won first prize in the 2016 Study Abroad Essay Competition at Saint Mary’s. The inspiration for her essay came from exploring the world at a young age, she said.“The inspiration came from a quiet moment of awe,” McCartney said. “ … I was overcome with the awareness of where I was and what I was doing. I was seeing the world, and I wasn’t even 20 years old yet. It was a humbling and exhilarating realization. I couldn’t help but put it into words.”Junior Elizabeth “E.V.” Dundon, a student who studied in Ireland last spring said she chose to attend Saint Mary’s specifically because she wanted to study abroad in Ireland and learn more about her heritage. She also said the Irish people are welcoming, helpful and curious to learn more about America.The Ireland program and study abroad provides students with the chance to grow in their self-confidence, Dundon said.“I learned I could easily take care of myself,” she said. “I learned I could take care of myself and not be worried. I learned I can be confident when traveling. I have a boost of confidence and self-assurance.”Tags: Ireland, Maynooth, Saint Mary’s study abroad
Saint Mary’s is offering a new destination for summer study abroad programs this summer: Jamaica.“We’ve been wanting to get a summer study abroad program in Jamaica for three years,” Aaron Bremyer, the director of the Saint Mary’s Writing Center and the Jamaica study abroad program, said.The program was originally supposed to begin in the summer of 2016, Bremyer said, but the outbreak of Zika Virus posed risks that ultimately led to its postponement.The three-week program is to be held at the University of the West Indies at Mona, located in northern Kingston, he said. From mid-June to early July, Bremyer said, participants will live with students at the University in apartments on campus.“It’s a beautiful campus that offers a lot of opportunities for our students to really integrate with students from Jamaica and all over the Caribbean,” he said.Bremyer said the program centers around a class called Travel Writing in Jamaica, to be taught by English professor and co-director of the Jamaica study abroad program Dionne Bremyer, Aaron Bremyer’s wife. The course meets requirements for the English Writing major as well as general education requirements within the Sophia Program.“The travel writing course is trying to look at the difference between tourism and traveling,” Mr. Bremyer said.Through day trips and weekend trips, he said, students will be exposed to various parts of the island that emphasize the distinction between experiencing the actual culture of Jamaica and experiencing the tourism industry.“A traveler is a person who is integrated into the society rather than intruding on the local culture,” Mr. Bremyer said. “We’re excited about moving away from that tourist-centric idea of the Caribbean as a vacation destination rather than a place where millions upon millions of people live.”Coming from a Jamaican family, Mrs. Bremyer said during a presentation about program Wednesday night that she looks forward to the opportunity to share this cultural experience with students.Mr. Bremyer said he is excited for students to become acquainted with the true culture of Jamaica after hearing stereotypes.“The idea people have of Jamaica isn’t quite the reality of Jamaica,” Mr. Bremyer said. “We wanted to design a program that introduces people to a more authentic Jamaica than most Americans know.”Many Americans have knowledge of the resorts and other tourism aspects of the island nation, Mr. Bremyer said, but there are many other important parts of society there.“The service industry is absolutely essential to the island,” he said, “But it doesn’t present the true history of the island and the people there.”Because this program is meant to take place during the summer, Mr. Bremyer said he and Mrs. Bremyer hope to make it possible for more students to study abroad, as some have schedules that are not always flexible enough for a semester-long program.“Our goal in setting it up was to offer a program to students — many of whom couldn’t study abroad because of class schedules or obligations at the college — that could fit other schedules and be less expensive than some of the other programs,” he said.The Travel Writing in Jamaica program is open to Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross students.Applications for the program are due March 1. Student may contact Aaron or Dionne Bremyer for more details about the program and applying.Tags: Jamaica, Saint Mary’s study abroad, study abroad, summer study abroad
Dominique DeMoe | The Observer Tags: 2018 Student Government Insider, Class Councils, freshman class council, junior class council, senior class council, sophomore class council Junior Class CouncilJunior Class Council (JCC) kicked off the semester with “Jump into Fall” on South Quad, which featured an inflatable joust arena and free pizza. To promote class unity, JCC also hosted a letter-writing event in September encouraging students to reach out to friends studying abroad.“Junior year is a little hard because half of our grade is abroad, so I think it’s nice to make sure people who are abroad feel included even if it’s something small like a letter,” JCC president Laksumi Sivanandan said. “Having something tangible is a nice touch.”After fall break, JCC presented “Oktoberfest,” providing soft pretzels, German chocolate cake, apple cider and root beer in front of South Dining Hall. The council has organized Oktoberfest for the past two years, and Sivanandan said JCC hopes to make the event a class tradition.In November, JCC sponsored “Thanks a Latte,” a Thanksgiving event where students could buy $5 Starbucks gift cards from JCC and send them to students or faculty. In time for the holidays, JCC hosted “Christmas Cheer and JCC Gear” in LaFortune Student Center, which included free treats and apparel for sale.Looking toward next semester, JCC plans to host a junior class formal in February. It will also be organizing another letter-writing event for students studying abroad and game watches for Notre Dame spring sports.“We’re really open to new ideas,” Sivanandan said. “We love hearing [students’] feedback, and we want to run with our ideas to serve [students] and to help students get the most out of their Notre Dame experience.” Sophomore Class CouncilSophomore Class Council (SCC) started the semester with a cookout on South Quad, welcoming sophomores back to campus with burgers, hot dogs and lawn games like Spikeball and cornhole. Before fall break, SCC hosted a fall carnival in LaFortune Student Center featuring a hugging booth and free fall snacks like kettle corn, pumpkin pie and apple cider.SCC partnered with JCC, the Student Government Department of Student Life and the Notre Dame Athletics Marketing Department to host a Shamrock Series game watch in Duncan Student Center, which drew about 550 people.In November, SCC hosted a Christmas trivia event in Duncan Student Center where it offered prizes including a $100 gift card to Chipotle and a $50 gift card to Starbucks. In preparation for the holidays, SCC held its class mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by cookies and hot chocolate in LaFortune Student Center. It also hosted an event to write letters and cards for Notre Dame alumni currently serving in the military.SCC plans to kick off next semester with the Gatsby Dance in the Dahnke Ballroom of Duncan Student Center, an SCC tradition passed down each year.“To me, class council has been a super connective experience both with other people on the [Sophomore Class] Council and with others in class council in years above and below me,” SCC president Sam Cannova said. “But moreover, it’s about connecting the entire class across campus, growing a network and realizing the Notre Dame community that’s so highly graced.” Senior Class CouncilSenior Class Council (SCC) began the semester with a few class meetings to allow seniors to reconvene and review their last year on campus. In October, SCC’s social committee led “Tailgate on the Terrace” at the Morris Inn, while SCC’s special event committee organized a class gathering at Legends the next week.“We really want to do a nice blend of active and passive events, active events being where you have people — especially people that are off-campus — interacting with their fellow classmates, and then passive events, which are our giveaways,” SCC president Michael Conlon said.In November, SCC hosted a scarf giveaway, coordinated by its faith and service committee, where it accepted non-perishable food items and monetary donations to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Indiana in exchange for free scarves.This year, SCC started Senior Sundays, held monthly in the Dahnke Ballroom and led by the Senior Week committee. Lasting most of the afternoon, Senior Sundays serve as a space for seniors to hang out, do homework and de-stress before the upcoming week while enjoying free food. The event usually attracts about 200 people throughout the day.Next semester, SCC plans to continue Senior Sundays and will also be hosting the annual 100 Days Dance, which marks 100 days until graduation. SCC will also plan Senior Week, a celebration held the week before graduation commemorating the class’s time at Notre Dame.“We’re really lucky we have a great group of seniors that have stayed really engaged this year,” Conlon said. “Everyone recognizes how special this year is.” Freshman Class CouncilFreshman Class Council (FCC) started its year with a Halloween costume dance in the Dahnke Ballroom of Duncan Student Center, complete with free Chick-fil-A.“It was our first main event, so there was definitely a learning curve. But overall it went really well,” FCC president Jordan Theriault said.In November, FCC hosted a concession stand for the Florida State vs. Notre Dame game on South Quad to raise money.FCC hosted a variety of Christmas-themed events to celebrate the holiday season. FCC held a class Christmas sweater Mass in the Basilica followed by a walkover to North Dining Hall in addition to a class ornament and Welcome Weekend photo sale. To close out the semester, FCC held a Christmas movie marathon where it played “Elf” and “Home Alone” in the LaFortune Student Center Ballroom, providing free hot chocolate and cookies.While plans are still tentative, FCC has discussed hosting a service fair along with other social events in the spring. This year, FCC chose to split into four committees — social events, fundraising, advertising/outreach and spiritual life/service committees — in order to efficiently brainstorm ideas for events and organize them.“Being on [FCC] has been a really great experience,” Theriault said. “Meeting new people who want to contribute to fostering a better sense of community at ND, and taking on a leadership role for the purpose of uniting the class is super special.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:46 p.m.The South Bend Transpo’s Midnight Express will no longer run within the tri-campus community, as this summer, the student governments of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame moved to cancel the service indefinitely due to an increase in costs.Aaron Benavides, who serves as the press secretary for Notre Dame’s student government, said both administrations were involved in the decision to stop the Midnight Express. Transpo alerted Notre Dame Student Government of a 50% increase in operation costs on June 18, communicating through Student Affairs.“After being notified that South Bend Transpo was going to increase costs of the Midnight Express service by 50%, an increase of nearly $30,000, the student governments of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame re-evaluated the program,” Benavides said in an email. “Due to declining usage, both administrations collectively determined it was most effective to cancel the service, and immediately began working on a solution for an alternate service.”Diane Park | The Observer This year, Monday through Friday, the final South Bend Transpo bus will leave the Grotto at 9:13 p.m. before completing that route at 9:30 p.m. by dropping off passengers at Saint Mary’s Regina Hall. With the cancellation in effect, no Transpo buses will run past 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, and no Saturday services will be offered at all.The Saint Mary’s Escort Van Service (Blinkie) will continue to operate Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., with hours being extended until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. However, Blinkie will only make pickups at the Grotto once per hour, from the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with pickup times extending to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.The Midnight Express was a safety initiative established in a partnership between Student Affairs, South Bend Transpo and Notre Dame Student Government in 2009, Benavides said. It provided Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students free transportation to and from both campuses and into downtown South Bend on Friday and Saturday nights between 9:00 p.m. and 3:30 a.m.After learning of the price hike, Notre Dame Student Government met with advisor Karen Kennedy on June 25 to discuss the program and its funding, and alerted members of the student senate of the cost increase.“In the meeting with our advisor, we discussed utilization of the program, and noted that (based on recorded use), the program was utilized more frequently by SMC students than by ND students,” Benavides said. “Thus, we decided that though this was an ND-run program, it would be irresponsible and uncourteous to not include SMC student leadership in our discussions.”On July 2, Notre Dame Student Government reached out to the Saint Mary’s Student Government Association to explain the situation and ask for feedback, Benavides said.“At this time, we explained that we were considering eliminating the program, but would not do so without consulting them first,” he said. “We provided some background to them that usage of the program had been dramatically decreasing in recent years (approximately 25% over the last 3 years), presumably due to the increased use of ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.”Vice President for student affairs at Saint Mary’s Karen Johnson declined to comment prior to the publishing of The Observer article Sunday night. However, in an email sent to the student body Tuesday, Johnson said Saint Mary’s student government did not have “a role [in] funding the Midnight Express.”“Rather, the Saint Mary’s SGA was notified that the Notre Dame SGA was considering cancelling the Midnight Express due to escalating costs,” she said in the email. “The Saint Mary’s SGA does not have a similar budget to Notre Dame and could not afford to take over the funding.”Benavides said Saint Mary’s Student Government responded July 7, saying they believed the best option would be to eliminate the program and move forward with a replacement service. Both groups then notified Student Affairs with the decision to eliminate the program on July 8, as the team was in conversation with Transpo, who requested a decision as soon as possible.“We are working with Saint Mary’s Student Government and are in conversation with the university administration to find a suitable alternative that will meet the needs of our campus communities and ensure the safety of every student on our campuses,” Benavides said.Saint Mary’s Student Government Association did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the cancellation of Midnight Express services by the time of publication Sunday night.Some potential alternatives include a program to alleviate the costs of transportation for students of low socioeconomic status and a partnership with a ride sharing app to provide safe night rides, Benavides said.“We encourage students to reach out and provide any suggestions for programs to ensure students’ safety, especially while traveling on weekends,” Benavides said. “We are cognizant of the gap left by the absence of this program, and will be moving any available funds to the creation of a suitable replacement.”Tags: blinkie, late-night student transportation, Notre Dame Student Government, Saint Mary’s SGA, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association, sga, Transpo Midnight Express
The Saint Mary’s Office for Civil and Social Engagement (OCSE) has introduced a new way for students experience the local community.Belles on Bikes is a new organization led by Kris Choinacky, assistant director of the OCSE. The purpose of the group is to present students with a new way to get off campus in the spring via group bike rides. Belles for Bikes has been in the works since the fall semester. “We collaborated with a local female Trek representative, whose goal is to get more women on bikes,” Choinacky said in an email. “Together, we worked on a plan for winter clinics that would educate us on safety and maintenance before we went out in the spring.” The workshops present new ways for students to learn about bike safety and maintenance before they hit the streets of South Bend later in the semester. The first clinic, designed to tackle bike safety was held in the Warner Conference Room on Saturday. Sandy Zielinski of the company Health Coaching LLC offered tips on bike safety during the first clinic. Zielinski has participated in Ironman competitions, marathons and triathlons and is a functional medicine certified health coach. According to her website, Zielinski primarily focuses on brain health issues. The second clinic will come later in the month, on Feb. 22. South Bend Bike Garage will be visiting the Saint Mary’s Student Center Atrium to help students learn about bike maintenance. The group’s actual bike riding activities will start up in the spring, once the weather improves. The winter workshops are meant to prepare students for later outings. Choinacky will be riding with students through South Bend. “I’m a big fan of cycling, so I wanted to share my passion with our students,” she said. “Bike riding is a great tool to empower the students, as well as to connect them with our community.” Student reception to Belles on Bikes has been generally positive. There’s only been one issue, Choinacky said.“Many students who expressed interest don’t have bikes here, so we’re trying to find ways to have bikes available for future rides,” she said.Junior and OCSE student employee Mia Williams agreed with Choinacky about the possible issues surrounding bike availability.“It would be nice to expand the idea to walking or running groups,” Williams said. “There are some students who can’t afford a bike or who live too far away for them to bring their bikes to campus.”Overall, Choinacky expressed a hope that the impact of Belles on Bikes will be positive. The program will allow students to explore the area and go beyond campus. “It would promote health and wellness and create new friendships,” she said. “Our program offers a chance to fulfill our vision of OCSE to engage, connect and serve our local community.”Williams agreed with Choinacky’s assessment. “It’s a cool way to connect and a great community builder,” she said. “Belles on Bikes is a great way to do what you love with people who share the same interest. You’ll get to see more of South Bend and explore more than just Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.” Tags: Belles on Bikes, bikes, OSCE