Academic year to open with Mass, sustainable kickoff

by Julie Hail Flory and Erin Flynn


The start of the 2008-09 University of Notre Dame academic year will be celebrated with the annual opening Mass at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26 (Tuesday) in the Joyce Center arena. A procession of faculty and student representatives will precede the Mass beginning at 5:20 p.m.

The traditional University picnic will follow Mass on the Library Quad, where attendees will enjoy a few sustainable twists at this years event, which will feature locally grown vegetable crudités on the menu and 100 percent recycled paper plates. There also will be recycling stations located throughout the area.

All students and faculty and staff and their families are welcome to both events.Family-friendly fun will include salsa, meringue, cumbia and guajira music by the band Orquesta Caribe, which includes several Notre Dame faculty members. Balloon artists will be on hand to shape animals using biodegradable latex balloons.

The opening picnic is a great way to showcase Notre Dame Food Servicesefforts to promote recycling and to buy local produce from vendors,said Lisa Wenzel, assistant director of special events for Catering by Design, who helped develop the plan for this years picnic.

Signs will help picnickers identify the sustainability features, from the menu items that were grown locally to the bins that accept recyclable refuse.

A major event at the beginning of the academic year is the perfect time to educate the Notre Dame community on the University’s recycling and procurement initiatives, as well as about how to make individual decisions that are earth-friendly,said Rachel Novick, who joined the Office of Sustainability this summer as education and outreach coordinator.

The Opening Mass will include songs and readings chosen by Campus Ministry that echo the theme. The refrain from Psalm 104,Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth,inspired the ethereal design for promotional posters and fliers, which are printed on sustainably produced paper by a printer in Niles, Mich.

The Mass and picnic are only the first of several University events focusing on sustainability, including the annual Notre Dame Forum planned for Sept. 24 (Wednesday).

This year, the Forum on Sustainable Energy and the new Office of Sustainability are bringing the theme of ecological stewardship to the forefront of campus life,said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University.Reflecting on this theme in the opening Mass and picnic enables us to consider stewardship, as an institution and as individuals, in the context of Notre Dame’s mission, right at the beginning of the academic year.

Also during September, Notre Dames second annual Energy Week begins Sept. 17 (Wednesday) and a Forum Film Festival begins Sept. 19 (Friday).

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