In an administrative position that requires communicating with trustees, University officers, faculty, alumni and students, Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Mark Poorman said the core of his job is looking out for the individual student’s experience.“Sometimes you never know when you get up in the morning how your day is going to unfold because with 11,400 students, there are a lot of stories, a lot of concerns and a lot of crises,” he said.Poorman, who has headed the Office of Student Affairs for 11 years, announced in the fall that he will step down as vice president — a job which he said is one of the “most gratifying things” he has done as a Holy Cross priest.Fr. Thomas Doyle, executive vice president at the University of Portland, will replace Poorman June 30.“It’s time. There are some other things I want to do. I always loved teaching, and I want to return to theology and teaching,” Poorman said as the end of the year and the end of his tenure approaches. “I think it’s time for other people to assume leadership and bring ideas to student life.”Looking back on the past 11 years, Poorman said a constant challenge as an administrator at Notre Dame was balancing academics and Catholicism at the University.“We have said from the beginning that we want to have both true academic excellence and deepen Catholic character,” he said. “We live in a culture that sometimes wonders whether we can do both.”But Poorman cited a strong campus ministry program and students active in religious life as evidence that it is possible to merge academics and religion.“I think the Catholic character pervades everything we do,” he said.Leading an office with a central focus on student life, Poorman said his tenure as vice president has had several focuses, namely integrating academics into campus life, overseeing construction of two new residence halls, as well as several other building projects and diversity initiatives.Poorman led Student Affairs through the construction of Duncan and Ryan Halls, the renovation of the counseling and health care offerings in Saint Liam’s Hall and the use of Coleman-Morse Center to house Campus Ministry.Ryan and Duncan Halls, as well as putting into place plans for the construction of two new dorms, were important initiatives for maintaining the quality of life in the dorms and solving the problem of overcrowding in the residence halls, Poorman said.“There have been lots of initiatives to improve residential life over past 10 years,” he said.“We want to un-crowd current residence halls to meet a national standard for personal space, study space and social space.”Poorman said the renovation of Saint Liam’s Hall was part of a push to address student health concerns like alcohol abuse and mental health issues.“I think we have a lot more students with serious issues like depression and anxiety. We’ve done some soul searching about the appropriate level of service for students with stronger needs,” he said. “That’s been with us, and we are constantly are strategizing about how to address it.”During Poorman’s time in Student Affairs, the Office also created the Gender Relations Center and restructured the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian students.“In the course of past decade, we have worked really hard to create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, including gay and lesbian students,” he said. “I think we have some terrific support for gay and lesbian students, like Coffee in CoMo and StaND Against Hate Week. I’m very proud of what been able to do in last decade.”But he said the accomplishments of the Office in the past 11 years are a credit to a large staff.“My colleagues in Student Affairs are shining examples of the superb educational and pastoral leadership that characterizes Notre Dame’s student life, and I owe them and others an enormous debt of gratitude for all that we have achieved together,” he said.Recently, Poorman helped student government established a new Transpo route that runs Friday and Saturday nights, taking students off campus for the evening. Student government did the legwork to create the route and partially funded it, along with Student Affairs.“I think at the beginning, we wondered whether the ridership would be strong, but after first couple weekends realized students would actually use service,” Poorman said of helping push through the Transpo initiative. “Our primary concern was the safety and welfare of students, and I think the service has been a great step forward.”Former student body president Grant Schmidt, who worked with Poorman on the Transpo initiative, said the priest makes students his first priority.“What’s so incredible is that despite his challenging responsibilities, he fulfills them with such a great approach — an approach that constantly keeps students as the focus,” Schmidt said. “And because of that, students flock to him.”Poorman said forming relationships with students is central to his vocation as a Holy Cross priest.“I live with students, I teach students, I pray with students, I oversee the quality of their lives as an administrator,” he said. “I’m very blessed in that all that contact gives me great access to students and vice versa.”In the fall, Poorman will take an academic leave to serve as a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University in California before returning to Notre Dame to rejoin the theology faculty full time. He said he will possibly teach a class in the spring.“I feel so blessed and grateful,” he said of the past 11 years. “My basic sense is just tremendous gratitude.”
The 2011-12 Notre Dame Forum will bring New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to campus today to discuss education reform at the symposium, “Educational Innovation and the Law.” Nicole Stelle Garnett, Forum committee co-chair and law professor at Notre Dame, said she believes Christie will provide an important perspective to Notre Dame’s yearlong conversation on K-12 education. “Gov. Christie has proposed a bold agenda for education reform that seeks to change the status quo and ensure that all children in his state receive the high quality education they deserve,” she said. “Not everyone agrees with his agenda, but he is worthy of respect for sparking debate in New Jersey and across the country about the important issue of education reform and innovation.” Christie will deliver his address, “Does the Law Impede Educational Innovation?” at 2:30 p.m. The symposium will also include two panels that feature an “all-star lineup” of experts on the law of education, Garnett said. The first panel, which begins at 8:30 a.m., will discuss some of the most pressing education policies currently facing the nation, including school choice, No Child Left Behind and President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education agenda. The second panel, which begins at noon, will confront the legal issues that face schools every day, Garnett said. Garnett said the symposium will help bring to light how the law affects education reform in the United States. “A system that is not working as well as it should be calls out for reforms featuring innovative new strategies, and the law provides the framework that structures those reforms,” she said. “This is an opportune time to discuss the role of the law in promoting the kinds of innovations that are needed to ensure all kids receive the education they deserve at the schools that will serve their needs best.” Garnett said the symposium will mark an important part of this year’s Forum. “We are facing an educational crisis in the United States, but we also are living through a great period of promising educational innovations, many of which are prompted and shaped by the law,” she said. “The entire day promises to feature stimulating discussion about what we can do to improve the K-12 education system in the United States for all students, especially the least advantaged ones.”
Last night’s midnight deadline for any potential write-in candidates for the student body presidential election came and went with no approved candidates stepping forward. As a result, juniors Brett Rocheleau and Katie Rose will run unopposed — something unprecedented in student government records. Students will be presented with the option of voting for Rocheleau and Rose or abstaining when ballots open at 8 a.m. Wednesday. An abstention signifies a presence, not a vote, according to the Judicial Council. Rocheleau said though other members of student government may have had interest in running, they all agreed on the goal to continue the course of this year’s administration. Rocheleau currently serves as student body vice president with student body president Pat McCormick, who declined to comment for this story. “Coming into this election, there were a lot of different candidates inside student government that were very interested in running, but this time, there weren’t different visions,” Rocheleau said. “So instead of having four tickets basically saying the same thing, we decided to stay unified as student government and push together.” Other potential candidates were ultimately more interested in addressing specific concerns, Rocheleau said. “With us running, they saw that they could really focus on the issues they truly have at heart,” he said. Senior Ben Noe, director of internal affairs for student government, agreed to speak for this story based on his perspective as a Notre Dame student, rather than as someone within student government. He said he sees a variety of potential explanations as to the lack of competition this year. “Speaking as a student, not as a person in student government, there are several reasons why there could be only ticket right now,” Noe said. “It just may be a non-competitive year, people may be really accepting of continuing the vision Pat laid out … and this transferred into Brett and Katie’s campaign.” Rocheleau said he believes Notre Dame students support the work the administration has done this year. “They saw what we did in the past year, and they wanted to see more of the same vision,” he said. “They decided they wanted to keep student government and the vision where it was, and didn’t want to bring in a different perspective or change.” Though the Rocheleau-Rose ticket was the only official petition to be approved, Rocheleau said they did not know this when they formed a ticket. “We went about this thinking it was going to be like last year,” he said. “We knew this whole process of being competitive is what makes student government thrive.” Rocheleau said he faced competition in last year’s student body presidential elections, which featured five tickets. He said he and Rose wanted to bring a similar spirit to this year’s elections. “I would hate for that to be lost in this year’s campaign, and that is why we’re going about it as if it was extremely competitive,” he said. “We want to hear the voices of the student body.” Though he may be the only candidate running for student body president, Rocheleau said he is open to the opinion of the student body. “It’s not just two people running unopposed. It’s a vast majority of student government, of different sectors,” he said. “We have people not a part of student government on our team; we have a lot of people who are a part of student government on our team … We’re bringing different perspectives as well.” Looking forward to the next year, Rocheleau said he believes little change needs to be made to how student government is currently run. “Obviously, every year when you look at it, there are different things you see, but there is nothing drastic that needs to be changed,” he said. Rocheleau said he does not believe the student body is apathetic to what student government does, nor do they perceive it as meaningless. “I think they perceive [student government] to be strong,” he said. “I think they see what we have been working on in the past year and they want more of the same. I think they are happy with what we are doing.” Noe said as a student, he believes the showing in this year’s election displays Notre Dame students understand what has been achieved this year in student government. “I think it speaks to the fact that students are generally in support of and in favor of what we have done this year,” he said. Sophomore Cait Ogren, vice president of elections with the Judicial Council, said this year’s situation is unusual, but the Judicial Council advertised the election to the student body in the same way as in previous years. “In past years, we did the same where there was an information session for all people interested before Christmas break and after Christmas break,” she said. “I hold office hours every week where people can ask questions, the petitions were available … It was the same protocol, just a unique year.” Ogren said the fact that both candidates come from inside student government is not unusual. “Usually most candidates are involved in student government in some aspect, so I wouldn’t say there is anything particularly unique,” she said. Though only one ticket was ultimately approved, Ogren said there seemed to be interest from the student body in the election. However, the Judicial Council is not able to identify potential candidates until their petitions for approval are turned in. “There were various individuals who attended each individual information session,” she said. “At the information sessions, we don’t have any indication of whether those people are running themselves, whether they are getting information for future years, or information for other people, so we can never really know who is intending to run until petitions come in.” Though the same protocol is used every election for notifying the student body, Ogren said every year yields different results. “It completely depends on the year, the students, the interest, it’s just beyond our control,” she said. “We never know what we’re going to get until petitions come rolling in.” Ultimately, Noe said he believes the circumstances of this year’s election are unique. “I’m not sure this is going to become a trend in future years,” he said. The faculty adviser for Judicial Council declined to comment, and the director of student activities for programming could not be reached by press time.
Tags: observer passport, study abroad Photo courtesy of Kiera Johnsen Kiera Johnsen, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, said she first fell in love with Ireland when she saw the sunset on Hill of Tara. Tara is said to be the seat of the High Kings of Ireland.I was nervous about studying abroad in Ireland and leaving my friends and family for the semester. I wondered if I made the right decision, leaving behind everything I knew for four months. However, these fears subsided soon after arriving because I was not alone when I traveled to the Emerald Isle. The other Saint Mary’s girls studying in Maynooth are wonderful. We are fortunate to have each other to lean on when we are scared, homesick or stressed. The sisterhood of Saint Mary’s does not exist only in South Bend, Ind. And here, as a sisterhood, we are able to explore the beauty of Irish culture, people and lands.Coming to Ireland, I did not know what to expect. Like many people who have never visited the country, I envisioned Ireland as a green land, full of sheep, pubs, friendly people, a lot of rain and wonderful accents. While some of this is true, I have learned that Ireland is so much more than that. There is something magical about this place, something wonderful and glorious that captures one’s heart. When you look out onto an Irish countryside, it takes your breath away.While on top of the Hill of Tara, said to be the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, looking down on a vast green countryside and watching a beautiful Irish sunset, I fell in love. At that moment, I realized both the beauty and culture of the Emerald Isle have now forever bewitched my soul. Just in the past two weeks of being in Ireland, I have kissed the Blarney Stone, wished upon the Lia Fáil (the stone of destiny) at Tara, learned to Irish dance, gone to pubs and visited ancient ruins that are still standing to this day. In a short span of two weeks, I created experiences I never thought I would be able to. The best part is, I am at the very beginning of my time abroad.This past weekend, the Saint Mary’s students studying in Maynooth took a trip to Dunmore Cave, the Hill of Tara, Newgrange and other amazing places in Ireland. Dunmore Caves and Newgrange are listed as two out of the “three darkest places in Ireland” in “The Triads of Ireland,” a collection of Old Irish triads on a variety of topics. Our tour guide said Newgrange Monument was built 5,000 years ago by Neolithic Irish people and took approximately 40 years to complete. It is a massive, remarkably water-tight stone structure, which may have been used as a tomb for the dead, as well as an ancient temple. It is placed perfectly to calculate the winter solstice based on the movement of the sun. Once the lights are turned off, it is pitch black inside, expect for a single ray of sunlight that shines through.Dunmore Cave in the county of Kilkenny has a dark history. Thousands of years ago, the cave became the site of a Viking Massacre that killed 1,000 people, many of whom were women and children. Our guide said it is thought that the ancient people never entered the cave except to hide from danger. On the day of massacre, the men stood outside the cave, while the women, children and elderly hid in the most difficult places to reach inside. Once the men were killed, the Vikings entered the cave to find the rest of the village. Unable to reach most of the hiding places, they attempted to smoke out the villagers. By setting it on fire, the carbon dioxide eliminated the oxygen and many of the villagers were suffocated to death. Later, people who knew the legend of the massacre never entered the cave due to fear of death. On a lighter note, we were told the bottom of Dunmore Cave is called the fairy floor. According to legend, the fairies and leprechauns kept the floor clear of rocks so these mythical creatures were able to dance. Unfortunately, we were unable to see it due to the rain flooding the bottom.
CHRIS COLLINS | The Observer For those born during the 1990s, the word “monster” might not have conjured images of a malevolent creature lurking in the closet or under the bed. Rather, it might have described a much more pleasant part of childhood: Pokemon. This summer, Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game, allowed those who loved Pokemon as kids to reconnect with their childhood and introduced a new generation to the game.Notre Dame students staying on campus over the summer were no exception. Seniors Debbie Greif and Julia Tombari first saw the trailer for Pokemon Go when it debuted in September 2015. Tombari said the game was supposed to be released in February but was pushed back. “That was disappointing,” Greif said. “And then we thought it was going to be May.” It wasn’t. It was mid-June before the game was demoed at the E3 trade conference, with a tentative mid-July release date. Pokemon Go instead came out in early July.“I heard about it within 20 minutes,” Greif said. Players earn points and level up in Pokemon Go by collecting Pokemon and supplies. Once the player reaches Level 5, they can join one of three teams: Team Mystic, Team Instinct or Team Valor. The teams battle to dominate gyms, which are landmarks where players can go to battle others with their Pokemon. There are several Pokemon gyms on campus, including Main Circle, “Touchdown Jesus” and Alumni Stadium.Tombari and Greif plan on starting a club this year to allow students to connect with other players, both from their own teams and rival ones.“Debbie and I, over stir-fry bar, discussed the possibility — jokingly — of making a club out of this game when it came out eventually,” Tombari said. “Six months later when it actually came out, we decided to talk about the idea again, and since then, we established a Facebook page that has roughly 280 members.”Tombari and Greif said they are seeking official club status with the University. “We’d have a lot of events, like the group just going out to catch Pokemon, going to parks and stuff where there are rare Pokemon available,” Greif said. “We want to have team activities.” Senior Brittany Dymm, another of the 100 million players who downloaded the app, said she appreciates the competitiveness that comes with the game. “I like doing it because I like going for walks, and it’s a funny way to be goal-oriented when you walk,” she said. “I’m also really into Fitbit challenges, so I pair myself up with that and go for a walk, try to hatch an egg. Other than that, there’s a competitive aspect to it with the gyms. You can see who’s on top of the gyms. You can see who is kind of winning at that moment.”Tombari said the games help players connect with others.“I think it definitely helps create relationships, especially for people who may not be as extroverted,” Tombari said. “The game is a way for people to come together over something they all nerded out about a while ago.”Tags: clubs, pokemon go, Touchdown Jesus
The course registration process was more stressful than usual for many Notre Dame juniors Wednesday morning when the NOVO registration system unexpectedly malfunctioned.Chris Corrente, the manager of student solutions in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), said the amount of traffic during registration overloaded the system.“The University’s class registration system runs on two servers in order to help distribute load during heavy usage,” he said in an email. “This morning, it appears the load was not properly distributed, resulting in one of the servers becoming overloaded with traffic.”The lack of access to NOVO resulted in students registering well after their assigned registration time slots. Junior Madeline Petrovich, who had a 7 a.m. time slot, said she “wasn’t really stressed” about registering for classes until she realized none of her friends could access the system before her time slot. When the problem persisted for her, Petrovich said, “a whole panic mode” set in.“Registering is stressful enough, and this kind of added another layer on top of it,” she said. “The one saving grace was when [my friend] came in and realized that none of the classes were filling up at like 7:20 a.m. … It was kind of a moment of realization that no one was able to register.”Rochelle Jones, associate registrar of academic services, said the Office of the Registrar was unaware of the extent of the issue until well into Wednesday afternoon.“We had 12 phone calls, so as far as we know, 12 students were affected,” she said. “But we don’t know because we only know who called us or who called — I know two students called the OIT Help Desk, and we received 12 calls.”Corrente said the OIT, which remains in “close communication with the Registrar’s Office during critical system usage times such as class registration,” started working to resolve any problems with the system as soon as the Registrar’s Office notified the OIT about calls from students. Most of students’ calls, however, were not about the system overload, Jones said.“This is what we have heard: slowness — no malfunction,” she said. “No one [had] mentioned a malfunction, all we’ve heard is slowness in the system. That’s the only reports that kept coming to our office.”However, Petrovich said NOVO wouldn’t let her friends enter their registration pin numbers and kicked her out of the system when she tried to submit course registration numbers — which she said was the farthest point to which anyone in her group made it.“I got all the way to the screen where I would hit submit — it had the whole calendar schedule up — and it just wouldn’t go through,” she said. “And then it would say, ‘Invalid class, reload your screen.’ So when you would reload the screen, it would take you back, all the way to the beginning to your pin to start over.”Eventually, Petrovich said, students began turning to the old DART registration system to register.“This is 7:25 [a.m.], so this is 25 minutes past my registration time — and [I was in] full panic mode, full stress — until I was informed to use the actual DART system,” she said. “ … It definitely made it a lot more stressful than it needed to be.”Jones said she encouraged those who encountered a problem during registration to email the Office of the Registrar and explain their experiences. Calling the Office in the midst of registration likely didn’t occur to most juniors since they are used to NOVO malfunctioning in some way, Petrovich said.“There’s always been problems with NOVO,” she said. “I don’t think anyone has ever had a successful NOVO experience. That’s the only platform that we’ve used now, as juniors, so since freshman year, I’ve never had it go perfectly each time. … So we’ve always had these issues, but we didn’t realize how wide-scale the issue was.”The OIT is working to ensure sophomores and freshmen who register within the next week do not have any trouble with NOVO, Corrente said.“The OIT will be taking measures Wednesday and Thursday evening to enhance our infrastructure and better prevent performance issues for subsequent class registrations,” he said. “As usual, the OIT will be monitoring system performance during sophomore and freshman registration on Friday and Monday.”In the event of anyone encountering difficulties with the registration system, Jones said, students should contact the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.“Any of the students who called us, we responded to immediately,” she said. “We can’t respond to you if you don’t call us.”Tags: class registration, DART, NOVO, NOVO registration, Office of Information Technologies, Office of the Registrar, OIT
University President Fr. John Jenkins released a statement Thursday announcing the revocation of Bill Cosby’s honorary degree from Notre Dame following his conviction of three counts of sexual assault.“As a result of his conviction today on three felony charges in a sexual assault, the University of Notre Dame has rescinded the honorary degree awarded to Bill Cosby in 1990,” Jenkins said in the statement. “While certainly troubled by serious, public accusations made by multiple women against him, the University elected to wait until due process had been afforded the accused, and a verdict delivered, before rescinding the honor.”Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women. He was found guilty Thursday of penetration with lack of consent, penetration while unconscious and penetration after administering an intoxicant in a case brought forward by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand. Constand — in a story similar to those of many of Cosby’s other accusers — said Cosby drugged her in order to sexually assault her in 2004.Jenkins’s decision to rescind Cosby’s honorary degree comes just over two years after the student senate passed a resolution calling on the University administration to do so. The resolution, passed in March 2016, cited Cosby’s admission “under oath to using illegal sedatives to coerce women into sexual intercourse.”“Mr. Cosby’s association with these behaviors is in direct conflict with the University’s stance, as stated in du Lac, that ‘sexual assault is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the Notre Dame community expects,’” the resolution stated.Tags: Bill Cosby, Honorary degree, sexual assault, University President Fr. John Jenkins
Magician Michael Carbonaro, host of TV show “The Carbonaro Effect,” will perform April 9 at the Morris Performing Arts Center as part of IDEA Week, the University announced in a press release Monday.“IDEA Week is an innovation festival,” event director Nick Swisher said. “While world-renowned speakers like Bill Nye and Kevin Kelly will represent the learning side of IDEA Week, acts like Carbonaro and Tim McGraw will represent the fun and celebration side.”Carbonaro’s act is the second official performance joining the IDEA Week lineup, which will take place April 8 through 13. Country singer Tim McGraw will perform at Purcell Pavilion on April 13, and comedian Jim Gaffigan will perform at a pre-IDEA Week event at the Morris Performing Arts Center on April 6. Tickets to see Carbonaro’s show go on sale Feb. 8 at noon, and may be purchased at the Morris Box Office — by phone at 800-537-6415 or online at www.morriscenter.org.Tags: IDEA week 2019, michael carbonaro, Morris Performing Arts Center
It’s thyme for Saint Mary’s to go green. The Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) and the Saint Mary’s Composting Crew are joining forces to bring the College into 2019 with a smaller carbon footprint by hosting Get the Dirt on Dirt events.There is more to composting than throwing some apple cores and banana peels onto a pile of dirt, and these events are intended to teach those who attend how to properly compost. Though these events are intended to be one-time occurrences, director of the OCSE Rebekah DeLine said she hopes the community will continue supporting the pre-existing composting initiatives.“The Composting Education events ‘Get the Dirt on Dirt’ are brand new — and just really one time events we thought would be nice for the campus community since composting can seem pretty intimidating if you haven’t done it before,” she said in an email. “However, the day-to-day composting of food and waste of campus has been happening on Saint Mary’s College’s campus since at least the 2016-2017 school year and possibly before. As part of this daily composting, student leaders and student volunteers take compostable food waste from the dining hall to a large compost pile just north and west of the soccer fields. This compost pile is producing rich soil that we hope will be used at the site of the sustainable farm. Previously many of these composting efforts had been started by clubs but were difficult to maintain day-in and day out. So, in the 2017-2018 school year, the composting program officially came under auspices of the Office for Civic and Social Engagement because we had the structure to support the program.”Attending the event automatically puts students’ names in a raffle to win one of two countertop composting pails. In addition to the changes the College has made with the ban on plastic straws, they’re also reviving the Composting Crew to get the second semester started.“Saint Mary’s has had several sustainability efforts that predate my time at the College,” DeLine said. Emma Ault | The Observer Saint Mary’s College is working towards decreasing its carbon footprint by encouraging composting throughout the campus, including the first floor bathroom in the Student Center.The OCSE is bringing in Jane Sablich, the Environment Education Coordinator for the St. Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District to talk about composting on Feb. 5 in the Saint Mary’s Student Center at 12:30 p.m. There is an additional seminar being held on Feb. 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center. This session is open to all interested. The College placed composting bins in the Noble Family Dining Hall near the tray receptacle, but have received little attention. DeLine said having these extra seminars and opportunities to visit services provided in our community will be beneficial to the community. This seminar is set to enlighten Belles on how to impact the future of the environment, and DeLine said she is working on creating events to emphasize the importance of caring for the environment.“We are hoping to schedule a visit to the St. Joseph County Landfill … this spring,” she said.DeLine said there are ways other than composting to lessen one’s affects on the environment.“I recommend that individuals start by calculating their own carbon footprint first — and be honest about how they live day in and day out and their personal impact on the environment,” DeLine said. “Then look for some small ways to adjust daily routines — things like carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go so that you don’t use bottled water — so that incrementally, overtime they are doing things that reduce their negative impact on the world.”Tags: composting, composting crew, Office of Civic and Social Engagement, Rebekah DeLine
Saint Mary’s will resume classes for the 2021 spring semester Feb. 1, two days earlier than previously scheduled, President Katie Conboy announced in an email Monday.In addition, the College will integrate two reading days into the semester for students to use to rejuvenate or catch up on school work.“We’re doing this because I have also heard from students and faculty just how challenging it has been to push through this semester without a break,“ Conboy said in the email. “By bringing students back early, we can insert two days into the calendar — February 22 and March 23 — so you can catch up on reading and sleep, and decompress.“All other dates for the spring semester will remain the same.Tags: academic calendar, reading days, Spring 2021