Many students battle with self-image, and junior Laura Glaub is developing ways to help women not just on Saint Mary’s campus, but throughout the country, work through this issue. Glaub — who is also Student Government Student Services Commissioner at the College and the Resident Hall Association (RHA) National Communications Coordinator — went to a conference at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign held by the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (GLACURH) and three of her five ideas were presented there. The programs she developed included “We We’re Born This Way,” “Wam Bam Mammogram” and “Please Stop Talking about Your Diet to Me.” The programs are activities that can be done during events such as “Love Your Body Week” to help improve self-image. Fifty programs were presented, and “Please Stop Talking about Your Diet to Me” was in the top ten and is now headed to a national conference, Glaub said. “‘Please Stop Talking about Your Diet to Me’ is showing other schools how they can put on ‘Love Your Body Week’ because I think it is really important in today’s media for any gender to feel comfortable about their body in lots of different ways,” she said. The program starts with each person drawing themselves on a large piece of white paper, Glaub said. Then, another person will trace them on the paper and show the difference between their perception of themselves and what they actually look like. After that activity is finished, the group looks at different advertisements from magazines and then discusses which are negative and which are positive, she said. According to Glaub, much of her information came from the National Organization of Women website, which includes an explanation of how a student can make an impact on their campus in 60 seconds. “After [the group goes] through this everyone has to sign a heart pledge about what they love about their body and tape it on the giant sign that says, ‘I love my body,’” Glaub said. In addition to the success of the program, Glaub will be helping to put on the first “I Love My Body Week” at Saint Mary’s from Feb. 21 to 26. “[We] gave out giant packets [at the conference] to explain my reasoning of why I am putting on ‘Love Your Body Week’ at Saint Mary’s,” Glaub said. “It talks about my schedule of the week with different professors talking, a deaf jam poet coming, t-shirts and other activities that display the health reason, the media reason and the sociology behind loving your body.” Glaub said she is looking forward to bringing the program to Saint Mary’s women. “This is definitely my ‘little baby’ because I am so excited … to get support from other RHAs through the Great Lakes and Canada was amazing,” Glaub said. The national competition will be held sometime during the spring semester. “I am really excited to present this at nationals because we will have our first week done and can let everyone know how it goes,” Glaub said. At the conference Glaub was unable to actually present the idea because of her position on RHA, so seniors Marianne Jones and Jessica Robbins did the presentation for her. “I was really pleased about the turn out at the conference and to make top ten was an amazing experience and I cannot wait until nationals,” Jones said. Glaub said the successful results of the program she formulated show the need for this type of awareness at the university level. “This obviously shows that this is such an important program to put on campuses in our society today to show genders to be happy and love who you are,” she said.
Graduate student Erik Blair has found the perfect outlet for stress in the middle of his busy schedule. Blair turns to gongfu, a unique martial arts form, along with other members of the Gongfu Club he founded earlier this semester. “I get so much out of teaching martial arts,” Blair said. “Teaching techniques strengthens my grasp of those techniques and deepens my skill. I think the relationships I build out of it are the best part. It’s really a lot of fun when you have students who are motivated to learn and to teach others also.” Blair first learned gongfu and earned his black belt in the discipline during his time as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. “Upon coming back to Notre Dame for a Ph.D., I didn’t want the knowledge to evaporate, and I still wanted to advance in the art,” Blair said. “That led me to desire to teach others and that led to the club.” Sophomore Thomas Voutsos joined the club when it first began this semester. He said he especially enjoys the welcoming atmosphere of the club and gongfu’s relevance in his own life. “Erik and the club members have been great teachers and very welcoming” Voutsos said. “The best part about participating in the club is learning a completely new skill that can have real life applications in the future. It is great exercise, and the body movements, combined with mental focus, create a very unique inner feeling during and after gongfu practices.” While Voutsos entered the club with no prior martial arts experience, he said his skills have quickly progressed, thanks to Blair’s guidance. “In this semester, I have been able to earn a yellow belt and I am currently working on earning an orange belt,” Voutsos said. “Erik is a great teacher, which has allowed me to learn a lot in just one semester.” Unlike Voutsos, sophomore Max Geraci did have previous martial arts experience before joining Gongfu Club. “I did practice martial arts before joining the club and had obtained a black belt in Tae Kwon Do,” Geraci said. “I was fairly well-experienced with martial arts prior to training in Gongfu, but I would say that it has significantly improved my form to experience Gongfu.” During their Gongfu workouts, both Geraci and Rob McKenna said they enjoy the kiba-dachi stance, which mimics a wall-sit exercise without the support of a wall. “I think my favorite memory so far is the time I had to hold a squat for several minutes as part of a black belt test in February,” McKenna said. Saint Mary’s junior Elizabeth Schroff said she appreciates the communal aspect of the club and the ability to assume a teaching role at practices. “Everyone in the club here is really dedicated to the art, and they are all awesome to work with,” Schroff said. “Being a green belt, I really enjoy getting the opportunity to help teach the younger belts and give them tips on how to improve and progress in the art.” Blair said he hopes Gongfu Club can continue as an exciting way for students, staff and faculty from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s to learn or progress in martial arts techniques. “In the long term, I would like to get students, faculty and staff members to black belt so that the club can be self-sustaining, for I know that I won’t be here at Notre Dame forever,” Blair said.
Future businessmen and businesswomen flocked to Jordan Auditorium on Tuesday to listen to New Zealander Sarah Robb speak on her ultra-successful career in entrepreneurial insights. She organized her talk around five specific steps that helped her to where she is today: the president of Equinox Fitness. Robb’s first point was to “know who you are and who you are not.” She emphasized following passions and finding niches. “You cannot start your career without knowing who you are as a person,” Robb said. “I began working at Atari when video games were upcoming and popular, but I didn’t think about the fact that I hated video games. I had never played them and had a tough time fitting in and getting ideas across. Got fired. It’s just an awesome, awesome moment in your late 20s when you think you know what’s going on and you lose your job.” Shortly after this low point, Robb went to Nike, which she said ended up being a much better fit for her. “Nike was a place I had dreamed of working at, and not surprisingly went from being a massive failure at Atari to quite successful, surrounded by people with similar values and passions,” Robb said. Robb said she admired Nike’s courage to say no, even when under extreme pressure. For example, when the toning-shoes industry became a billion-dollar industry about two years ago, according to Robb, Nike refused to join in because of the fake technology. “Nike is one of the best examples in the world of knowing who they are, which is being inspiration and innovation for athletes,” Robb said. “The whole toning shoe business has imploded and Nike has avoided it because of their courage.” Secondly, Robb said she believes in understanding the consumer better than anyone else. She emphasized the idea of focusing on micro-communities instead of always equating large-scale with success. “Knowing your consumer and micro-community intimately can drive innovation and growth,” Robb said. “Virgin Airlines, for example, focused on a very specific, creative customer and only flew to places they knew these people lived. This consumer focus enables Virgin to redefine themselves into the entertainment business.” Having worked for Virgin Airlines early in her career, Robb said she noticed how successful they were even with such a small consumer base. However, having such a specific audience allowed them to tailor their services to these people, making the flying experience one of entertainment rather than stressful tedium. “Do something spectacular for a few, instead of something average for many,” Robb said. “I’m so super passionate about this I can’t even describe to you. There are so many companies out there that focus completely on scale that they’re not really offering anything useful to their customers.” Robb piggybacked onto this idea the topic of social media. She said she believes that social media has been around forever and is just now taking on a new form. “We’ve always been influenced by the people around us, the people we trust and the people whose opinions we care most about. Social media is the same as that behavior just on a really giant scale,” Robb said. “And I think it’s the most exciting economic era we could be going into.” Robb then told the audience to not be afraid to change things up. She used her experience with Gatorade to highlight this point. “Gatorade was started for football players. It was purely created to make athletes better,” Robb said. “So after Gatorade spread to all the athletes in every sport, it eventually spread to places like Wal-Mart. This massive growth was not a good thing, especially with the economic crisis of 2008, which of course is exactly when I joined the company.” Robb explained that although the economy severely hurt sales, it was the non-athletes that were cutting back, which is actually what Gatorade wanted. “We asked our loyal customers what they thought about our company, and all of them said they had a deep trust for the brand but wished for new things from us. That’s when we introduced the G Series, specific to athletes,” Robb said. Robb concluded with her fifth concept: “What you give is what you get.” “You must consciously think about the communities you’re serving. One consumer who exemplifies the brand can inspire many, create loyalty in the long term,” Robb said. “Business is not about making money; it’s about doing what matters to you.”
The Saint Mary’s student senate met Tuesday night to discuss the creation of a mission statement for the Sophia program and to hear updates from each of the different committees and boards on campus.Co-president Madeline Martin began the meeting with a prayer before reviewing last week’s minutes and began with new business.Shannon Schalk, chair of the Sophia board, addressed the absence of a mission statement for the Sophia program, which integrates general education into majors and minors according to the Saint Mary’s website. She said a mission statement would help students, especially incoming freshmen, understand the academic program.Students would see the mission statement when Sophia is fully implemented and when there are mission statements for all three levels of the program, Schalk said.“Our first introduction to Sophia is an 88-page booklet that they send us in the summer,” Schalk said. “There needs to be something better for the students and it has to be easy to understand.”Schalk also said the statement is important because it will be used for advertising. Students and faculty nation-wide should be able to understand and appreciate the program after reading the statement.The senate also discussed what the Sophia program is and in what ways it is unique to Saint Mary’s.Freshman Kelly Vaughan shared her perspective and agreed there should be more description of the overall program and all three levels.“I read [the booklet] all the way through and understood that you picked a class to fulfill a level but I knew I was having my advisor meeting coming up and I didn’t even know who she was or what the program was and it was very overwhelming,” Vaughan said. “The picture really threw me off.”Chair of the Student Diversity Board, Carmen Cardenas, offered an update on the group’s upcoming activities.“On Feb. 24 to 28 we are going to have Women’s Appreciation week,” Cardenas said. “It’s going to be tough because it’s the same week as Love Your Body week. March 8 is going to be International Women’s Day, so on March 5 we are going to have an international women’s film, which is probably going to be ‘Pray The Devil Back To Hell.’”The film is about women in Liberia who come together in prayers to prevent war, Cardenas said. Their efforts were a significant part of bringing about a peace agreement that ended their country’s civil war.“It is a great way to see faith in action and to see these women doing awesome,” Cardenas said. “What better film to support women’s mission and International Women’s Day?”Tags: Saint Mary’s Senate, Sophia Program, Student Diversity Board
LGBTQ 101, a program initiated this semester by the Gender Relations Center (GRC), will kick off Wednesday and offer local students and educators an opportunity to learn about issues related to gender and sexual identity in an inclusive Catholic environment, the GRC’s assistant director for LGBTQ student concerns Maureen Doyle said.“Through participating in LGBTQ 101, we hope individuals throughout campus feel better equipped to join the conversation around the needs and concerns of LGBTQ students here, while recognizing our call as a Catholic community to create an environment that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for all of our students,” Doyle said.Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the GRC, said LGBTQ 101 would offer participants a chance to ask questions and “learn strategies to care and support all of our students as part of our Catholic mission.”“Ultimately, we want to promote a healthy dialogue on our campus as we all engage with the complexity of issues related to sexuality and identities,” she said.Doyle said the monthly two-hour LGBTQ 101 sessions would welcome students, faculty and staff from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross. She said each session will offer “a basic understanding and greater awareness” of the LGBTQ community.“The presentation includes an overview of the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexual orientation, definitions related to sexual orientation and gender identity and a look at common myths and misunderstandings about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities,” Doyle said.Sophomore Bryan Ricketts, a FIRE Starter at the GRC, said even students who do not identify as members of the LGBTQ community should participate in one of the presentations.“The sessions are intended for those who have little experience with the LGBTQ community but would like to learn more about the lives of its members,” Ricketts said. “Anyone who attends should come away with a better understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and how it relates to them, especially if they are not part of the LGBTQ community.”Ricketts said incorporating Catholic teaching would expand the message of inclusion that LGBTQ 101 hopes to spread. A willingness to learn about and understand the problems facing members of the LGBTQ community fits into Catholic tradition and moral teachings of respecting human dignity, Ricketts said.“Notre Dame’s Catholic identity calls all of its members to love one another,” he said. “Too often, this call is forgotten when people are different than we are and we fail to respect their common human dignity.“Understanding and embracing our differences is the key to this acceptance, and the LGBTQ 101 program is intended to introduce LGBTQ terminology and experiences to those who have not had them but who recognize the importance of a personal or Catholic call to respect and love.”Wednesday’s session will take place in the McNeill Room from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Doyle said.“Participants will walk away from the two-hour presentation with a wealth of information, provided in a way that is sure to be both engaging and educational,” she said.Tags: Catholic tradition, Gender Relations Center, GRC, LGBTQ, LGBTQ 101
Wei Lin | The Observer Business professor Patrick Murphy speaks at the Frank Cahill Lecture in Business Ethics on Monday.“The lesson here is that [the company] had a really quick response because they knew that they messed up,” Francica said. “They admitted their mistake, and it was interesting because it ended up not being a huge issue for [the company] because they acted so quickly. The first takeaway is that in nine out of 10 cases [when] you make this kind of mistake, the best thing to do is to fall on your sword and make amends as quickly as possible.”Steven Danford, who worked as an investment banker for a small bank, said a dirty stock deal by a senior banker threatened the existence of his bank.“Our compliance department determined that [the stock deal] was so bad that we had to fire the guy because there would have been ramifications for our firm,” Danford said. “So we did. As he came back, he sued our firm … but our firm was small. We didn’t have the bankroll to fund a year-long lawsuit. … So, basically the firm I worked with is closing up soon.”George Hayes, who worked as an investor for a firm, said he learned how to deal with a workplace that encouraged intentional gross inefficiency, as he and his colleagues were paid on an hourly rather than a fixed-fee basis.“You will get pressure as a younger staff person early in [your] career saying, ‘Hey, you really got to watch the hours at work,’” Danford said. “They will … push you in a direction … to try to make sure you don’t do what you’re supposed to, even though you’re told the second you walk through the door to bill every hour you work since that’s what’s best for the firm and that’s what’s best for the client.”Following the discussion, Southwest Airlines was awarded the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. Award for ethically and socially sustainable business practices. Notre Dame Alumnus Christine Ortega received the award of behalf of Southwest Airlines.“Our mission statement says nothing about the airline business, not one word about flying airplanes,” said Christine. “It talks about delivering the best kind of customer service that you can deliver. … We talk about Southwest Airlines as people; we talk about being in the customer service business. That is our cornerstone.” Tags: business ethics, Mendoza Four Notre Dame Master in Business Administration (MBA) graduates convened in the Jordan Auditorium on Monday to talk about ethical decisions in their previous occupations as part of a Frank Cahill Lecture in Business Ethics.During the first part of the event, each graduate shared cautionary tales about their previous employers, which remained unnamed.Nicole O’Connor, who worked as a financial consultant for a hospital, said her experiences dealing with negativity in the office taught her to be cautious in a workplace environment.“In the interview process [for my job], something felt a little off with the culture, but I kind of brushed it off since I got the opportunity to work in a hospital,” O’Connor said. “But it should have been a warning sign for me, looking back. Things were okay for me the first few months, but then I found that people in the office weren’t supportive and people talked about each other behind their back. … Each day I went home, I had to check to make sure that I stayed true to myself.”Chris Francica, who worked in marketing in the telecommunications industry, described how his employer handled a controversy over a potentially disastrous false-marketing incident.
Professor of Dante and Italian studies Zygmunt Baranski spoke Thursday on the significance of Dante Alighieri’s early work the “Vita Nova” as part of a yearlong lecture series, “Dante’s Other Works.”“The common designation for Dante’s other writings was to call them minor works,” Baranski said. “The one point I think is very important to stress is that they are anything but minor. Each of them makes a major contribution to Western artistic and intellectual culture.”Despite being relegated by scholars as a minor work, Dante’s “Vita Nova” reveals a linguistic ingenuity that precedes his better-known work, the Divine Comedy, Baranski said.“In the ‘Vita Nova,’ everything he’s doing at every level is new,” he said. “He develops a new form of literature, a new form of criticism.”Baranski said Dante’s vision for the “Vita Nova” is a characteristically ambitious one.“Fundamentally, the ‘Vita Nova’ is a work about salvation … which can have a bearing upon any reader to try to work out his or her relationship with God,” he said.While it is a work complex enough to engage the educated elite, the “Vita Nova” also appeals to a broader audience, Baranski said.“The basic point that he’s telling us is accessible to the simple … the morally pure person,” he said. “Dante is working on different levels … his texts never have a single audience.”In a break with Western literary tradition, Dante combines Christian and secular ideas of love in his writing, Baranski said.“He brings these elements together in order then to funnel them towards a Christian resolution based on salvation,” he said.Baranski said many scholars, however, do not view the “Vita Nova” as a literary innovation but instead believe it to be a necessary preparation for Dante’s future works, a perception he said fails to recognize the “Vita Nova’s” value in itself.“I think there’s been a tendency to banalize the text,” Baranski said. “People tend to consider the work in light of the [Divine Comedy] … that somehow all the books that Dante wrote before … were written to prepare for the [Divine Comedy].”Barasnki said scholars have also overlooked the significance of the prose sections of the “Vita Nova” compared to the poetry sections, failing to consider the work as a whole.“You’ve got to look at the text as a whole,” Baranski said. “[Scholars] have overwhelmingly focused on the poetry, and have tended to push the prose into the hinterland.”Baranski said there is evidence that Dante later edited certain poems in the “Vita Nova” to better fit the narrative of the work.“Dante is a great self-propagandizer,” Baranski said. “[“The Vita Nova”] … is part of the fiction that he’s constructing, of someone who has experiences, writes poems about them, and at a later stage, realizes that all these experiences…come together to reveal to him a divine providential truth.”Tags: Dante Studies, Italian Studies, Vita Nova, Zygmunt Baranski
University student entrepreneurs pitched their best business ventures to “Shark Tank’s” Kevin O’Leary, following a presentation on his life and tips for success in entrepreneurship in the Mendoza College of Business on Monday.The talk, sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business and the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship, filled the 350-seat Jordan Auditorium, as students and faculty came to hear O’Leary’s insights on entrepreneurship.Eddie Griesedieck | The Observer “After nine years and thousands of pitches, there’s a lot to be learned about what goes right and what goes wrong, and how you present your ideas to investors,” O’Leary said. “I don’t care whether you are an entrepreneur, a leader, a politician — these lessons matter in terms of your ability to communicate with people.”In his experience judging pitches on “Shark Tank,” O’Leary said all of the successful pitches had three aspects in common: They articulated the opportunity in 90 seconds or less, they convinced their potential investors they’re the right person for the business and they knew their numbers, or found someone who did.“The whole deal with a small business is to find out what makes your story compelling to your customer and stay in touch,” O’Leary said. “ … That actually is the secret to ‘Shark Tank.’ If you ever get there and you get to pitch to the sharks, and they offer you a very aggressive deal, it’s because they’ve figured out how valuable you are.”Successful managers share a number of aspects, O’Leary said. In addition to creating a clear line of command, setting achievable goals, maintaining accessibility, delegating tasks efficiently and having superb time management skills, the best managers all use technology as a weapon.“In the case of small companies today, the number one weapon is social media,” O’Leary said. “To engage social media properly, you have to have production skills, because just posting stuff with low production value gets you no traction.”When O’Leary teaches business, he said he always talks about the “dark side” of business.“In business, there are winners and losers — this is not ‘kumbaya,’” he said. “When you go into a market, you are trying to grow it, but you’re taking someone else’s share. It is a war. It’s not a social exercise. You can’t save the world — the DNA of a business was never designed to do that.”Following O’Leary’s presentation, two teams and one individual student from Notre Dame were given a few minutes each to pitch their business ideas.The first — “Elephant in the Room” — was pitched by seniors Kiely Wilcox and Alexandra Julian as a social media app for college campuses to ask anonymous questions on mental health.“It’s a great service, I just don’t know that it shouldn’t be provided by the institution,” O’Leary said. “I don’t know if it’s a business — I think it’s a service.”“Touch Base,” an online resource to pair undergraduate students and young alumni with older alumni, was pitched by freshmen Katherine Brown and Katie McGuckin before O’Leary criticized it for being too similar to LinkedIn.“I’m not sure I’m loving it,” he said. “ … I’m trying to figure out how this is different from LinkedIn. There’s already a whole group of Mendoza grads who are already there. They have a platform and they’ve branded it and they have millions of other people they can look at.”Senior Luis Escobar presented the final pitch for a product, “Takay Blends,” which uses bananas rejected from the market in his native Ecuador for their appearance and blends them with “superfood ingredients” to create a meal replacement smoothie.“I see what you’re doing and it maybe could work,” O’Leary said. “ … This is not a zero — it’s got potential because people want healthy alternatives. Maybe. But I think you have a lot of work to do on the packaging.” Tags: business, Kevin O’Leary, Mendoza, Shark Tank
Gina Twardosz | The Observer Poet Emily Schulten discusses her passion for writing during a lecture Thursday night. Schulten said she first realized her love of words at a young age.Schulten’s said her work is very narrative-based and personal, often revolving around what fascinates her in that moment. During her reading, Schulten focused on the history of the Florida Keys and the generational nature of the residents who have lived there for the past 15 to 20 years.“Generational themes are hard to get away from because they’re so human, they’re tied to our emotional experience and they’re evolving in ways you can’t help but notice and pay attention to,” she said. “A lot of tradition isn’t held on as tightly to as it once was.”On her writing process, Schulten said teaching sparks ideas for many of her poems. She cites these experiences as inspiration that enables her to keep producing written works.“The best times are when you’re in a room full of students … where there’s this magic in the chemistry of the group you have, and you immediately go back to your desk and blow off everything and write,” she said. “My students bring that out so often because we learn from other people. There’s a lot of places to learn but people, that’s where you learn things. I want to be learning when I’m writing.”In addition to her teaching career, Schulten said she looks for bits of inspiration in the writings of others. Schulten said she combines what she gains from reading with ideas she already has in mind in order to craft works of her own.“Sometimes I’ll have an image [or] I’ll have a point I want to make but no vehicle for it,” she said. “When I’m in that situation, or when I have to write something and I can’t get started, I could pull any book of poetry off the shelf, open it to any page and halfway through the poem, I know exactly what I’m going to write about.”Fledgling writers have such great opportunities to receive feedback on their work, Schulten said, making the experience of being in writing classes truly special. The feedback from peers, she said, enables writers to learn and grow as a community.“It’s huge to have somebody you know who’s going to read your work and tell you what they think of it,” she said. “And when I have graduate students who can’t handle getting feedback, I try so hard to impress upon them what a gift that is — that community.”While working on her Ph.D. at Georgia State University, Schulten was given advice from a thesis advisor that helped her appreciate the writing community she had as a student.“He said, ‘I hear you and your friends talking about how you can’t wait to be done, but you will never have a community like this again, and you need to hold on to it,’” she said. “There [is] nothing like the built in community of a campus or writing program.”Schulten said she advises students to respect the workshop process but also maintain their creative integrity while sharing their writing.“The best advice I can give is to work toward that place where you know the difference between what feedback will work for you and what won’t,” she said. “So that’s the goal, to really get to that point and respect it, to know your own value as a writer so that you don’t live with too much doubt.”While avoiding the discouragement and apprehension that accompany being a female writer, Schulten said she enjoys balancing life as a professor and poet because her desire to write is a constant presence in her life.“The biggest challenge is being a female poet — it’s not an easy thing,” she said. “You have to keep going and you have to keep going even when you think you shouldn’t or you’re not meant to do it, or you think it’s not worth it. That’s either the biggest challenge or something we have no choice about anyway, because if you’re a writer, you’re going to keep going.”Tags: creative writing, Emily Schulten, poet On Thursday night, poet Emily Schulten shared her work with the Saint Mary’s community during a lecture in Vander Vennet Theatre. At the reading, Schulten discussed her life in the Florida Keys, from lore about pirate smuggling to her wedding crasher: Hurricane Irma.Schulten said she has always been interested in the poetic nature of words, but decided to pursue journalism, then international business while in college. But, after three years, Schulten realized her mistake.“I was always playing with words from a young age,” she said. “As far as, why I chose [poetry] to express myself, I think I chose it to express myself more when I was young and there were no structures I had to conform to. Now that I have been studying poetry and doing publishing and editing for so long, it feels like it’s not a vehicle for expression so much as it’s a vehicle for communication. I’m more concerned with the voices who will hear it and how it will be reflective for them.”
Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series featuring Notre Dame alumni from around the world. Each alumnus was chosen from a list of nominees provided by his or her local Notre Dame Club. This installment will feature Ken Strottman (’71) from Orange County, California.Ken Strottman may have graduated with the class of 1971, but he never left what it means to be a Domer behind.After graduating 47 years ago with a degree in marketing, Strottman held a number of jobs in marketing which took him around the country. This included work in Chicago and St. Louis, helping to market products ranging from Crackerjacks to toilet bowl cleaners. Photo courtesy of Ken Strottman Ken Strottman, pictured holding football, stands with other Notre Dame alumni. Strottman helped distribute scholarships to students in Orange County while on the board of the ND club.Then, in 1983 Strottman founded his own marketing, design and manufacturing company, Strottman International Inc., of which he is now the CEO.Though he now lives in California where his company is based, Strottman remains involved with the Notre Dame community — particularly through his work with the Notre Dame Club of Orange County.“I believe very strongly, you know, in the concept of the [regional] Notre Dame Clubs,” Strottman said. “I believe that Notre Dame is far, far away and I believe that the flag is planted with the clubs that are scattered in many cities in this country as well as many cities abroad.”Strottman was once on the board of the Notre Dame Club of Orange County, during which time he did work organizing and distributing scholarships for Orange County residents intending to attend Notre Dame. He said his focus in the club has shifted over time, however, and now much of his involvement is based on finding ways for the club to uphold Notre Dame’s mission and values in places the University does not directly reach.“What I wanted to do is figure out if we could bring the spirit of Notre Dame to Orange County,” Strottman said. “The spirit we wanted to bring to Orange County was to do the good work that Notre Dame charges us to do in their mission.”In keeping with that theme, Strottman said the Notre Dame Club of Orange County has been undertaking a number of efforts to bring the Notre Dame spirit to Orange County and spread the values the University tries to instill in its students.“Everywhere, you read to make a difference in society, to make a difference … with humanity,” Strottman said on the mission of the University and the efforts of the Orange County chapter.Over the past years, Strottman said the club has underwritten some of the housing for students in Orange County with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), a program at Notre Dame focused on training teachers and giving them practical teaching experience. The club also occasionally works with the Center for Social Concerns and is looking into expanding programs and opportunities for Notre Dame students in Orange County, Strottman said. Plans include summer internships or a “semester abroad” type of program that would allow students to take a semester of class in California.Strottman emphasized he isn’t the only member of the Notre Dame Club of Orange County, however, and gave his fellow members credit for much of what the club is doing today.“Its a team effort, were all doing it, the whole club,” he said. “All this is done in the context of the club.”Though he is kept busy through his job as CEO for Strottman International Inc., his involvement in the Notre Dame Club of Orange County and his grandchildren, Strottman still finds time for the occasional Notre Dame football game: for example, he said he visited San Diego on Oct. 27 to see the Irish play Navy. Despite his commitment to helping the Notre Dame community, Strottman said he doesn’t get out to South Bend much these days.But, regardless of his distance from the University, Strottman highlighted his mission to create and contribute to an environment in Orange County that mirrors the values and mission of Notre Dame, ensuring that, though he may have long since graduated, his time with the University will never truly end. “The idea is we are supporting the outreach program that Notre Dame has, but we’re underwriting bringing it here to Orange County, where we live, work and pray,” Strottman said.Tags: Alumni series, Ken Strottman, Notre Dame Club of Orange County