Archive for April, 2013

Happy Belated Earth Day

Posted on April 23, 2013 in ND News, ND's Opinion

Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

Yesterday was Earth Day. One of my coworkers told me this, but I didn’t want to post twice in one day. So today is honorary Earth Day on the blog. Hopefully, you were able to celebrate in some way – recycle, get outside for a walk, wear your green, make a list of ways to be more eco-friendly. I love Earth Day! It reminds me of elementary school when we would have an assembly and sing Earth Day-themed songs. I particularly loved these songs (which came with their own dances/hand motions). My favorite is probably “Ever Green, Ever Blue” by Raffi. Check it out. Seriously. (Bonus: check out these adorable kids singing it)

As Raffi tells us, “we can all do something.” And it’s true. Our generation should be acutely aware of the fact that the human race has and is continuing to damage our world. Since adolescence, we have learned about Global Warming and its adverse effects. We’ve also experienced them first-hand – colder, snowier winters, heat waves in summer, Hurricanes Katrina, Ivan and the recent Hurricane Sandy, the 2004 Tsunami. Thankfully, we have also witnessed a growing acceptance of green initiatives. Hybrid cars are more available and more popular. Recycling receptacles are more prevalent than trash cans in some places. And sustainable, organic food is widely desired.

  

It isn’t enough though. And Notre Dame knows this. I have long been proud of the campus-wide green initiatives. From the widely available recycling bins to Waste Free Wednesdays (an anti-food waste initiative started by Elizabeth Davis ’12). Last week, Notre Dame announced that the Global Adaptation Index (GAIN) would be moving to ND. GAIN “summarizes a country’s vulnerability to climate change” and is a “tool for disaster planning, infrastructure development and ecosystem management.” Billions of dollars have been pledged to help the world deal with climate change, but we aren’t always sure where to direct this money. GAIN helps decide the most necessary and important places to invest.

GAIN founding CEO Juan Jose Daboub notes that “Notre Dame is the best school to take GAIN closer to the people in need because of the University’s track record of putting the human being in the center of their actions.” Notre Dame professor David Lodge explains, “at Notre Dame, we want to be the researchers who help solve climate adaptation problems, rather than fiddling while people suffer.” Well, I couldn’t be more proud of our University and the part they are taking in helping the world adapt to climate change. Let’s do our part to combat it too! Commit an Act of Green – here are some ideas to live a more sustainable life and make the world better for us all.

I only see my friends at weddings and other young alumni struggles

Posted on April 22, 2013 in Young Alum Life

Wedding

Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

My friends, Nathan and Elizabeth, got married this weekend. He is a Notre Dame young alum, and she is a St. Mary’s grad. They wed in her hometown of Houston, TX, and as you can imagine, there were numerous ND people in attendance. It was beautiful. The wedding served as a reunion for my friend group. We loved it, but it was bittersweet. One friend called the weekend “a tease.” It was a wonderful reminder of the amazing friendships we forge at Notre Dame, but it was not nearly enough. It wasn’t our life at Notre Dame, seeing each other every single day, and anything short of that could not be satisfactory. Life changes though, and we were just thankful we were able to witness the intense love and happiness of our newlywed friends. It was a blessing to share in their day. We got to talking about how it felt like a moment ago that we were graduating.

Each one of us has struggles that we are dealing with – romantic relationships, job complaints, living situations. Being with my closest friends again, the people that know me best, I was struck by how easy it is to lose yourself when your loved ones are not there to give you perspective. For four years, these people were my supporters and soul mates – they regulated me, they reminded me who I was and nudged me in the right direction when I got off track. When you take that away, it’s very easy to get lost. And each of us are a little bit. We’re still transitioning and trying to figure out how to navigate. It isn’t that we don’t love our lives. It’s just that things are still so new. The real world and all that. We’re all trying to figure it out on our own, and it would be so much easier to do it together. Maybe that is just part of growing up though. Maybe you have to learn to remind yourself who you are rather than have other people do it for you.

Ok I’m getting deep here, and I promise I had a point when I first started this post. I wanted to focus on a particular young alum struggle that I’ve heard a lot about in recent weeks: creating the faith life that you want. It is a struggle. We are blessed at Notre Dame to have so many resources available to us – chapels in every dorm, the ability to attend mass in our PJs with our best friends, campus ministry, the CSC, etc. When we leave ND, it is difficult to recreate that. Check out what ND Masters of Divinity student Katie Quinlivan ’14 has to say about the process here. If you’re looking for some more guidance, particularly for our female young alumni, check out Emily Thompson ’12‘s faith blog. She and her sister, Caroline Thompson ’14, honestly tackle everyday faith issues here.

All in all, we young alums (and all alums) are lucky to have the Notre Dame Family to rely on. No matter what struggle you may face, your Notre Dame Family members are there to help you through it. Even if you only see them at weddings these days.

Young Alums Being Awesome

Posted on April 12, 2013 in Young Alum's Stories

Alum Blog Post

Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard of young alums embarking on some pretty unique endeavors. They’re interesting and inspiring, and I had to pass along their stories.

The Musician: If you’ve watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon recently (love that guy), you may have noticed an appearance by singer/songwriter, Kat Quinn ’10. Quinn was one of the audience members chosen to participate in a Battle of the Instant Songwriters. Three people are chosen to write a song just before the show tapes. They then perform their original song on Late Night.

Quinn’s song, “Clouds Are People Too,” is adorably entertaining. Her talents extend beyond on-the-spot songwriting though. Quinn majored in Literature and Peace Studies and minored in Latin American Studies at Notre Dame. She moved to Nashville after graduation and then relocated to New York City. Here, she produced her debut EP, Exhale. She also contributed the song “Luck and Angels” to the two disc Notre Dame Spirit CD that came out in 2012. Learn more about her here.

The Volunteers: Shannon Crotty ’12 and Katie McCabe ’11 are big TOMS fans. Not just “I wear TOMS because they’re cute and make me feel good about myself” fans (like the rest of us), but “travel to a third world country on a TOMS Giving Trip” fans. Both Crotty and McCabe have applied to be one of 50 volunteers to go on a TOMS Giving Trip to help distribute shoes to those in need.

Crotty was inspired to attend the trip after working with disadvantaged children in Komga, South Africa as a part of ND’s Summer Service Learning Program. McCabe wanted to contribute to TOMS in a “more impactful way” after she researched the many causes the company supports. Learn more about them here. Whether or not they attend this trip depends on how many votes they receive–help them out! Vote for Crotty here and McCabe here.

The Bachelor: For all you Bachelor/Bachelorette junkies out there (I’m looking at you, my Rome roommates from Junior year), you’ll be interested to hear about Michael Garofola ’02. Garofola, who is a federal prosecutor in South Florida, is allegedly competing on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. He will be up against two dozen other men looking to win the love of Desiree Hartsock.

Garofola attended Fordham Law School and is described by one colleague as “a clean-cut Alpha Male.” If he does turn up on The Bachelorette, let’s hope Desiree is a Notre Dame fan. Read Garofola’s story here.

The Documentary Filmmaker: Scion just announced the winners of their Motivate program, and Class of 2012 members will see a familiar name on the list. Will Thwaites ’12 took home honors for his documentary  about Get on the Bus, a California nonprofit that brings children and their caregivers/guardians to visit their parents in prison.

Thwaites will receive a Scion vehicle, Scion accessories, $10,000 and career mentoring. Read more about the Motivate program here.

As usual, our alums continue to surprise and inspire me. If you have a story to share about what you’re currently up to or how another young alum is contributing to the world, please let me know!

Happy National Walking Day

Posted on April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Elle Metz

Young Alumni Programs Manager

Today is the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day. This is incredibly convenient because today also marks the start of the Alumni Association’s Spring Step Challenge. As a self-confessed exercise addict, I, along with NDAA social media maven, Josh, are heading up this challenge.

With the arrival of spring (weather update: it has been sunny in the Bend for the last three days. Unheard of), the Alumni Association figured it would be a great time to get in shape. And what is more motivating than a little friendly competition? Maybe a hot fudge sundae, but that is beside the point. The office has been split into 5 teams, elected team captains, chosen team names, and every employee has received a pedometer. For the next six weeks, everyone will keep track of their daily step totals (10,000 steps is thought to be a healthy goal).

If I don’t count my daily run (let’s just assume I didn’t exercise today), my pedometer would only be at about 1,000 steps. It’s 2:50 PM. That’s a little scary. Americans’ increasingly sedentary lifestyle is also pretty scary. I don’t know about you but one of the biggest adjustments I had to make to the working world was sitting at a desk all day. What is the deal?

In high school, we had physical education, we played sports, we at least walked from class to class. In college, we had much more free time. Not only did we walk from building to building across campus, but we had two free gyms within walking distance, intramurals galore and a 5k race on campus nearly every weekend. Suddenly, we graduate, and we’re expected to sit at a computer for 8+ hours a day. Seems a little unhealthy. Why does becoming a grown-up mean sacrificing our activity level? I maintain that we can find a happy medium. Bloomberg Businessweek offers some tips on how to stay healthier at the office.

So join us here at the NDAA in our fitness challenge, get out there in the nice weather at lunch and walk around, take advantage of the longer days and do a run after work, ride your bike instead of driving or make the effort to walk across the office rather than sending an email to your coworker. You could even try and implement healthier policies at your own office. Here are some companies that inspire with their healthy practices.

To thine own health be true