Student Body President Rachel Ingal delivers State of the Student Union

Author: Aaron Benavides

Sg Formal Navy

At the meeting of the Student Senate on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Student Body President Rachel Ingal delivered the State of the Student Union.

Welcome Senate and congratulations on making it to the home stretch of this semester! We are so excited to have you here, and I have heard amazing things about each and every one of you from Sarah. I cannot wait to work with you in the coming year and learn about what drives you to be a force for good on our campus. As much as I wish we could be convening in the place we all call home, I am confident in your abilities to be resilient and serve your student body from a distance. Know that we are all in this together. 


We have begun this term in what is truly an unprecedented time in all of our lives, and we are grateful for your adaptability and good spirits through it all. If anything, this time has only reinforced what I already knew: that Notre Dame is filled with good people. People who carry a heart for service in everything they do and work to fulfill a higher purpose. I am constantly floored by the empathy that each student and administrator extends in their dialogues with us, and I know I speak for Sarah, Aaron, and I when I say that your abundant compassion is what energizes us every day. It is evident that the Notre Dame family transcends any geographic bounds. Let us not mark this as a time we were driven apart, but rather a time when we came together. 


This transition has occurred under unique circumstances, and we have had to pivot to exclusively virtual programming. Due to this development, we are disappointed that some hallmark student government events will not be able to take place in their original form as we wrap up the semester. In particular, we were looking forward to Back the Bend, a day to work with our neighbors and give back to our community in partnership with local organizations, as well as Take Back the Night, an event we cosponsor with other campus organizations to uplift survivors of sexual assault. However, we commit to building on the energy that went into their planning and to working with their organizers to bring alternative programming to fruition in the fall. 


As you know, we were fortunate to have our entire executive cabinet confirmed, and we are thrilled to tackle new initiatives with this team of creative and devoted students. With the help of their innovation and imagination, we believe we will be able to hit the ground running come fall with renewed vision. We were excited to launch our #StayHomeND initiative this weekend, starting with our student-taught yoga and dance cardio classes over zoom. Our Director of Athletics, Jack Stump, has been working diligently to provide students with ways to stay active while staying at home. In the coming weeks, we are hoping to expand on this with other efforts such as cooking classes hosted by our Co-director of Student Life, Izzy Edgar, or resource awareness campaigns surrounding sustainability or mental health efforts, with the help of our Directors of Sustainability and Health and Wellbeing, Dana Plagenz and Grace Dean. Additionally, Sarah and I hope to be a resource to all students at this time, and we have set up virtual office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that we may be a sounding board for any questions, comments, or concerns. Please feel free to drop by and have a conversation with us! 


As we move forward in navigating an uncertain terrain together, I would encourage you all to continually check in on your friends and constituents, knowing that this situation presents individual obstacles for each person. This is a time when we must rise to the occasion and act as the student change agents that we are called to be. I am proud to be serving by your side for this term, and I cannot wait to walk hand in hand with you as we strive to make Notre Dame the best it can be. Keep fighting the good fight, I hope to see you all soon.

The Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body of the University of Notre Dame du Lac mandates that the Student Body President deliver the State of the Student Union Address once before the end of the spring semester, in the month of November, and in the spring semester before the end of their term.