At the conclusion of their term, Student Body President Rachel Ingal, Student Body Vice President Sarah Galbenski, and Chief of Staff Aaron Benavides thank the student body for the honor of representing them in this most unprecedented year. To read their final message to the student body, click here. Below is a list of accomplishments Executive Cabinet achieved throughout their term, which would not have been possible without our counterparts across the Student Union and our phenomenal Executive Cabinet Directors and department members. We thank them for their dedication to the Student Union and the student body.
For a PDF version of the Year in Review click here.
DAY OF ACTION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Drafted a statement explaining why ICE’s July 6th revocation of protection for students on F-1 and M-1 visas was xenophobic and harmful; posted a Google form pledge for students to sign to commit to different avenues of advocacy; compiled an Action Guide full of email/phone call templates, legislators to contact, and petitions to sign. Nearly 500 students committed to some kind of action in support of ND’s international student community.
ELEVATING DIVERSITY COUNCIL
Worked with the Diversity Council Executive Board to write new DC bylaws and pass a Senate order to amend the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body to establish Diversity Council as a special interest organization. These two key institutional changes implement structures that amplify the voices of traditionally marginalized and underrepresented students by creating an effective forum to keep them in communication with the administration.
MENTAL HEALTH DAYS
Sent out a survey to the student body regarding mental health on campus during the fall semester. We received nearly 1,000 responses, and we used data visualization tools to package the data in order to effectively amplify student concerns. We presented this data to the Provost’s Office and successfully advocated for mental health days this semester.
MOREAU VOTER ENGAGEMENT MODULE
Added a comprehensive Voter Engagement module to the Moreau First-Year Experience course so that incoming students each year will be educated on how to use their voice through their vote.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT WEEK
Hosted a Civic Engagement Week including a College Democrats v. College Republicans mock presidential debate and Rock the Vote Festival featuring music, catered food, ice cream, lawn games, a voter registration drive, registration opportunities for various political clubs, and speeches on the importance of voter engagement.
TOWN HALL ON TRUST
Hosted a Town Hall on Trust with Pete Buttigieg, allowing students to ask questions on the importance of trust in democracy. 100 students were able to attend in person and 3,200 attendees tuned into the livestream.
RESTRUCTURING THE CAMPUS LIFE COUNCIL (CLC)
Created new bylaws for the CLC to allow membership to be more representative of marginalized voices on campus. Created spots for Diversity Council, PrismND, and a designee of the Student Body President. The creation of structural representation was passed by the Student Senate and is designed to amplify more student voices.
PARTNERSHIPS WITH STUDENT CLUBS
Contributed to student club and organization led events, contributing over $13,000 to their programming designed to improve the campus community.
VIRTUAL TOWN HALL WITH ERIN HOFFMANN HARDING
Fielded nearly 500 questions this summer regarding COVID prompted policy changes and consolidated the questions into a comprehensive list for Erin Hoffmann Harding to answer in a virtual town hall. 1,300 students were able to tune in virtually.
Designed and implemented a new website so that students can better access student government information on initiatives and programming. The website includes an organizational flow chart that allows students to understand how to map decision makers at Notre Dame and who to contact for their efforts.
RACE RELATIONS WEEK
Organized Race Relations Week, a week-long effort to foster meaningful dialogue about race in all of its facets. The lineup of events included: a talk with a local member of the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi tribe on Indigenous People’s Day; a conversation with Angela Davis; a presentation on Racial Battle Fatigue; a conversation on Black Liberation; a Dismantling Racism Resource Fair; and a culminating Prayer for Unity at the Grotto.
TITLE IX POLICY
Researched literature and statistics related to evidentiary standards with University sexual assault and harassment response proceedings and used our findings to advocate for the maintenance of the “preponderance of evidence” standard at Notre Dame via a presentation to the Faculty Senate and a resolution in support of upholding the preponderance of evidence standard in Title IX and other sex-based misconduct cases within the Student Senate.
FREE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS
Partnered with Building Services to expand an existing initiative to offer free menstrual products within campus buildings, including the Duncan Student Center, the LaFortune Student Center, and DeBartolo Hall.
Spearheaded conversation with the Emotional Support and Well-Being Working Group to advocate for and secure a premium Calm app subscription for the entire ND community.
COVID AMNESTY POLICY
Engaged in dialogue with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) about student concerns regarding possible deterrence from reporting cases of sexual assault and harassment due to fear of behavioral repercussions for COVID guideline infractions. This conversation resulted in OIE introducing formal COVID-related amnesty language.
NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATION
Uplifted Native American students’ voices on campus by working to create an outline for a potential Native American Studies minor/concentration, as well as passing a resolution to integrate Native American history into the Moreau curriculum.
Collaborated with the co-chairs of Hall Presidents Council to incorporate the hall’s diversity and inclusion efforts into the 5% discretionary section for the Hall of the Year point system.
DASHBOARD METRICS AND INCREASED TESTING
Successfully advocated for more data and transparency on the Notre Dame COVID-19 Dashboard, including the distinction between active and recovered cases and the distinction between undergraduate/graduate/employee cases. Through our roles on the Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening, we also advocated for more frequent and regular testing, resulting in increased surveillance testing in the Spring semester.
STATEMENT ON RACIAL JUSTICE AND THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD
Mobilized over 2,200 students to sign onto our statement regarding racial justice and the importance of a commitment to anti-racism.
ALLERGY ACCOMMODATIONS IN THE DINING HALL
Improved dining accommodations for students with mild and severe allergies and dietary restrictions by advocating for Campus Dining employee training and working with the Nutritional Counseling team to create a new introduction to dining accommodations including a welcome graphic for incoming students and an informational guide for current students.
THE WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP FORUM
Created a Presidential Initiative to connect Student Union leaders who identify as women and introduce them to women leaders at the University. At each forum, a keynote speaker shared her leadership journey and some words of wisdom, and student leaders facilitated small discussion groups to promote dialogue and relationship building.
REUSABLE CUTLERY GIVEAWAY
Listened to students’ concerns about the amount waste generated in dining halls and took action by voicing their concerns to Campus Dining. At the beginning of the semester, we distributed 500 sets of reusable cutlery to students on campus and continued sustainability conversations with Campus Dining, leading to the removal of plastic bags from the dining halls. We helped package and distribute two sets of reusable cutlery to each student on campus.
Q&I CARE PACKAGES
Compiled over 500 care packages to be delivered to students entering quarantine and isolation.
TITLE IX TOWN HALL
Cultivated a relationship with the Office of Institutional Equity, working to better understand both national and University-level changes to sexual assault and harassment policies and procedures. We hosted a town hall to communicate these changes to students and clarify other aspects of Title IX.
FUEL MENTORSHIP GUIDE
Reached out to every member of the outgoing and incoming Executive Cabinet, Senate, and Hall Presidents Council as well as senior leaders in the Club Coordination Council, Diversity Council, Class Councils, and SUB (total of about 290 student leaders) in order to garner advice for incoming student leaders in the First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL). We then created a directory for dispersion to FUELers, and the FUELers were able to connect with the campus leaders with whom they most identified.
Adapted our typical Majors Night by working with First Year Advising to convert the event to a virtual format due to COVID-19. On an online platform, we were able to expand the event by featuring more academic programs than would typically fit in an in-person setting. Despite the pandemic, we were still able to create an opportunity for students to discern their academic paths.
(ONGOING) COLLABORATION WITH LGBTQ+ DOMERS
Working with new student group LGBTQ+ Domers to promote their book project to catalogue the history and narratives of Notre Dame’s LGBTQ+ community.
UNITED WAY PARTNERSHIP
Established a framework for future student body involvement with United Way, a national non-profit. This non- profit is multifaceted, with many initiatives and opportunities that students will be able to participate in once the challenges of the pandemic are over.
NEW TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Coordinated and expanded a new University-sponsored nonstop bus system to and from the Chicago airports (MDW and ORD) to replace the old CoachUSA system.
9/11 MEMORIAL PRAYER SERVICE
Hosted the annual 9/11 Memorial Prayer Service in-person at the Grotto and due to COVID-19, live-streamed the event to accommodate more than 900 viewers.