When a student approached Notre Dame psychology professor Alexandra Corning several years ago about writing a senior thesis on eating disorders, Corning said she knew very little about the topic. Now, she conducts research about eating disorders and teaches an undergraduate course titled “Understanding Eating Disorders.” While diagnosable eating disorders are a major concern, Corning said she focuses on the large number of people who struggle with symptoms, but do not have a diagnosable disorder. Statistics, however, are not always accurate because eating disorders and related symptoms are often underreported, according to Valerie Staples, staff clinician and coordinator of eating disorder services at the University Counseling Center. Students wanting to help a friend, Staples said, must address specific concerns about behaviors in a compassionate, nonjudgmental manner. “It’s not about finding the perfect words,” she said. “I don’t have tips on how to make this an easy conversation, but I think there really isn’t a wrong way to tell someone you’re worried about them.” There are three types of eating disorders, Corning said. They fall under the categories of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and not otherwise specified. Not all symptoms fit under these categories, and some fit under all of them. For example, Corning said over-exercising can be a symptom of anorexia, but also a form of purging after binge eating associated with bulimia. “I think that there’s, for some, a misconception that people can’t get better,” she said. “And if I didn’t see people get better, I don’t think I could keep doing this [job.] … It’s a long process of change, but people can overcome an eating disorder and live very long, full lives without this consuming them.” “Even when you’re struggling sub-clinically, you’re struggling,” Corning said. “Our campus, even if you looked around and discovered, yes, full-blown, diagnosable cases are rare … there’s lots of people who are struggling at a sub-clinical level.” While she said the study did not set out to find statistics in that area and was not an entirely random sample, the findings did show that eating disorder symptoms are frequent on campus. While realizing the prevalence of disordered eating and the difficultly of confronting these issues can be discouraging, Staples said she finds hope in stories of recovery. One in three college-aged women has disordered eating habits, although only nearly 10 percent have a full-fledged eating disorder, according the University Counseling Center and resources distributed on Notre Dame’s campus this week as part of Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week, sponsored by the Gender Relations Center. Eating disorders and body image issues are prevalent for the college-aged population due to competition and comparison among students, Staples said. “And [college students today] have grown up in a culture where there’s more bombardment of these images,” she said. Of all the students who came to the University Counseling Center last year, Staples said the Center’s annual report indicates that 10.3 percent reported eating concerns. Yet in addition to working with students who have eating disorders, Staples also meets with concerned friends. “Every year, every semester, I have people calling me or coming in in groups to consult about a friend who they’re worried about,” Staples said. “When I’m consulting with them about how to help a friend, we spend a lot of time talking about not only what they can say to their friend, but also about what to expect.” “Of the people who signed up for our study and were in it … 56.2 percent either had a diagnosable eating disorder or showed symptoms,” Corning said. “It means that if you think no one else is struggling, you’re wrong.” Corning said it is important for students to understand that they are not alone in facing symptoms of eating disorders. A study she did in 2006 found that a great number of female undergraduates at Notre Dame displayed these symptoms. Staples said she finds the amount of student energy and participation in the event this week to be extremely encouraging. One of the most important aspects of Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week is based on educating students about how they might help a friend with an eating disorder, she said. “Even if students on campus think that they don’t know somebody with an eating disorder, it’s very likely they do,” she said. “We have a lot of members of our community who are really struggling and who are in a lot of physical and emotional pain.” Eating disorder symptoms are prevalent in both men and women in part because popular culture provides constant reminders of a thin ideal for women and a muscular ideal for men, Corning said.
During its first appearance in the national competition, the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir earned second place in the American Prize in Choral Performance competition in the college and university division in October. The contest recognized the College choir as one of nine finalists for the award. Conductor Dr. Nancy Menk said her group set a precedent for an all-women’s choir placing near the top at the competition. “We were the first women’s choir to place in the top three,” Menk said. “That was an honor.” Menk is a professor of music, director of choral activities and the Mary Lou Judd Leighton Chair in Music at the College. She also serves as conductor and music director of the South Bend Chamber Singers, which also competed for the American Prize and placed among the top eight finalists in the community division. “I am proud of both choirs,” she said. Founded in 2009, the American Prize honors outstanding choirs that submit recordings to be reviewed. There are six categories: professional chorus, college or university level chorus, community or faith-based chorus, secondary school chorus, youth chorus and children’s chorus. The Women’s Choir, currently comprised of approximately 45 students, has performed across the country as well as internationally and recorded four CDs. For the competition, the Women’s Choir submitted a CD entitled “Anima mea,” Latin for “My soul.” The CD includes a number of relatively current, 20th– and 21st-century songs. Senior Ashley Stopczynski credited much of the group’s success to Menk. “Dr. Menk ensures that we get a well-rounded choral experience by including upbeat, slower and different styles of music,” said Stopczynski. Stopczynski said its “Anima mea” CD is a testament to the choir’s talent, an excellent tool for sharing that talent with others. “Dr. Menk makes it a point to give a good example of women’s choral music to younger singers,” Stopczynski said. Menk and Stopczynski both said being an all-female choir did not give them any kind of edge in this competition. “A good choir is a good choir,” Menk said. Stopczynski agreed, but she said the group is still unique. “I actually don’t think women choirs get enough recognition for the beauty of the sound,” she said. “However, being the only female group to win is an amazing experience. … It’s wonderful to be recognized for the work we put into our music.”
Music majors at Saint Mary’s learned about the path one Belle followed from the College to a community music school after obtaining her degree in music in a lecture Monday titled, “Life After a Music Degree: Community Music Schools.” Kellirae Boann, executive director of the Music Village in South Bend, said the Music Village offers a unique opportunity for music majors to participate in the South Bend community after graduation. Boann said her discernment path in the music industry included a 10-year run with local country rock band “Everyday People.” To improve her ability to make a living, she said went back to school, obtaining a degree at Indiana University-South Bend (IUSB). While taking classes at IUSB, she said she was invited to a presentation that discussed the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. During this presentation, she said she realized she wanted to build something in the South Bend community modeled after this school. “I knew right away this was what I wanted to pursue after college,” she said. “Electricity was in the air during this presentation. I could feel through out my hair, it was crazy.” Boann said the Music Village began as a concept in October 2011, after surveys were sent out to the local community to see how many people would be interested in a teaching and performing institute. A 97 percent return rate among 300 people let Boann know this would work, she said. In 2012, a Board of Directors was established for the school, though Boann said it struggled with funding. “We started out with nothing, but we were undaunted and fearless,” Boann said. The Music Village opened in June 2012 with only 14 students, two instructors and one available guitar class. Although the length of the process required patience, Boann said they received funding. The school is now a non-profit organization registered with the State of Indiana, she said. “I did not have to perform in order to have a career in music,” Boann said. Currently, The Music Village is located at a central point in downtown South Bend, and offers classes in the genres of Ballroom, Latin, Spanish, Swing and International Folk and instruments such as banjo, piano, violin, vocal coaching, guitar and bass. “We are about making music. I was not afraid to take a chance, [and] a year into this, … things are happening. Most importantly, people have music in their lives,” Boann said. Contact Rachel Rahal at [email protected]
Tags: building, Campus Crossroads, Construction, weather, WInter Construction crews for the Campus Crossroads project made progress on initial construction steps and excavations around the stadium after the least snowy December in South Bend’s recorded history.“The construction team took advantage of this great fortune and worked six to seven days a week in anticipation of the onset of more typical winter weather, which, of course, began last week,” Associate vice president and University architect Doug Marsh said. “Formal construction work has proceeded well in the 50 calendar days since the end of the home football season.”Marsh said the winter work involves several “major earthwork activities.” Crews are relocating many underground utilities such as sewers, water service, electrical feeders, chilled water and drainage, and they are constructing new utilities tunnels along both the west and east sides, he said.Excavation of the student center basement began, and they installed “an extensive span of permanent earth retention system” on the west and east edges of the existing stadium system to secure the existing foundations, Marsh said. They have also installed temporary earth retention walls that will provide a platform for the mobile cranes which will be built later in the winter to erect the structural steel frames for the student center and academic buildings on the west and east sides.As the crew works on initial construction of the buildings’ foundation walls and footings, Marsh said the design team is still working out the details for the interior portions of the project.So far, construction is right on schedule and in line with the budget, University spokesman Dennis Brown said.“The ebbs and flows of weather are built into construction timelines,” he said. “This year’s pattern has made no significant difference on the time frame or budget for the project, one way or the other.”The website construction.nd.edu provides updates on parking and pedestrian/vehicle traffic. According to the site, the University’s two free campus shuttles have expanded their hours as of Jan. 5 to run continuously from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays to help people “navigate several major construction projects across campus and related parking adjustments.”The limited pedestrian walkways on the east and west sides of the stadium remain the same as those set before break. On the east, a temporary walkway allows access to Gates 1 and 2 of the Joyce Center, and on the west, pedestrians can use the DeBartolo Quad walkways or walk through the Mendoza College of Business and DeBartolo Hall.
Roughly fifty students, led by Fossil Free ND, marched from McKenna Hall to the Main Building early Monday evening to protest the University’s current investment in fossil fuels. Freshman Adam Wiechman said the goal of Fossil Free ND is to push the University to fully divest from fossil fuels within the next five years. “We want the University to become an active voice in climate change and really take a look at those funds,” Wiechman said. The protest followed a talk by environmentalist Bill McKibben as part of the Hesburgh Lecture Series. “Bill McKibben, the inspiration for our movement, is the founder of the global divestment movement,” Wiechman said. “We decided to jump on the opportunity of him being here. We met with Bill beforehand; He gave us a shout-out during the speech. It was great.”Wiechman said they received bigger numbers than they initially anticipated. “We actually picked up a lot of people. We marched from McKenna to the Main Building, placing signs down along the way that were orange footprints that represented climate change impacts,” Wiechman said. Freshman Brittany Benninger said she was excited about the turnout and impressed by McKibben’s talk.“Bill McKibben is super influential right now, and we love that he was able to come out on campus,” Benninger said. “He gave a great lecture on climate change and the need to divest from fossil fuels, and that’s why we’re out here today.”Benninger said it is imperative the administration focuses on divestment in the next five years. “It’s really important that [the administration] understands that they need to take their money out of such practices and reinvest in some better, more sustainable and renewable income,” Benninger said. Freshman Abby Ferguson said she was also excited about the protest and the talk itself. “We had a lot of people join us from the talk, and I know we had a few people join us on the way,” Ferguson said. “We stopped seven times along the way to put down seven footprints for things that are the result of climate change, such as drought, sea level rise, ocean acidification and crop reduction.”Protestors were invited to sign a banner that had shamrocks in the outline of a globe. “We wanted people to sign to show individual support for the cause,” Ferguson said. According to Ferguson, the administration has been less than cooperative or responsive to any of the group’s protests. “I don’t know if Jenkins has had an official response to any of this, but if he has, I know it’s been basically to say, ‘Stop,” Ferguson said. “The administration has thus far, based on what I understand and know, has been really unresponsive, just kind of trying to ignore it and hope it’ll go away. But the goal is to not let that happen because this is important.”Tags: divest, Fossil Free ND, fossil fuels, protest
Every semester, the University Counseling Center (UCC) hosts several student support groups ranging from the “International Student Support Group” to “Not the Perfect Family” to the “Social Anxiety Group.”“It’s a way for people with a specific issue or problem to get support from one another and to find ways of coping,” Peter Barnes, a psychologist with the UCC, said.All the support groups are held in the UCC. The groups are open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and Barnes has found that both groups of students use them equally. He said the UCC tries to balance the groups in terms of males and females.To join a group, Barnes said, students should schedule an initial assessment with a UCC counselor who can then discuss whether a group might be a recommended form of treatment for a student.Barnes said group treatment can sometimes be “the treatment of choice for certain issues.” This is especially true of the Social Anxiety Group — which Barnes runs — since it gives students the chance to speak in public, something that is often scary for them, he said.“It’s not a secondary or second-rate form of treatment,” Barnes said.The Social Anxiety Group includes six to eight people a semester, which Barnes said is typical of the groups. When the UCC receives enough people for a group, it will close the group to new members, but if it is unable to get enough people in the group, it will not offer the group for the semester, Barnes said. He said the point at which either one of these things occur is typically around fall break.Barnes said the “Be Real” group is a new group being offered this semester, but all the groups encourage authenticity.“One of the things we challenge group members to do is be real and authentic,” he said. “ … Group offers a chance for people to be real and authentic, which can be healing.”Barnes said one key benefit to groups is that it shows students the universality of suffering.“I think the thing Notre Dame students struggle with is letting themselves ask for help,” he said. “ … One of the benefits of group is learning you’re not alone. Hopefully students realize pain and struggles are part of the human experience.”Barnes said social media tends to paint a different picture of student health than the data shows, and he hopes groups can “debunk the myth” that all students are happy all the time.At the same time, Barnes said it can be scary to join a group since there is inherent risk.“When you put something out, you don’t know how people will respond,” he said. “That’s where the growth is — where it’s scary and uncomfortable.”Barnes also said outside of groups, friends should try to support each other by listening.“One of the most important things you can do for another is listen,” he said. “You don’t have to fix their problems.”Tags: group therapy, Mental health, University Counseling Center
Washington Hall rang with laughter Monday evening from first-year Moreau First Year Experience students who had gathered to watch and participate in Sex Signals, an annual improvisational comedy show sponsored by the Gender Relations Center (GRC) that aims to educate and inspire student discussion about sex, relationships and consent.The show was introduced to Notre Dame five years ago, but it is the first year the GRC is partnering with the Moreau program to allow students to receive ten extra credit points for their attendance, GRC director Christine Gebhardt said in an email. Poncho Ortega | The Observer Jessamyn Fitzpatrick, left, and Vincent Banks of Catharsis Production perform during ‘Sex Signals’ Monday night. The Gender Relations Center program aims to create a culture of consent.“This year we revised the design of the first two weeks to be more conversation based and included the opportunity for Sex Signals, which uses humor, case studies and audience participation,” Gebhardt said. “It is our hope that the extra credit will give students an incentive to make the event a priority, as it is our institution’s way of acknowledging how the conversation should not merely happen in class but throughout our campus.”Vincent Banks and Jessamyn Fitzpatrick of Catharsis Productions — the Chicago-based performance group running Sex Signals, launched into a discussion about sexual relationships in a campus setting —“How many of you had sex ed classes in high school?” Banks asked the audience.A majority of students raised their hands.“What did you learn in those classes?” he asked.Students shouted out their answers.“Did anyone learn how to have sex. — other than from porn” Banks said half-jokingly in response.Throughout their hour and 15 minute performance, Banks and Fitzpatrick interacted with their audience as they acted out three hypothetical scenarios representative of real-life situations — flirting at a party, sexual harassment at a gym and dealing with people who make excuses for sexual assault in the name of friendship. The acts were used as teaching tools to break stereotypes, explain gender spectrums, clearly define consent, fight against victim-blaming and encourage bystander intervention.Towards the end of the program, the performers called for students to “raise the bar” on campus by making a culture of consent so normal that it would force those who do not ask for it to stand out.First year Danielle Slevin attended the performance with her friend and — fellow first year — Helton Rodriguez.“I felt that it was really empowering and really moving, especially to be in a room full of kids who might have experiences similar to mine or who feel the way I do. … I have friends who have been affected, whether it’s being uncomfortable at parties, or things that have escalated to more serious situations that were usually induced by alcohol,” Slevin said. “It’s a serious thing that is present on this campus, and it’s something that should be spoken about.”Rodriguez, who participated during the show, said he reflected on how the issues presented in the show were present in his life.“Whenever I have girls over at my dorm to study, I always have to ask if they’re comfortable walking home alone,” he said. “And it’s just kind of a sucky part of life.”He feels that Notre Dame’s strong Catholic identity can reinforce values preventing sexual assault, but also can make the topic a taboo to talk about.“I think, regardless, it’s problem on campus,” he said. “You can argue whether or not it’s harder or easier to talk about, but you have to talk about it.”Editor‘s note: A previous version of this article used the incorrect gender pronouns when referring to a student on first mention. The Observer regrets this error.Tags: Gender Relations Center, Moreau First Year Experience, Sex Signals, sexual assault
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pexels ImageALBANY (AP) — Restaurants in some COVID-19 hot spots in New York state can once again offer limited indoor dining in the wake of the latest lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s virus restrictions, while a ban remains in place in New York City.Up to four people per table can now dine inside restaurants, up to 50% capacity, in seven so-called “orange zones” located in counties with some of the state’s highest rates of COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations: including Monroe County in the Finger Lakes.The decision comes a day after some Erie County restaurants won a preliminary injunction for themselves against the state’s enforcement of the indoor dining ban in yellow zones.Cuomo’s counsel Kumiki Gibson said his office disagrees with the decision and is reviewing it. She pointed to federal data demonstrating indoor dining increases COVID-19 spread. “While that process is ongoing, to ensure uniformity and fairness, all restaurants operating in orange zones can now operate under rules governing yellow zones,” she said.State Supreme Court Justice Henry Nowak said he couldn’t “find evidence that the state had a rational basis to designate portions of Erie County as an orange zone” and that the restaurants would suffer “irreparable harm” without the injunction.New York City’s restaurant industry is calling on Cuomo to also halt his indoor dining ban in the city. Manhattan has relatively low rates of cases and hospitalizations, though rates are higher in Staten Island.“Continuation of the indoor dining ban in New York City is divorced from any of the data and criteria the state has articulated and must be ended now,” NYC Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie and executive director and counsel Robert Bookman said in a joint statement.It’s the latest lawsuit that has questioned Cuomo’s micro-cluster approach launched in October.Cuomo proposed imposing COVID-19 restrictions based on addresses of people testing positive, rather than statewide like last spring. Courts long deferred to Cuomo’s emergency authority, but restaurants and houses of worships have seen some success arguing Cuomo has gone too far.The Supreme Court barred Cuomo in November from enforcing 10- and 25-person attendance limits at churches and synagogues in Brooklyn and Queens hot spots. Cuomo called that decision “irrelevant” because he ended up easing restrictions in those neighborhoods.But in late December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Cuomo’s attendance policy “discriminates against religion on its face” and ordered the federal district court to issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement in red and orange zones statewide. Cuomo’s office didn’t respond immediately Thursday to a question about the status of those restrictions.Cuomo’s Thursday announcement was welcome news for county officials and restaurant owners who question why Cuomo has kept only some orange zones even as cases rise elsewhere.“We’re very happy,” David Cleary, an owner of Pudgie’s Pizza Pasta & Subs, which has two locations in Chemung County, said. “We’ve been very patient the last 80-plus days. It’s good for all restaurants and dine-ins, especially mom-and-pop locations.”Critics question Cuomo’s data and say his approach leads to people driving outside zones to dine indoors. Cleary said other restaurants in Chemung’s orange zone started opening this week in defiance of Cuomo’s restrictions.“We really wanted to, but we’re trying to do what’s right and abide by the law,” he said, adding: “Now that we’re all able to open it’s easier.”New York now has no red zones and seven orange zones, even as nearly the entire state is seeing high enough positivity rates to qualify under Cuomo’s original red zone metrics. Cuomo hasn’t updated zones in weeks, and said in December he’ll shutter a part of the state only if regional hospitalization reaches critical levels.Red zones shutter nonessential businesses and outdoor dining, while orange zones only allow outdoor dining or takeout and limit gyms and hair salons to 25% capacity. Cuomo originally shuttered schools in those zones, but later allowed them to reopen if they launch testing programs.New York is far below the mid-April peak of COVID-19, but infections surged this fall and winter. The state now ranks 12th in the nation for its average of hospitalizations and new cases per-capita over the past seven days.In central and northern New York, Herkimer and Lewis counties have averaged a higher rate of new COVID-19 cases per-capita than Arizona over the past seven days. Long Island’s Suffolk County has a higher rate than California.And Cuomo’s approach has fueled disagreements between state and local officials, whose data can often differ, and confusion for residents.Chemung County’s own dashboard cites 210 active cases, 70 deaths of county residents and 57 residents hospitalized. But the state’s data — which doesn’t include hospitalizations by county — lists 107 deaths in total and 720 new cases over the past 10 days.County public health spokesman Vincent Azzarelli said he doesn’t know why the state’s fatality count is different. He said the county’s “active cases” are cases the department’s currently monitoring.
View Comments In case you’ve been living under a rock there’s been a lot of homophobic pushback happening in Russia. In light of these events the Broadway community gathered for a parody video from Jason Michael Snow (Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man) and Jason Walton West (NEWSical the Musical)—AKA the minds that brought you Downton Abbey the musical. Their latest musical short, Russian Broadway Shut Down, is a star-studded caper following the “Russian Broadway” community uniting for a one-night-only production of Harvey Fierstein’s new (fictional) musical Love & Punishment. Check out the video to see Andrew Rannells sporting a ushanka, Michael Urie with an excellent Russian accent, Laura Benanti and Stephanie J. Block playing women in love (and in space), Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff as Olympic athletes who choose each other over gold and so many more. The who’s who of Broadway also features Rebecca Luker, John Tartaglia, Danny Burstein, Laura Osnes, Lilla Crawford, Victoria Clark, Joanna Gleason, Annaleigh Ashford, Santino Fontana, Jennifer Barnhart, Sierra Boggess, Christina Bianco, Michael Cerveris, Christine Pedi, Michael Rosen, Andrea McArdle, Harriet Harris, Ann Harada, Lena Hall, Andy Karl, Jackie Hoffman, Mary Testa, Brad Oscar, Leslie Kritzer, Cady Huffman, Kate Loprest and Stephen Schwartz amongst others!
The hilarious folks at Screen Junkies, who make “honest” trailers of Hollywood’s biggest hits have just aimed their arrows at Frozen, your favorite soon-to-be-Broadway show ever. We can’t even describe how genius the video below is. Just click and watch it already! View Comments