After growing up in with an alcoholic mother, no father, and a complete reliance on food stamps, Joshua Fields Millburn grew up believing that the key to happiness was found in money and objects.
So when he turned 18, that’s what he chased after. Millburn owned multiple luxury vehicles, closets full of designer clothes, and a fancy home — all thanks to his six-figure salary. But he soon found out that possessions were not the key to success or happiness.
The Minimalists, as they call themselves, are Dayton-born Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who are authors, podcasters, filmmakers and motivational speakers.
UD welcomed the pair in October, in celebration of Sustainability Week. The duo travel around the country and through their podcast, teach others how to live a life with less material possessions.
What the pair teaches is that by focusing less on possessions, people have more time to focus on their passions, experiences and personal growth.
Both men had been at the top of corporate world when they realized that money did not make them happy.
“…[W]ith all that stuff, we weren’t satisfied with our lives. We weren’t happy. There was a gaping void, and working 70–80 hours a week just to buy more stuff didn’t fill the void: it only brought more debt, stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, guilt, overwhelm, and depression,” they write on their website.
That’s when the friends decided to turn to a life of minimalism, getting rid of all material possessions that weren’t absolutely necessary.
“I get far more value from those few sentimental items than I would if I were to water them down with trinkets. So I had to let go of what was weighing me down before I could move on,” Millburn told the audience.
Today, the men travel around the world sharing their story, having been featured on the Today Show and SXSW. Millburn and Nicodemus’ 2015 documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, won multiple film festival rewards.
The jump from student teacher to running your own classroom is one of the hardest things for new teachers, according to Allison Dudek, second-year graduate student.
“It’s empowering, but you’re worried if you have the qualifications to do this,” Dudek said.
The Lalanne program attempts to alleviate that hurdle through service. Through the Center for Catholic Education, the Lalanne program sends beginning teachers to underserved Catholic schools, both in the area and beyond.
“It’s a really unique program that provides the opportunity to begin your teaching career in a Catholic school while living in community with other teachers,” said Jacinta Mergler, director of the Lalanne program. “They get extra mentoring from the program staff, colleagues and from each other.”
Mergler and the program’s coordinator, Peggy Brun, travel to visit the teachers twice a year and observe their classrooms to offer tips for improvement.
The program was founded at the University of Dayton in 1999, but Lalanne teachers have also served under the Diocese of Lansing (Michigan) since the 2012-2013 school year. Most recently, the program has placed five teachers, including Dudek, in Jackson, Michigan, where the teachers live in community.
The house is assigned a local spiritual mentor to facilitate spiritual conversations, share prayers and challenge the teachers in their faith formation.
With 88% of the Lalanne graduates still in education and 85% of them still in Catholic education, the program is creating teachers not only for two years of service, but for life.
“It’s these extra things that make our students successful,” Mergler said.
Finance professor Fukuo Albert Wang spent last year as a visiting scholar for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C., working in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis. That division functions as a think tank to help the commission tackle complex matters with fresh insight. The agency recruited Wang for his expertise in behavioral finance, market microstructure and systematic risk. Senior Erin Frey ’18 sat down with Wang to learn about his year with the SEC.
What did you learn about the SEC that you didn’t know before?
My finance training helped me to understand the general market, but the SEC focuses on government policy making by creating a setting sound regulatory environment for business to thrive in the U.S. economy.
Tell me about a typical day on the job while at the SEC.
There were always multiple projects going on with different agendas, timelines and deadlines to meet. We worked in a groups that consisted of several economists who worked alongside attorneys and other enforcement in order to discipline some bad behavior from a firm or individual.
You said before you went that you would be “involved with rulemaking, with a focus on preventing future financial crises and the influence of new technologies.” How did you do this?
Due to the innovation of technology, the landscape of trading of security markets is very different. There are 10-20 high frequency trading firms that dominate the markets now. They have a lot of influence. They facilitate efficient market trading, but can cause disruption in and out of market. There are also traditional traders that don’t have resources, facilities or technology to compete so it’s all about regulation.
What is something about the SEC that someone working in finance or economics might not know?
Because we work with attorneys, we do a lot with litigation and rule. Economists are trained on economic reasoning so we are able to provide support for attorneys to write rule for regulations and sound economic analysis to support legislation good regulation that the SEC considers to introduce to the market.
What can real world applications like this teach you that finance or economics books can’t?
Perhaps that books are traditionally focused on the discipline itself. But working in the SEC is about applying that discipline into decision making process. It involves various expertise, not just economics.
How do you plan on translating what you learned to lessons for your students?
Because I teach classes on investing, I can show them how asset values are determined, the risk and return of trade offs, and to make good portfolio decisions. I can explain the SEC from regulatory point of view, so they know how their policy influences how the investor can invest in financial market.”
What was the most important thing you learned in regards to the future of high frequency trading?
In a normal day or time they provide a lot of liquidity to the market, which is a good thing, but during crisis and stressful times, there is a risk that the high frequency firms may cause unnecessary disruption in the market. So what would be a good balance, through an SEC point of view, would be to provide a system or environment that high frequency traders can continue to provide positive contribution, while minimizing the risk or negative impact during the crisis time.
Do you have any concerns about the future of trading or the way the SEC does business?
I’m very optimistic about the SEC in general and the role they play in the U.S. market. They play an extremely important role in the well-functioning financial market in the world because they set up good system. Other countries come to the SEC to see how we govern and regulate our markets. They are also optimistic and I have confidence in the ability of people there to do the work to fulfill their mission that I mentioned earlier.
What advice do you have for students who are trying to get involved in this type of trading?
I would certainly advise them to familiarize themselves with the current regulatory landscape so they are able to operate by understanding current and ongoing developments in the market, how to be consistent with what the SEC wants and also learn what not do.
It was around 4:30 a.m. when a student was seen stumbling out of a dormitory at Seton Hall University, the six-story building violently engulfed in dense, black smoke and rippling flame.
This individual was one of many living in Boland Hall at SHU in South Orange, New Jersey on Jan. 19, 2000 — the same night that two fraternity brothers set fire to a banner in a hall lounge. Lighting the banner ignited the fire that killed three students, injured 56 others and forced Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons into the most difficult battles of their lives.
“When we opened our door that night, all we saw was a wall of black smoke…so we did what you are taught to do as a kid — got down on our hands and knees and crawled to the closest exit,” Simons said.
On Oct. 10, UD welcomed the men to share their heroic story. The two are now lifelong friends after suffering through the tragedy and recovery process side by side.
“Today, we are bonded for life — we will always be survivors,” Simons said.
Llanos and Simons, both first-generation college students from inner city New Jersey, were randomly assigned roommates in Boland Hall their freshmen year when the incident occurred. Of the many victims, they suffered some of the worst burns and faced years of painful recovery. They say that the support they provided one another is what got them through the journey.
“We share our story anywhere between 200 and 225 times a year to encourage fire safety on college campuses,” Simons said.
Years after the tragedy, the duo describes how they live their lives with considerably more caution than most people; keeping an eye out for the closest emergency exit and scanning for the fire extinguisher whenever they enter a room. In their presentations, they radiate a sense of hope and inspiration, expressing that there can be life after adversity.
“We all need to learn to love ourselves a little more. Our scars and flaws make us who we are. So today, when I look in the mirror I say, ‘Damn, I make these scars look good,’” Llanos said.
‘Learning to fail’ may sound like a paradox, but it was one of the most important lessons taught to mechanical engineering student Lauren Rivera ’18 during her ten-week experience in Central America this summer.
From building a ramp to make a local recycling center more accessible to spending time adjusting wheelchairs, there were bound to be some hiccups. Rivera found herself attempting to communicate with the local people, asking for materials that weren’t available. She found herself designing structures for which the tools needed were not available.
Rivera said, though, that each failure allowed her to grow and adapt.
“It’s part of design, part of execution, part of doing something that has never been done before,” Rivera said.
Familias Especiales, the nonprofit organization for which Rivera worked, is located in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She traveled there with the Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning (ETHOS) to work on projects that improved the intensity of labor for workers as well as provided aid for handicap people.
It has been a dream of Rivera’s to participate in the ETHOS program since seventh grade growing up helping her dad fix rental properties, Rivera had some background in using tools but said that this experience shaped her as an engineer.
“It’s an entire different way of engineering with problem solving and creativity,” Rivera said.
According to Rivera, her service work was much less about taking expertise to the organization and fixing their problems and more about finding new approaches and learning a lot in the process.
Still, despite the challenges, or failures, in her engineering projects, Rivera said the most challenging part was “not being understood.”
“Being 100 percent immersed in a language that’s not your own is really exhausting,” Rivera said. “But all of the people were very patient.”
Aside from her service work, a highlight for Rivera was being able to spend time with the people from Familias Especiales and interacting with them at the organization’s recycling center, special education classes, yogurt factory and in physical therapy.
“We failed a few times, but we learned that the relationships we were building were far more significant to any of our shortcomings,” Rivera said.
When Nicoletta Hary showed me the oldest book in the Roesch Library special collections, she carefully laid its time-worn cover on the table and invited me to touch it.
She believed books were not only to be admired — they were to be discovered.
Hary retired in June 2014 after serving 50 years in University Libraries. She died Oct. 4 after a short illness.
“Now that so much is available electronically, special collections mean so much more than they did in the past,” Hary told me in 2008 as she shared the history of an incunable, literally a “cradle book” from the first 50 years of moveable type printing. “Having the real thing is very meaningful.”
Hary, a 1952 graduate of the Vatican Library School, was asked by the Vatican Library authorities in 1985 to research the modernization of the Vatican Library. In 2011, the newspaper of the Vatican, L’Osservatore Romano, praised Hary’s books, The Vatican Library and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: The History, Impact, and Influence of Their Collaboration (1927-1947).
As a rare book curator, Hary managed and serviced eight special collections as well as Roesch Library’s religion collection, including the U.S. Catholic Special Collection.
She said she was very happy “learning the treasure of the book.”
Interesting facts about Nicoletta Hary:
• As a teen during World War II, she survived the bombings of her beloved Rome.
• She earned doctorates from the University of Naples and Indiana University.
• She spoke five languages: Italian, English, French, German and Hungarian; she also was well-versed in Latin and classical Greek.
• Before coming to UD, she spent seven years in the library at the University of Notre Dame. Its collection of materials about the University inspired Hary in the mid-1970s to start a similar collection about UD. This modest collection, cobbled from many sources, became the nucleus of the University Archives.
• She started working at the University of Dayton Feb. 22, 1964.
• When Roesch Library was ready for occupancy in December 1970, Hary and three other librarians spent their Christmas break with a handful of students, moving all of the materials from Albert Emanuel Hall to the new building through the tunnel between the buildings. “When we moved to Roesch, there was no money to hire movers,” she said, “so we moved everything over through the tunnel, one truck of books at a time.”
• In the 1970s, Hary spearheaded the statewide initiative of converting UD’s standard card catalog into a digital format.
• In the 1980s, from the Library of Congress she obtained the prestigious NACO designation for Roesch Library, which allowed UD librarians to receive training and be granted the authority to contribute to and change Library of Congress catalog records.
Editor’s note: Erin Frey ’17 has been a student writer, reporter and social media specialist in University Marketing and Communications since summer 2015. In this piece, during her last Family Weekend experience , Erin reflects on the memories made on campus with her parents and brother during the September event.
Two UD siblings, 16 tuition payments, four on campus residence halls, four houses in the student neighborhood and six family weekends.
It is safe to say that the Frey family is quite familiar with UD’s campus — so familiar that saying goodbye is going to be harder than anticipated.
When I was a high-schooler scouting out colleges, I did not want to come to UD. My older brother was there and I was eager to move out of Ohio. I wanted to create a college experience of my own without following in my brother’s footsteps.
However, when I visited my brother, Ethan, a sophomore at the time, I knew Dayton was it. The people and the campus were too perfect to even think about going anywhere else.
Ethan ’16 and I are two years apart so my family has been attending Family Weekend since 2012. Each one has been different. Some have been spent in Welcome Stadium cheering on the Flyers football team, another was spent in the backyard of 430 Kiefaber listening and dancing to oldies. This year’s was spent reminiscing on the last six Family Weekend’s by walking around campus and through the neighborhood.
My parents sashayed down Kiefaber listening to the melodies of “their music” stream from every window. As we took it all in, scents of barbeque and crisp leaves filled the air. Over the music, you could hear students introducing their families to their “Flyer families.” It was as if everything was truly right in the world.“There’s just a buzz about this weekend,” my mom, Michelle, said. “I have to take pictures and show my friends. They just would never believe how much fun we’re having.”
It is definitely a bittersweet moment for my parents. I am graduating in December, so after putting three kids (I have an older sister who went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio) through 20 years each of Catholic education, they and their wallets are blissful. However, my empty nester parents have a love for Dayton that they struggle to put into words.
This bittersweet feeling rings true for me as well. Even as a writer, I find it incredible challenging to describe how much I love UD and the person I have become here. At the same time, a part of me is so excited to take what I have learned here and apply it to my future career.
Before my parents went home to their recently purchased, downsized home in Newport Kentucky, they hugged me and gave me a high-five.
“We did it!” My dad cheered.
My mom held onto me a little longer, “We’re going to miss this place,” she said.
Ever since students stepped foot on campus to begin a fresh semester, the Flyer community has been buzzing about the newest renovations in Kennedy Union.
For the first time in over 25 years, Kennedy Union has undergone a major makeover. Three micro-restaurants have been installed: Spice, Toss and ’Que. And, Au Bon Pain made it’s debut at KU last month.
In further renovations and improvements, KU’s rooftop seating area has been transformed with faculty and staff working hard in September planting greenery to create a sustainable garden.
On Sept. 29, chatter filled the front steps of KU as dozens gathered awaiting the official dedication of KU’s newest additions. The celebration included remarks from University President Eric F. Spina, a blessing ceremony by Vice President for Mission and Rector, Father James Fitz S.M., tours of the spaces and complimentary food samples from each of the restaurants.
“It’s exciting to be here, this is a major enhancement to student life on campus,” said Bill Fischer, vice president of Student Development, who kicked off the ceremony.
President Spina further described UD as a values-driven institution with a passion to create improved spaces for students to eat, gather and enjoy.
“The collaboration has led to a great product,” Spina said. “Folks came together to create a high-functioning, attractive space.”
Fitz led the crowd in prayer, blessing the new additions in KU. Themes from his blessing included protecting God’s earth through sustainability and being grateful for the meals shared in the space.
Once the outside ceremony concluded, the celebration continued inside with a spread of culinary creations from each dining space in KU. With strawberry goat cheese salad and pulled pork sliders among the options, attendees found it difficult to pick what they wanted to try first. The hit of the night was the buffalo chicken pizza.
Katie Doile, a first year student, described KU as the go to place for lunch, “KU is very nice. There’s a lot of different options. My favorite things to get are salads from Toss.”
To see a 360 degree video of the new renovation, please follow the link: https://youtu.be/tE1YV_x-Y38
When you hear someone talk about “the King’” most think of Elvis Presley – that is, unless you are at University of Dayton. Around here, it’s Stephen King – master of the macabre.
That’s because since 1975, King’s novels and the films they’ve inspired have been haunting the classrooms of professor James Farrelly in courses such as Literature of the Occult, Horror Films and Vampires on Film.
While planning his academic schedule for the fall of 2000, Farrelly realized the film course would be in session on September 21, King’s 53rd birthday.
Farrelly couldn’t resist the chance to throw a birthday party for his favorite author during the course, and hence a tradition was born.
Seventeen years later, the courses, Farrelly and King are all still going strong and on September 21 students celebrated to mark King’s 70th birthday. In a fun twist, a cake was also there for Carrie White, one of King’s most famous characters from his first book Carrie, who shares the birthday of her creator, King.
Alex Bourdakos, a senior history major who has taken many of Farrelly’s courses that include King’s work, said he “enjoy[s] how the class focuses on the difference between how an author and a film director view the material in different ways,” noting that the films don’t always exactly follow the book’s plotline.
In addition, the class will watch Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist and The Green Mile this semester.
While many of King’s novels offer a range of horror scenarios and characters, Farrelly, who works in the English department, finds there are often powerful hidden subtexts.
“King often focuses on a child’s view of the world. I think it’s his way of preparing them for the evils they will face in life,” he said.
Farrelly met his idol in person when King was persuaded to speak at a writers’ workshop at UD in 1982 and has invited him back for each of the birthday celebrations since they began in 2000. While King has yet to attend, the students are none-the-less enthusiastic to indulge in cake, wear party hats and sing “Happy Birthday” to mark the occasion.
You can check out a video of King’s 1982 talk at UD on YouTube at https://youtu.be/UU_ufhW2PgM)
“I don’t have any words to explain it. If there were words: It’s devastating. It’s horrible.”
This is what third-year student Camila Negron-Rodriguez said of the horrific damage done to her home in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The damage from the hurricane has destroyed her family’s home, which she says is now unrecognizable. She was able to connect with her mother and learned that she and her dogs were safe.
Negron is one of 93 students from Puerto Rico enrolled at the University of Dayton. Some, like Negron, have spent the last few days excruciatingly waiting to connect and hear from family and friends who are still back home.
“The last 24 hours have been very stressful for all of us, since we are so far away from home. Some of our homes suffered a lot of damage and the pictures definitely don’t make justice for what is happening in Puerto Rico right now,” she said.
Social media has allowed students to receive of updates, either from their family or of their hometowns. Through Snapchat, Negron has seen many of her friends helping people who are stuck in their houses escape the floods.
Negron says that she and other UD students do feel guilt that they aren’t able to offer that kind of hands-on help.
“It’s that feeling you get — you just want to get on an airplane and fly there. But, we can’t,” Negron said.
They are doing what they can. About 20 to 30 Puerto Ricans students from campuses across the nation started a group chat that has grown to more than 200 students nearly overnight. The group discusses ways in which they can help with hurricane relief.
Beatriz Roselló, Puerto Rico’s first lady, assisted in the establishment of Unidos Por Puerto Rico, an initiative to assist those affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Negron and several of her peers joined the campaign and also created a GoFundMe page where they have raised more than $10,000 of their $15,000 goal in the last 24 hours.
“It has been pretty amazing how much we’ve been able to do in such little time,” Negron said. “We say this is just the beginning because there is so much more to be done. This is just one step forward.”