With 80 percent of students participating in community service prior to graduating, Saint Mary’s was nationally recognized as a member of the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll on Feb. 25, a College press release said.The Honor Roll is the highest achievement that a college or university can accomplish for its dedication to community service. The College has received the award in each of the past four years, said Carrie Call, director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE).“This is a national designation awarded yearly to institutions of higher education that meet certain requirements for community engagement and volunteer service,” Call said. “We gained it by the extensive involvement of our students.”Call said OCSE hopes to continue the tradition of service on campus by offering a variety of opportunities for student engagement at many different levels within the community. “The opportunities have grown in the past years for our students and we want to continue that,” Call said.Call said the College believes it is important for students to participate in service.“It helps students come to understand what their passions and what they want to do in their lives,” she said. “Another important reason is that it gives us the opportunity to give something back to our communities. Catholic Social Teaching tells us that we are ‘all really responsible for all’ and so our service in the community allows us to act out that sense of responsibility and solidarity.”Call said she was excited about the award because it reflects the actions of the students.“Awards like this are important because they are a public recognition of our students’ dedication to the common good,” Call said.The level of student participation at the College is higher than the national average, Call said. OCSE plans to offer several community service opportunities within the next few weeks, including Walk for the Hungry on March 28 and Rebuilding Together on April 17.Call said OCSE offers a variety of other opportunities throughout the academic year for student involvement in community service.
“I don’t feel deserving, but I’m humbled, I’m honored,” Fehrenbach said about receiving GALA’s first distinguished alumni award. Fehrenbach graduated from Notre Dame’s Air Force ROTC. During his 19 years in the Air Force, he was deployed six times and earned nine air medals, one of which was awarded for heroism. The group, which is not officially associated with the University, will present the award to Fehrenbach at a Saturday event. “I never did this for me … my goal was always to help others,” Fehrenbach said. “So I’ll do whatever it takes, whether it’s legal, whether it’s public opinion, whether it’s political. I’ll do whatever it takes to see [‘don’t ask, don’t tell’] repealed.” “I found that the friends I met there, even if you don’t see them for five years, it just picks up again. … Those friends are always your friends no matter what happens,” he said. “Gosh, I think I’ve heard from at least half my class from Air Force ROTC.” In August, Fehrenbach filed a complaint and requested a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court because he believed he would be discharged from the Air Force as a result of investigations under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Resulting negotiations reached a stipulation agreement, which Fehrenbach said requires the Air Force to notify a judge of an intention to discharge him. Fehrenbach will also participate in a panel discussion Saturday at the Notre Dame Law School about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He said he hopes it will provide a better understanding of this military policy. When he began to look for a lawyer, several legal firms contacted him with an interest in his case. He chose M. Andrew Woodmansee, who earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Notre Dame, in part due to his ties to the University. Fehrenbach will be eligible to retire from the Air Force in September 2011, but if he is discharged he will not earn retirement benefits. The Air Force began to investigate Fehrenbach’s conduct under “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2008, after a civilian accused Fehrenbach of sexual assault. In order to clear his name of the allegation, Fehrenbach said he admitted to conduct that violated “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College (GALA) will give Fehrenbach its distinguished alumni award this weekend in South Bend. Liam Dacey, GALA chair and 2004 Notre Dame graduate, said GALA created the distinguished alumni award this year to honor Notre Dame graduates who are leaders for the gay community. Fehrenbach’s case, which he said would not reach a trial for 18 to 24 months, contains arguments both for his personal circumstance and against “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a whole. “One of the things I liked about that was I think I know and understand where Notre Dame people come from and what their values are,” Fehrenbach said. “So that part of it was a factor since I sort of knew the type of man he was.” “I was probably just like any young, Catholic kid growing up — you watch Notre Dame football,” Fehrenbach said. “I had always wanted to go there.” Fehrenbach said he met Dacey and learned more about GALA in March at an event for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit group representing gays in the military, which is serving as co-counsel in his case. He said he looks forward to returning to South Bend this weekend for the GALA event because it has been a year since he was last on campus. “I only made those statements to clear my name,” he said. “The other option was to lie and that wasn’t an option.” The summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame, Fehrenbach said he considered leaving the ROTC program and finding another means of paying tuition. But a speech by Sen. John McCain at the Republican National Convention about his own experience in the military and as a prisoner of war changed his opinion. “We thought of a new award this year as well to go along with the Tom Dooley Award,” Dacey said. “Here’s somebody who’s a war hero, who graduated from Notre Dame.” Fehrenbach’s legal team is arguing that his discharge would cause him irreparable harm. Fehrenbach also said many of his friends from Notre Dame have contacted him to express their support. “That speech just changed my life,” he said. “From that moment on I just felt this overwhelming commitment to serve my country.” Fehrenbach has never publicly said he is gay, although the law allows the military to investigate based on either a statement or conduct. Fehrenbach said many legal experts have told him his case has the potential to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The precedent set by Maj. Margaret Witt’s case, in which a U.S. District Court ordered Witt’s reinstatement into the Air Force Sept. 24 after a discharge based on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” will help his argument, he said. He became friends with Witt because their cases are intertwined, and was present for the decision in her case last week. Their argument also challenges the Air Force’s ability to prove that Fehrenbach’s presence in a military unit creates an “unacceptable risk,” which the policy, passed in 1993, states is a result of having members of the military “who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.” When he was notified of the Air Force’s investigation in 2008, Fehrenbach said he found another job and prepared to leave the military. He decided, however, to argue his case because he said he realized he could form a strong argument. Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a 1991 Notre Dame graduate and decorated Air Force pilot, is currently fighting for his rights under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Fehrenbach said Witt inspired him to pursue legal action in his own situation. In addition, he has received encouragement from many members of the Notre Dame community. “Actually, my case … is an as-apply challenge,” he said. “But we also have constitutional arguments as well, as declaring it unconstitutional across the board.” He said he entered the Air Force’s ROTC program as a freshman because the Air Force would pay for his education and fulfill his dream of attending Notre Dame. He worked as an information management officer after his graduation from Notre Dame before going to flight school to become a fighter pilot. Since that time, he has flown 88 combat missions in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan during his six deployments. Fehrenbach said he decided to commit not only the minimum four years of service in the Air Force required by ROTC, but his entire career. During his senior year, he was corps commander of the University’s Air Force ROTC and was ranked as a cadet colonel, the highest rank in the ROTC program. “I think not just Notre Dame students, but the public in general doesn’t have a full understanding of what this law is and how it is in practice,” Fehrenbach said. “In other words, I guess if you see something wrong, you should take every opportunity you’re given to do something about it.”
After Republicans won big in midterm elections last week, Notre Dame professors said the party’s gains could lead to a stronger sense of party division in the coming term. “The Republicans won big, so they have no need to compromise,” said Jack Colwell, adjunct professor of American Studies and South Bend Tribune columnist. “With Democrats, the more liberal Democrats won — it was the more moderate Democrats that lost.” The House of Representatives currently has 256 Democratic seats and 179 Republican seats. When the new Representatives take office, 239 Republicans and 188 Democrats will take the floor, with eight seats still pending, according to USA Today’s website. The Senate will go from its current 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and two Independents to 51 Democrats, 46 Republicans and two Independents, with one seat still pending. Colwell said Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, in which Notre Dame is located, had an interesting race. Incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly narrowly defeated Republican Jackie Walorski for the spot in the House of Representatives. “It was amazing Donnelly could survive in such a Republican year in a Republican state,” he said. “One of the problems for the next session is that Donnelly is one of the more moderate Democrats, and one of the few left.” In the races for governor, Republicans also took the majority. Currently there are 26 Democratic governors and 24 Republican governors. After the new ones are sworn in, there will be 29 Republican governors, 18 Democratic governors and one Independent governor, with two races still pending results, according to USA Today’s website. When it comes to legislation, Colwell said he predicts problems between party lines. “There will be stalemate,” he said. “The Republicans in the House of Representatives have had great success with just saying no.” He also said he sees trouble for President Barack Obama. “[Obama] will try to work with them — but it takes two to tango,” Colwell said. “I don’t see why Republicans would work with him … I doubt they will work with him.” The repeal of healthcare reform was on the campaign promise list of many candidates, but Colwell said this would be impossible. However, the newly elected officials could still do some damage. “Opponents will try to starve it,” he said. “They will try to sabotage it.” He said this could come in the form of redirecting funds away from programming. “The only thing that could help end the [partisan] stalemate is that both parties love their country,” he said. “If things started to get bad with something like the economy, you might see politicians on either side work with each other.” Some have called the Republican victory a “tsunami” or a “hurricane,” Colwell said, but he also said the landslide could have been larger. “It was a big Republican year,” he said. “They probably would have won the Senate if the Tea Party didn’t nominate so many questionable candidates.” The Tea Party, a right-wing faction of the Republican Party, received a lot of media attention during the elections. Michael Desch, chair in the Political Science department, said the Tea Party created problems for the two-party political system. “There is grounds for optimism for the Obama administration,” he said. “The rise of the Tea Party is not just a problem for the Democrats but also for the Republican Party. There is a lot of anger directed at the Republican establishment.” Desch, who has a specialty in international politics and foreign policy, said some foreign policy issues were in the background of the midterm election. “China and trade [was an issue],” he said. “The overarching issue was the economy and unemployment. China was important with these persistent fears. We have an imbalance in trade with China.” Desch said what seemed to determine the midterm election results was not a great support for the Republican Party, but a general sense of unhappiness with the current government. “The problems with the economy are long-term and structural,” he said. “The problem is that there are no easy solutions. The American public doesn’t have the stomach for the solutions now.”
University President Fr. John Jenkins announced Tuesday three staff members will assume new positions in his office over the next month, according to a University press release. Frances L. Shavers, chief of staff and special assistant to the president, has been appointed to the newly created position of chief diversity officer. According to the press release, Shavers will focus on staff diversity, assist in diversity efforts with students and faculty and provide advice on how the University can continue to improve its efforts in this area. Ann M. Firth, associate vice president and counselor to the president, will become chief of staff. Firth was formerly associate vice president for student affairs. Firth will work in the Office of the President to manage staff, act as a liaison with the Board of Trustees and plan the University Commencement Ceremony. Firth and Shavers will assume their new roles March 5. Fr. William M. Lies, executive director of the Center for Social Concerns, will assume the new position of vice president for mission engagement and church affairs March 19. Lies will take on key responsibilities previously assigned to the Office of the Counselor to the President. He will also coordinate with Church leaders and look to sustain and enhance the contribution of Holy Cross to Notre Dame, according to the press release. Lies will also have ecclesial responsibility for the University’s Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem.
Every student has a unique story of their first experience at Notre Dame, whether they are legacy students who watched “Rudy” hundreds of times as a child, or just visited the campus their senior year of high school and unexpectedly fell in love. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ High School Ambassador (HSA) program, led by assistant director of admissions Jordan Schank, works to share the Notre Dame experience with as many students as possible. “Each year, Admissions Counselors travel to hundreds of high schools across the United States and internationally to meet with prospective students,” Schank said. “However, time and resources limit the number of schools that the counselors are able to visit. The High School Ambassador program extends the reach of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions by sending trained current Notre Dame students to their hometowns to share their experiences with prospective students.” Schank said the high school ambassadors are volunteers who may be from any class and any college. “High school ambassadors must attend a training session offered by the Admissions Office,” Schank said. “The high school ambassadors are also responsible for contacting their own high schools to schedule the meetings with prospective students.” HSAs are given an outline of topics that can be covered during their meetings with prospective students, Schank said. “Many HSAs will prepare a formal presentation that covers student life, residential life, the First Year of Studies and other topics that help introduce Notre Dame to high school students. We have also encouraged HSAs to show our new video, ‘Any Given Day’ during their visits,” Schank said. “[However,] the most valuable meetings and presentations will include storytelling and personal anecdotes.” Shank said HSAs are free to share their personal experience with the application process, but they are overall discouraged from giving application advice or suggesting whether a particular student would be competitive or not. “Rather, HSAs are to encourage prospective students to continue the conversation with their regional admissions counselor in our office,” Schank said. “We value the work and enthusiasm of our high school ambassadors. The stories and experiences shared by high school ambassadors carry a certain authenticity that is well-received by prospective students.” In the future, Schank said he hopes to expand the program and send ambassadors to represent the University internationally. “Currently, students are preparing to visit their high schools over fall break. We hope to offer the program over other breaks this year,” he said. “We hope that students will enjoy the experience and volunteer again to visit additional schools in their hometowns. Finally, we hope to recruit and train a large number of international high school ambassadors to supplement our current recruiting efforts overseas.” Contact Catherine Owers at [email protected]
Tags: Ambrotypes, Beckwith Theatre Company, Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, Emerging Playwright Award, Kaitlyn Farrell, ND senior named finalist in Beckwith Theatre Company Notre Dame senior Kaitlyn Farrell was recently named one of three finalists in the Beckwith Theatre Company and Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival’s “Emerging Playwright Award” competition.The contest is designed to recognize young playwrights between the ages of 18 and 30 living or studying in Michigan or northern Indiana. Though Farrell’s play, titled “Ambrotypes,” did not win the competition, she received $250 for being named a finalist.”She didn’t win, but it was awesome exposure in the local arena for work,” senior Robert McKenna, who played Jason M. Hawley in the play, said. “Everyone has to start somewhere.”The play was originally commissioned for ND Student Players, an on-campus theatre troupe, but it was not performed as scheduled in the fall and was not re-scheduled.“In January, one of my original actors [McKenna] came to me and said, ‘this play needs to be put on,’” Farrell said. “That’s sort of how it got started again.”Farrell said she worked with McKenna to acquire funds from the student players and began the process of casting the show.Around the time Farrell began preparing to stage her work at Notre Dame, she submitted “Ambrotypes” to the Emerging Playwright’s competition.“I had written the play in about three weeks over the summer, but over Christmas break, I spent another week editing, [and] I added another scene. … It wasn’t until spring break that they called me and told me I was a finalist,” Farrell said.Farrell said she originally got the idea for the play when she visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Photography and the American Civil War” exhibit last summer, she read about the work of Alexander Gardner, a Scottish immigrant who became a battlefield photographer. Gardner became the subject of “Ambrotypes,” which fits into the genre of historical fiction.Since Farrell was named a finalist, the Beckwith Theatre Company staged a reading of the play at the beginning of April, she said.“That may have been one of the better things to happen to us,” freshman Nick Lindstrom said, who played Alexander Gardner in the ND Student Players production. “Kaitlyn got the chance to see complete strangers perform it, and they interpreted the script in an entirely different way than she did. She brought that back and it helped shape her vision.”The Notre Dame production was staged one week later, April 24-25, in the Washington Hall Theatre Lab.“It was my first time directing a full-length play,” Farrell said. “I tend to be more quiet, and I’m definitely more interested in script analysis and playwriting, and it’s pretty rare that playwrights get to direct their own work, so it was definitely a good experience.”Farrell said the production was based on a very collaborative process.“I loved just watching the show, listening to the words that I wrote. … It’s a very kind of transcendental experience. Just sitting there, and I know what the next line is going to be, but I’m always surprised by how they present it,” Farrell said.After she graduates, Farrell plans to move back to her home state of New York.“My hope is to maybe get an apprenticeship at a theater. I would love to work in script analysis, but my hope is to continue playwriting as well,” she said. “I would like to get the play published this summer, but sometimes you need to have a full-scale production before they’ll publish it.“I’ve just loved being able to share my work with other people.”
A team of six Notre Dame students advanced to the regional finals of the Hult Prize, a competition that aims to find solutions for social problems using entrepreneurial approaches, according to the Hult Prize Foundation’s website.According to its website, the Hult Prize Foundation is a non-profit foundation whose goal is to send out the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Seniors Olivia Chen and Veronica Guerrero, junior Evelyn Bauman and sophomores Cate Devey, Sierra Hajdu and Elle Huang make up the team that will compete in this entrepreneurial competition for social good.“President Clinton comes up with the prompt every year,” Devey said. “This year, it is about early childhood education in urban slums.”Devey said the team’s job is to learn about urban slums and the surrounding environment and then make an informed decision based on their observations.“It’s cool to see how business is used for good to solve social problems,” Chen said. “Everyone in our group is really passionate about education in general, so it’s fun to just throw ideas back and forth.”Bauman is currently studying abroad in France but remains invested in the team through Skype sessions. The Kellogg Institute for International Studies as well as the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts agreed to fund her costs of flying back for a weekend to be present at the regional competition in San Francisco in March.“We are trying to design a social enterprise that promotes high-quality early education and is able to be adopted in various countries and for various cultures,” Bauman said.Bauman said the team observed the “Talk With Your Baby” program at the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend and certain aspects of the initiative appeal to them. Bauman said the Robinson Center’s program encourages talking to children as much as possible in order to cultivate stronger vocabulary skills and healthy development.“We would like to develop a tangible product to encourage talking and playing, as well as a distribution model — almost a micro-franchising model to formalize networks of caretakers that already exist in urban slums,” Bauman said.Hajdu said she feels honored to be part of a team that was selected out of about 20,000 teams in the first round of competition.“The competition is going to be very strong, but we’re excited to show that Notre Dame truly is dedicated to impacting the global community for the better,” she said.Hajdu said she envisions this competition to be one of the best experiences of her undergraduate career, and she is excited to meet other students in San Francisco and learn about their experiences as well.”The Hult Prize regional final competition in San Francisco is also a huge networking event for international innovative students to meet each other, share their ideas and spur a movement in social entrepreneurship that hopes to change the world,” Hajdu said.Bauman said that if it wins the regional competition, the team will be given the chance to develop their social enterprise in Boston over the summer.“Whatever happens at the competition in March, we are super grateful for the opportunity to compete in the Hult Prize Challenge 2015 to promote the idea of using the efficiency and power of the private sector for global public well-being,” Bauman said.Tags: Hult Prize, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Kellogg Institute, Mendoza, mendoza college of business, Robinson Center
Who they are:Running for president on the ticket is junior Alex Kruszewski, a junior from Erie, Pennsylvania, majoring in finance and peace studies and living in Dillon Hall. Kruszewski has previously served in student government under the Blais-Shewit administration as Executive Controller, where he worked with administrators on financial matters, including tuition and club funding.Junior Julia Dunbar joins Kruszewski on the ticket, running as vice president. Dunbar, a Fairfax, Virginia, native and resident of Howard Hall, is majoring in neuroscience and behavior. Throughout her time at Notre Dame, Dunbar has been engaged in various projects at Notre Dame aimed at improving mental health on campus, serving as the director of the department of health and wellness in student government during her sophomore year.Top priority: Putting a plan in place to decrease student tuitionThe centerpiece of the Kruszewski-Dunbar agenda is decreasing student tuition, a project Kruszewski has been working on for the past year, developing a plan administrators had supported in the past, he said in an interview with The Observer on Saturday. Kruszewski — who cited similar models at European universities such as Oxford and Cambridge — claimed tuition could be cut in half in the next 15 years by creating endowments for yearly expenses which are currently included in tuition. If they assumed office, Kurszewski said he and Dunbar would set this plan into motion by launching a fundraising campaign among alumni.Best idea: Creating a multicultural student centerIn an attempt to fill empty spaces left by many campus partners moving to the Duncan Student Center, Kruszewski and Dunbar have proposed filling these empty spaces with a multicultural student center, which will help bring together underrepresented student groups and connect them with resources and faculty mentors. Dunbar said this center would create something good out of now-abandoned spaces. Worst idea: Bringing a Chick-fil-A to Eddy StreetOne of the eight centerpieces of the Kruszewski and Dunbar campaign is bringing a Chick-fil-A restaurant to Eddy Street with continued development south of campus. While there are certainly students who would be in favor of this plan, there are no signs that administration and developers would consider this idea after ignoring student input on the idea for the Duncan Student Center, a development project which student government actually did have the opportunity to influence. Focusing on this project would likely divert time and resources away from issues which could directly benefit students on campus.Most feasible: Completion of Callisto implementationThe ticket’s plan to deal with deal with sexual assault and reporting consists of several steps. Kruszewski and Dunbar proposed completing implementation of Callisto, a new software for reporting assaults and an initiative the Blais-Shewit administration has been making progress on for a year. Additionally, the ticket proposes a plan to establish a definition of consent in DuLac, where it does not currently exist. Dunbar said creating this definition would lead to easier and better-defined resolutions of cases of sexual assault reported to the University.Least feasible: Repeal three-year housing requirement While there are certainly feasibility problems with the ticket’s plan to decrease tuition — primarily that it in part relies upon donations in the beginning and requires complete administrative cooperation — there is less of a chance the University repeals the three-year housing requirement, as it has already passed approval of the Board of Trustees. Kruszewski and Dunbar proposed opening up a dialogue with administration on the issue, a strategy which is unlikely to change policy. Bottom Line: Experience and big, hard-to-achieve goalsThe key skill Kruszewski and Dunbar bring to the table is experience working in student government, whether it be Kruszewski’s financial experience or Dunbar’s background in mental health causes. This experience would help the ticket achieve many of its more reasonable goals, like the creation of a multicultural student center. That being said, many of the ticket’s bigger ideas — decreasing tuition and repealing the three-year housing requirement — seem hard to accomplish without complete administrative cooperation, which is by no means a guarantee. Tags: 2018 Student Government Insider, Alex Kruszewski, dulac, Julia Dunbar, Student government
Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, discussed the history of his company and ethical business practices in a lecture Tuesday evening in the Mendoza College of Business as part of the College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Fellows speaker series. Greenfield gave the audience a detailed account of how Ben & Jerry’s was founded. Greenfield and his childhood friend, Ben Cohen, were at a standstill in their lives, he said. Both in their twenties, Greenfield had been rejected from medical school twice and Cohen was working a series of odd jobs in New York before they both decided it was time for a change. Chris Collins | The Observer Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, explores the history of his company and emphasizes the importance of a socially conscious business mission during a lecture Tuesday in the Mendoza College of Business.“Ben and I were failing at everything we tried to do, so we thought, why don’t we get together and do something that’s fun — be our own bosses,” Greenfield said. “And because we had always liked to eat, we thought we would do something with food, so we just picked homemade ice cream.”Greenfield and Cohen opened their first ice cream parlor in an abandoned gas station in Burlington, Vermont in May 1978, and sales went well during their first summer of operation, Greenfield said. However, the winters came, bitterly so, and people naturally decided to buy less ice cream so the pair decided to start selling tubs of it; first sales were to local restaurants, then to restaurants all around the state to stay in business. Little did they know, Greenfield said, that this practice would give way to the Ben & Jerry’s pint. “Ben thought that if he could start packaging the ice cream into pint containers, he could stop off at mom-and-pop grocery stores that he was passing by from one restaurant to another,” Greenfield said. “So we started packaging ice cream into pints … and that is how Ben & Jerry’s stumbled into manufacturing ice cream and delivering it.”But making and selling ice cream is just one aspect of the Ben & Jerry’s business. In the second part of his lecture, Greenfield discussed the company’s deep-rooted dedication to social responsibility and honest business practices. It started with their public campaign against Pillsbury because of their refusal to let two large ice cream distributors carry Ben & Jerry’s — they feared it would detract from sales of Haagen Dazs, a Pillsbury company. So, Greenfield and Cohen started a campaign entitled “What’s the doughboy afraid of?” and sought support from their loyal customers, the media and the general public, eventually winning their case. After that, though, Greenfield and Cohen began to feel that they had stepped away from the original mission of their company.“We were kids of the sixties, and we had a really negative opinion of business,” Greenfield said. “We felt like our business was just becoming another cog in the economic machine.”Just when Greenfield and Cohen were considering getting out of the business, they received some wisdom from an old friend, Maurice Perper. He gave them the advice that made Ben & Jerry’s what it is today, Greenfield said. “If there is something you don’t like about the way that business is done, why don’t you just change it,” Greenfield said. Thus began Ben & Jerry’s mission to make their business different. Instead of pulling in venture capital — a small number of elite investors — when they needed economic support, Cohen and Greenfield held the first ever public stock offer in the state of Vermont, giving the community control over part of their business. Greenfield said they also began the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to grant money to nonprofit organizations, but were overwhelmed by the sheer number of worthy causes that needed help. “As we thought about it, all the foundations in the country are in the same situation,” Greenfield said. “There are these tremendous unmet human needs and not enough money to fulfill them. We started to wonder both why that is and what more business could do.”Greenfield and Cohen decided that business and improving the community did not necessarily have to be two separate entities. “The solution to the dilemma is to find those courses of action that have a positive impact on both of the bottom lines — making money and giving back to the community,” Greenfield said.They decided to find ways to help others and their business at the same time, he said, such as buying brownies for their popular chocolate fudge brownie flavor from a bakery run by a religious community that supports people who have fallen on hard times economically. The company also has about a dozen “partner shops” — stores owned by non-profit social service agencies who work with at-risk youth. The money the shops make funds their programs and provides jobs for these adolescents. Greenfield said he and Cohen believe that Ben & Jerry’s socially conscious mission is part of what makes their business work so well. “Just because the idea that the good you do comes back to you is written in the Bible and not in some business textbook does not mean that it is any less valid,” he said. “We are all interconnected, and as we help others, we cannot help but be helped in return. For businesses and people, it is all exactly the same.”Tags: Ben & Jerry’s, Ben Cohen, ethical business, Jerry Greenfield
Junior Elizabeth Ferry worked as an archives and curation intern at the National Comedy Center during this past summer. At this internship, Ferry’s duties included three roles — working at the center’s Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, working for the National Comedy Center itself and helping with the Lucille Ball Comedy Fest, or “Lucy Fest.”“[The National Comedy Center] is the first American Institution solely dedicated to the art of comedy,” Ferry said. “We were preparing for the grand opening.”Lucy Fest allowed Ferry to establish new connections and realize the completion of her work, she said.“I got to meet hardcore Lucy and comedy fans from all over the country, and I also got to meet the comedians and family members from the items I curated,” she said. “They were standing in front of them. It was cool.”Ferry said comedy is often ignored as an art form. While classical versions of art are given large budgets and countless ways to preserve their history, The Nation Comedy Center is alone in its focus on comedy.“[The creation of the comedy museum] has never been done before,” Ferry said. “No one has given a space for comedy, because comedy isn’t taken seriously. We have art museums and big symphonies. Comedy is looked down upon but it is a serious art form and a societal tool.”Ferry found out about the internship while she was looking for museum jobs on Google and applied.“I thought it was going to be a longshot,” she said. “But I got it”Saint Mary’s helped Ferry secure this opportunity, she said.“I got a grant from the Career Crossing Office. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to go,” Ferry said. “They helped me with my resume and all other resources that Saint Mary’s gave us were instrumental.”Ferry explained that she is dedicated to the preservation of the history of comedy in both stand-up and television form.“Comedy has always been a part of the human experience. Humans love humor,” Ferry said.Ferry’s focus on curation allowed her access to items from throughout television comedy history. Her favorite items included Lindsey Lohan’s dress from “Mean Girls,” campaign materials from “Parks and Recreation,” Jim‘s “Dundie” from “The Office” and Charlie Chaplin’s cane.“We were very fortunate to get a wide range of artifacts there really was something for everybody,” Ferry said. “I would sit in this room full of things from the lives of these incredible people that helped set the stage for stand-up right now and what we are able to do with it. I mean I love stand-up … I think it’s an incredible tool in society for getting your voice out.”Ferry also spoke about how comedy’s effect on societal change. She used the example of comedian Lenny Bruce, who was active in the 1950s and was arrested for obscenity charges and served a major figure in first amendment rights issues involving comedy due to his routines. He was posthumously pardoned of all charges.“Lenny Bruce is a perfect example for why we need to take comedy seriously,” Ferry said. “He is an example of how comedy can change American life.”Ferry said she believes comedy is a critical form of expression.“Comedians are an integral part of the American framework,” she said. “Comedy itself challenges us to look at the world around us.” Tags: Comedy, Lucille Ball, National Comedy Center, Saint Mary’s College