Students: trip to BOT meeting a success
By ANNE MARIE MATTINGLY
The Notre Dame Board of Trustees responded favorably to suggestions regarding ways to enhance students' experience of faith presented at Thursday's winter meeting, according to John Osborn and Mike Heinz, co-chairs of the Board of Trustees Reports Committee.
Osborn and Heinz, who traveled to the Board's meeting in Washington with student body president Brian O'Donoghue, suggested the University offer an alternative introductory theology course, strengthen ties between Campus Ministry and the Center for Social Concerns and offer more programs for experiential faith encounters.
"I think [the meeting] went really well," said Heinz. "I got the sense that they really took our recommendations to heart."
The proposals were the product of research done by student government in response to a request by the Board that the committee address the ways in which students understand and articulate their faith. The Board also heard presentations from representatives from the theology department and Campus Ministry.
"They were able to get a complete perspective on a single issue they'd been talking about all afternoon," said Heinz, who noted that by addressing a topic the trustees had already chosen to discuss, the committee was able to add a student voice.
The Board asked several questions about the proposed alternative to Theology 100 and the options for hands-on faith experiences, according to Heinz. In addition, members expressed support for increased funding for programs such as the Appalachia Seminars and the Notre Dame Encounter to allow increased student participation in these events.
Osborn said that though no immediate changes to the theology or campus ministry programs are expected, students can expect the Board to take action in response to the recommendations.
"I think that the trustees work on a time scale longer than a year or a semester, but we're looking to work together with some of the groups that we talked about and with the administration, so hopefully we'll get some motion on some of our recommendations pretty soon after this meeting," he said.
Both Osborn and Heinz were optimistic that student participation will be encouraged in future winter board meetings, in which students had not been previously represented because winter meetings are not held on campus. Heinz anticipated that the committee will continue to address topics of the Board's choosing at winter meetings while refraining the right to speak on a topic of its choice at the October and May meetings held in South Bend. The Board is expected to provide the committee with a letter detailing its feedback to the presentation in a few weeks.
All News Stories for Monday, February 5, 2001