Although the Irish did not deliver the blowout debut many fans were hoping for, Notre Dame’s first game under the coaching of Brian Kelly left many students pleased with the improvement and optimistic about the upcoming season. They were cheering for a reenergized team, a possible return to glory and, more than all else, hope for the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame. Regardless of students trying to not get their hopes up about the rest of the season, many say it is apparent Kelly and the revitalized team have awoken something within the student body. Statistically, the Fighting Irish did well. Junior quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 205 yards and one touchdown, while senior running back Armando Allen ran for 93 yards and a touchdown under Kelly’s newly installed spread offense. The new offensive style had many students worried that the team would not be able to adapt to a no-huddle approach, but after Saturday’s game, many of those doubts have been eliminated. “I was very impressed with Brian Kelly’s coaching,” junior Mike Cole said. “He definitely focused on the fundamentals that were lacking beforehand and it was obvious the team had improved.” Sophomore Natalie Baumann said she was “concerned” about the spread offense going into the season, but now she thinks it is working out well for the team if they continue to play to their potential. “Brian Kelly has brought a new spirit to this team and to this campus,” sophomore Christina Mezes said. “The energy from the team has fed into the student body and everyone is excited.” On the whole, Irish fans were pleased with the results of Saturday’s game and expressed hope that the victory is a signal of something momentous about the rest of the season. “The no-huddle really keeps all the players on their toes and keeps the momentum going,” she said. “I think it also allowed a lot of the new players to step up and be instrumental to the plays on the field.” Baumann said she is going to continue to be optimistic, but also realistic about what we can and cannot do. “We have a big game with Michigan this week and I think that’s going to be more of a test,” she said. “It was a good start to a hopefully good season,” Heinrich said. “Obviously the players are happy and want to work harder and play harder, but I think everyone needs to take it one game at a time.” The Irish defense, an area that has famously plagued the team for years, appeared solid. The Irish had four sacks and two interceptions against Purdue’s quarterback Robert Marve. Students said they were thrilled with the strength presented by the defensive linemen. “Kelly knows we’re going to have a good offense because of the spread and the talent we have on that line,” junior Jack Heinrich said. “It’s clear he’s been working with the defense because we’ve always had good defensive players, but he’s working with them and improving the talent we have on that line.” As the final seconds counted down Saturday in Notre Dame Stadium signaling a 23-12 victory for the Irish over the Purdue Boilermakers, students were cheering for more than the first win of the season. “The spread offense was very effective in opening up the field for the run, and it really allowed Armando Allen to be effective,” junior Maurice Baynard said.
Last night, the Gender Relations Center (GRC), along with Shades of Ebony, hosted an alumni panel to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the GRC. The five panelists were crucial to the founding of the GRC and included Kaitlyn Redfield Ortiz ‘06, Zach Ortiz ‘06, John Corker ‘07, Lizzi Shappell ‘07 and Heather Rakoczy Russell ‘93. Christine Gebhardt, director of the GRC, served as the moderator.The panel began with a discussion of what prompted the panelists to realize an organization such as the GRC was necessary. Redfield Ortiz said the behavior of a male classmate made her realize what a problem gender relations were at Notre Dame.“I was sitting in my freshmen writing class, and this guy had a shirt on like one of those old Snickers commercials, except it said ‘Hungry? Grab a SMCer,” she said. “I was shocked that this was acceptable, so it seemed kind of natural that this is what we would work for.”The panelists then talked about the issues they faced when building up the GRC. Rakoczy Russell said it was hard to collaborate with other groups because they had preconceived notions about what they were standing for.“The Gender Relation Center, and probably me specifically, were regarded with suspicion by pretty much everyone,” she said. “Gender was a really loaded term at the time and it was really hard to get anyone to sign on as a panel.” Rosie LoVoi Panel of alumni discuss issues they faced as members of the GRC during their time at Notre Dame in Geddes Hall on Monday.They also talked about their early goals for the GRC and the primary issues they were trying to combat. Shappell said they tried to emphasize reaching as broad an audience as possible.“One thing that I found was really important was trying to bring the Gender Relations Center, for all of its impressions and and people’s stereotypes about whether we were left or we were right, or what we were doing, was to make the GRC more mainstream,” she said.Ortiz, one of the founders of Men Against Violence (MAV), said another goal was to get men more involved in issues that males did not associate as “men’s issues.”“We were still at a time where sexual assault was still considered to be a women’s issue,” he said. “It was very interesting to see how different groups within campus would try to work together with these different ideologies.”Corker, another founder of MAV, said there was a problem with men simply ignoring issues pertaining to gender.“There was a tacit, cop-out view of ‘that sort of stuff doesn’t happen at Notre Dame’ and ‘I don’t do that kind of stuff so I don’t need to take a stand against it,’” he said.To close, Corker encouraged students to be proactive about finding and creating dialogue about gender issues. He said students need to challenge their own ideas.“Don’t just be open to, but seek out conversations with other people for the express purpose of challenging the beliefs that you may have, that you may feel are right or are valuable,” he said.Tags: 10th anniversary, GRC, MAV