Monday, February 14, 2011

Lefty's Last Cry Endorses Patrick McCormick and Brett Rocheleau for Student Body President and Vice President

Editors and active writers from Lefty’s have surveyed this year’s contenders for Student Body President and VP and are proud to enthusiastically endorse Pat McCormick and Brett Rocheleau in today's Student Government elections.

McCormick and Rocheleau have put forth an authentically progressive vision for the future of student government at Notre Dame. The Scholastic writes:
"The Scholastic staff is endorsing the McCormick-Rocheleau ticket...Their platform offers a vision for a student government that can do more than address the everyday problems and gripes of students. While hot dog prices and Fro-Yo flavors are important, McCormick and Rocheleau realize that given the power of student government, they have a responsibility to affect change both on and off campus in the spirit of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.C.C.'s vision for the university...the hopeful spirit of McCormick and infectious."
Members of the Observer Editorial Board expressed their support as well:
"The ticket of Pat McCormick, chair of the Social Concerns Committee in Student Senate, and Brett Rocheleau, sophomore class president, presents a compelling platform of uniting student government with larger social justice causes."
To find out for yourself why McCormick is the right choice for ND visit his website, Here are a couple of McCormick’s priorities that Lefty’s finds particularly impressive:

(1) Set a university goal of reducing our carbon footprint from 2005 levels by 70% by 2050.

We hope to partner with the Office of Sustainability, the Office of the University Architect, Procurement, the Utilities Department, Transportation, Landscape Services, the Office of Information Technology, and other campus units, as well as student groups including GreeND, SEA, and other leaders on campus to pursue a comprehensive strategy to realize Notre Dame’s hope to secure ecological justice for all. This is an especially urgent priority given Notre Dame’s national leadership at the Renewing the Campus Conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame and keynoted by representatives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We continue now to identify areas in which the University might lead by example in its aspiration to affirm Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration that, “Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions…In facing climate change, what we already know requires a response.”

There are several major areas where the University can work to achieve the reductions necessary to accomplish this goal. They include increasing University investments in energy conservation initiatives and the Green Loan fund, utilizing less carbon-intensive fuels, conversion to LED light standard, consolidating campus data centers, achieving the installation of real-time metering, mandating purchases of Energy Star appliances, and expanding education and outreach efforts on campus. Students at Notre Dame have long advocated for this commitment, and its time has come.

(2) Expand inclusion in the Notre Dame family.

In his address to students at the opening Mass of the 2010-2011 academic year, Provost Burish spoke of the uniqueness of the Notre Dame family. He is right, and we must do everything we can to continue to expand the circle of our Notre Dame family to extend ever further in order to answer the cry from Scripture: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4: 9). There are many groups on campus leading a campus-wide response to this call, and several opportunities worthy of Notre Dame’s consideration include providing greater resources for GLBTQ students by granting club status to a gay-straight student support group on campus, expanding opportunities for workers to share their concerns regarding conditions, living wages, and placing the dignity of work at the center of university employment policy, working to improve access to quality education in the community, affirming the centrality of Catholic social teaching to the mission of the University, and partnering with external organizations to preserve and protect human dignity both at home and abroad, especially given the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Relief Services.

(3) Make Notre Dame the premier forum for nationally-recognized events uniting athletes, entertainers, and policy-makers on behalf of social justice.

The guiding vision for our campaign is the role that students can play in leading Notre Dame to become an ever more powerful “lighthouse and crossroads” for the world. Fr. Hesburgh first offered this image as a vision for the university, and we have chosen it as the symbol of the hope a new generation of students has to write a new chapter in our school’s history.

The University of Notre Dame -- our campus, the Joyce Center, Notre Dame Stadium – should be the premiere venues for nationally-recognized events that unite our country’s leaders – in athletics, the arts, and government – behind important social justice goals. Recently, Hope for Haiti Now united actors like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, entertainers like Shakira, Alicia Keys, and Taylor Swift, and the people of America in a concert aimed at bringing aid to earthquake victims. In past years, LiveAid, FarmAid, and We Are The World brought Hollywood, professional sports, and our nation’s political leaders together behind great social justice needs. Each of these events had to find a forum: why not Notre Dame?

We are off to a good start. Playing for Peace is a model of the type of change we want to bring to student government. Already Playing for Peace has attracted national attention – attention that has gone all the way to the White House, and includes Kalpen Modi – who formerly played Dr. Kutner on House and Kumar in Harold and Kumar, and now advises President Obama on matters involving social justice and public engagement.

We believe expanding the Playing for Peace idea into an ongoing program – a series of events – would distinguish Notre Dame as unique among national universities in the United States. This vision for Notre Dame can be realized, in part, by harnessing the power of the university—and particularly the ND athletic brand—for social justice. (And did we mention maybe give students the chance to have a few pretty cool experiences in the process: like get a personal message from Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls, advocate for peace by playing basketball, and bring actors, athletes, musicians, and policymakers to campus who want to work with us in the future?)

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