With seven semesters behind them and one to go, more than 150 seniors will spend time reflecting on their Notre Dame experiences at the Senior Retreat this weekend, according to head organizer and senior Erin Connors. “It’s going to be a great weekend,” she said. “We’re focusing on how to cherish the last five months of our senior year beyond the last things to check off the ‘bucket list.’” Connors has been planning the retreat with senior Andrew Bell and 18 other students since Oct. 30. The retreat begins at 3:30 p.m. today and concludes Saturday evening with a closing dinner. “This is an opportunity to reflect on the last three and a half years,” Bell said. “Some reflections will be shared by the planning team to start conversation in small groups.” Bell said in planning, the team considered what seniors needed as their time at Notre Dame drew to a close. “It’s been interesting planning parts of a retreat knowing they’re for our friends and classmates, and, at the same time, for us. At the heart of what we’re hoping for is to provide an opportunity to pause when we’re at a time as seniors that everyone is telling you to go, go — to hurry,” Bell said. “It’s a moment to pause and reflect on changes.” While this year’s retreat follows a general pattern set by the past six retreats, the content is new because the planning team is different, said Fr. Joe Carey, the interim director of Campus Ministry. Carey led the Senior Retreat for the last six sessions, though Senior Retreats have occurred on campus since the 1970s. “It makes me proud to be at Notre Dame,” he said. “It’s different every year because of the team. It’s [a new retreat] in that it’s [the planning committee’s] experiences – they really capture all of the things Notre Dame students face.” In the past, the retreat has been career-focused, with alumni speaking on life after college, Carey said. The aim for the last few years has been for a more spiritual exploration. “This year we have added a talk that two people are giving on gratitude. We want attendees to see who to be thankful for,” he said. “The retreat is starting a process of reflection through this weekend, the next four months and beyond.” Carey assembled the planning committee over the summer, purposefully picking leaders he felt could bring together a successful retreat. “It’s seniors leading seniors,” he said. “We were gathering a team of student leaders, and we came up with a team from various facets of Notre Dame that will enable attendees to grow.” In addition to this weekend’s retreat, three more Notre Dame Encounters and two Freshman Retreats will happen before the school year’s end, Carey said. “They have a different feeling than this retreat — and anyone can participate in the Notre Dame Encounters,” he said. “They are also smaller, with the limit set at 50 people.” More information on the retreats is available at campusministry.nd.edu.
The Saint Mary’s senate met Wednesday to discuss this year’s objectives and budgets for the College’s student organizations.Senior student body president McKenna Schuster chairs the SMC senate, which is the only voting body on campus. The Senate’s main responsibility is to ensure each club and sports team receives adequate funding.Senior vice president of finance Marissa Pie said each of the College’s 54 recognized student groups begins with a budget of $100, and athletic clubs receive $1,000.Student groups also have the chance to apply for travel grants and sponsorships, Schuster said.The Council of Clubs, which is composed of presidents from each student club and group, approves all sponsorship funds, Pie said.This year, Schuster said one of the Senate’s main objectives is to keep the student body updated about its decisions and actions.“In order to be transparent and keep the student body informed, we are emphasizing the importance of town-hall style meetings,” she said.The Senate also aims to simplify the budget for recognized clubs and sports teams and make it more comprehensive and available to the student body, Schuster said. There were some concerns with the allocation of last year’s funds, she said.“We formed this year’s budget after carefully analyzing last year’s budget,” Shuster said. “A great amount of thought and research was put into this year’s allocations.”The senate also hopes to create incentives for students to participate in school events and spirit weeks, such as the Navy Dance and Love Your Body Week.Schuster said she would like to see increased attendance at athletic competitions, social events and lectures.“Students will receive a punch card to record their attendance at various events,” she said. “When the punch card is filled out, prizes will be offered. It’s a fun incentive.”Tags: Budget, Council of Clubs, Saint Mary’s Senate