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Sharing secrets

9:07 AM  Sep 14th, 2016
by Bridget Lally '17

Asking someone “How are you?” or “Are you okay?” could save a life.

With genuine care and the right timing, the smallest thing, such as these questions, can make the greatest impact.

This was one of the many powerful messages that Frank Warren delivered to a full-house on Sept. 8 at the first UD Speaker Series event of 2016-17 in the Kennedy Union ballroom. Warren is the creator of the PostSecret Project and author of six PostSecret books, which have all landed on The New York Times bestseller list.

PostSecret.com is an online collection of highly personal secrets, both funny and serious, on artfully-decorated postcards mailed anonymously from people around the world. The postcards are sent directly to Warren’s home in Maryland and he posts scanned images of the cards to the blog every Sunday.

PostSecret first began as a community mail art project in 2004. As of today he has received more than one million anonymous secrets. During his presentation Warren said, “I’ve been called the most trusted stranger in America.”

Warren’s multimedia event, “PostSecret Live,” was co-sponsored by the University of Dayton Counseling Center, Community Wellness Services and Active Minds. The presentation aligned with Suicide Prevention Week, which was Sept. 5-9.

Warren ended his talk with the reminder that, “Kept secrets are walls. Shared secrets become bridges.”


To read anonymous secrets from all over the world, visit postsecret.com.

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Collaboration Accelerator 2.0

12:15 PM  Sep 12th, 2016
by Madalyn Beban, '18

Had you ventured through ArtStreet this summer, you may have felt, seen, heard, or noticed something unusual going on. Often a dormant season for collegiate campuses, this summer on ArtStreet was anything but.

In its second iteration, the Collaboration Accelerator 2.0 infused the block with creative energy and friction unlike existing collaborative project-based programs.

Its 12 summer interns formed a curious cross-section of academic life: engineering, marketing, communications, visual arts, unmanned aerial systems, and international studies.

For seven hours a day, every day, participants were challenged within the Institute for Arts Nexus’ process model to tackle three challenges: modeling connectivity in 2050, reframing our perception of drones, and developing a new approach to energy as a commodity.

They took polls in the community, researched independently, reconstructed idea after idea to shape a final deliverable–a “four-dimensional” (sight, sound, space, emotion) experience as well as a concrete product, staged openly in ArtStreet for visitors to explore.

ArtStreet Director and program guide Brian LaDuca charted the course of the Accelerator. He explained the unique nature of program’s deliverables by framing them as “experiences.”

“It’s not just ‘look at this product,’ but ‘look what this product does in action,’ and ‘how does it affect people?’ …When you can deliver emotion into a product it becomes an eye opening experience for the stakeholders and the audience,” he said.

Following the final days of the White Box Gallery showcase, junior visual arts major Jesse Thompson stressed the importance of shedding stereotypes in order to succeed.

Never let anyone tell you, especially based upon your major, that you can’t be creative, or you can’t be analytical. [At the Accelerator] we understood that there are differences in our educational backgrounds, but together we filled the gaps and became stronger in the process.“

Watch a video on the Collaboration Accelerator here: https://youtu.be/zz9qgsh_prU


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We remember, 15 years later

4:14 PM  Sep 9th, 2016
by Shannon Shelton Miller

The Student Government Association continued its annual tradition of honoring the 2,977 people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by placing an American flag in honor of each victim in Kennedy Union field. Students planted the flags Friday morning, and they will remain through Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities as part of the national commemorations of the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception bells tolled at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, and prayers for peace will be offered at all campus Masses on Sunday.

UD honors alumni Kristin Irvine-Ryan ’93, Alfonse Joseph Niedermeyer III ’83, Mary Lenz Wieman ’80, William Eben Wilson ’65, David Wiswall ’69 and Joseph J. Zuccala ’68, who died 15 years ago in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Read our coverage from five years ago on the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, including tributes to the Flyers lost in 2001. Remembering ‘Big Al’ and 9/11

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Learn. Lead. Serve. Tweet.

2:13 PM  
by Teri Rizvi

University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina has already made school history, and he hasn’t even hit the 100-day mark in office.

He tweets. He posts an Instagram photo daily. He takes #SelfiesWithSpina. Oh, and he blogs, too.

Spina is the first president to engage with the campus community, alumni and friends through the tools of new media. And he’s prolific about it.

The social media-savvy @DaytonPrezSpina is quickly building a fan base — and a reputation as a compelling storyteller, whether he’s tapping out a tweet about a prayer service in the chapel, sharing a photo of wife Karen and family dog Theo in the stands at a Dayton Flyers football game or recording a spontaneous greeting to the campus community on Snapchat on his first day.

Followers have been quick to hit the heart button.

“I only follow my kids on Instagram, but I’m following him,” said @PhilChick82, assistant vice president and treasurer. “If there’s something meaningful happening in the moment, he shares that with the community. He’s showing us what a president does, and he’s doing it every day.”

Through his frequent posts, Spina displays school pride: “Our women played superbly tonight,” he tweeted when @DaytonVB beat rival Xavier. He tweets from the heart: “1 yr ago today, Karen & I arrived at UD for the 1st time for interview. 3 days later we left thinking this might be it. Today we are home.” And he shares his personal and presidential life, from campus images, like the River Stewards setting up camp along the Miami River, to family moments, such as “saying goodbye to my own kids” as they headed back to college.

“I appreciate the authenticity and sincerity that come across in President Spina’s social media posts,” said @mcpautz, director of the MPA program and associate professor of political science. “So often, these channels can seem contrived, but I don’t get that sense from his. And his frequent participation in social media makes him seem more accessible.”

MBA student @farhat_youssef, who manages social media for the Human Rights Center, calls the president’s social media presence “impressive.”

After the two met in the Center for International Programs on Spina’s first day, Farhat used an old-school approach and sent a thank-you note. Spina responded with a direct message on Twitter.

“Many argue that social media has made us distant, but Dr. Spina is bringing the personal touch back to the game by developing a unique relationship with the Flyer Nation and expressing his eagerness to promoting UD stories in all possible ways,” said Farhat, calling the president a “socially active strategist” who blends personal musings with institutional posts.

“As a student and an alum, I’m inspired by every tweet,” he said. “Each post or tweet triggers in me the question, ‘What can I do?’”

Spina, who concedes he is addicted to Twitter, often pauses to take a selfie when he’s meeting with students or chatting with faculty. Not every photo makes the cut, though.

On his biggest stage — UD Arena in front of thousands of new students and their families — everyone smiled for an iPhone moment.

“I felt so much pressure, and the photo was horrible. Even my kids said I couldn’t post it,” he said with a laugh.

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Two continents, one summer

9:05 AM  Sep 8th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

“It was a crazy summer,” Ben Steinhart, a third-year entrepreneurship major, began. “One day in Ghana we played a soccer game with the kids — it poured. We slipped in the mud, the sun set in the background and men chopped bushes with machetes around us.”

A few months earlier, Steinhart’s mom showed him a video featuring Happy Kids — an orphanage in Ghana. Steinhart shared the video with Dante Pezzutti, a third-year pre-med major, and they embarked on a fundraising mission for a six-week trip.

Soon after, Steinhart bumped into information about the UD-run five-week India service/cultural immersion. Pezzutti and Steinhart decided to take on two continents in 11 weeks, allowing Steinhart to go on his first plane ride and trip out of the country.

“We wanted to spend our summer in a more meaningful and different way,” Pezzutti said. “For us it was more about the opportunity instead of the country – it just presented itself to us.”

Together they joined UD students in India and donated time with Marianist-run programs, such as, a boy’s camp in Bangalore, playschools in the slums and ended the trip in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity.

“The part of India that sticks out to me is volunteering at Kalighat – Mother Teresa’s first home for the dying destitutes in Calcutta,” Pezzutti reflected while Steinhart added, “it was very humbling.”

After a whirlwind of adventures in India, they parted for Ghana and attended the Happy Kids school to observe and teach classes, and run an after-school reading program.

“We had to come up with solutions to various problems, but ran into cultural boundaries,” Steinhart said. “We were told we can’t fix problems the way we intended. There is an American mentality of ‘we can do anything,’ but we learned we can’t.”

Both expressed they miss the relationships formed abroad the most. They plan to continue raising money for Happy Kids and one day return to India and Ghana.


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Biosensor tests breath, air and water

8:55 AM  Sep 6th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

About seven years ago, UD began a research project with hopes of leading to a fiber-optic, hand-held biosensor that would detect various molecules in breath, air and water.

The research group is currently examining how light passing through sensitive optical fibers can detect the presence of specific molecules, such as those present in sweat, saliva or breath. The opportunities for this device, they say, could be endless, including, early detection of disease and hazardous materials.

The research is ongoing, but would not be possible without the merging of the departments of chemistry, physics, biology and electro-optics – along with students and faculty from the School of Engineering and the Minority Leaders Program.

Electro-optics professor Dr. Joe Haus and associate biology professor Dr. Karolyn Hansen lead the research.

“I always think the middle name for UD is collaboration,” Haus said. “We get a lot of good work done when we collaborate and share equipment and ideas.”

Diego Garcia Mina, an electro-optics doctoral candidate, is from Columbia and has been working on this project for about two years.

“When you work with people from different departments you can learn from different fields and it expands your education,” Mina said. “I like applying concepts I learned to solve problems related to the fiber-optics sensor. This is an important project that can help many people in the future. When I finish after this year, I want to go back to [Columbia], continue working with sensors and find an application to a problem using what I learned at UD.”

Elaheh Ghanati, an electro-optics doctoral candidate from Iran, joined the project this summer and anticipates the device could have real health-related impact in the future.

“I am excited to be a part of this project,” Ghanati said. “…every part of the project is a challenge. [But,] if you can solve a health problem, that is the best way to use science.”

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Vote Everywhere now at UD

10:25 AM  Sep 1st, 2016
by Gita Balakrishnan

Vote Everywhere is a new organization on campus that has one main goal: creating a place for diverse, non-partisan political discourse to take place.

Katherine Liming ‘18, Nick Hancart ‘17, and Maggie Schaller ’17, are in charge of the initiative and are excited that the Vote Everywhere presence will give students a place to learn about voter registration, public policy and social justice initiatives.

Liming hopes that her group can also help UD students get more involved in the voting and political process.

“We [college students] are such a large section of the population but we also have the lowest turnout to vote. We have such a strong collective voice, but we’re not using that at all,” Liming said of the current lack of civic engagement seen among the college demographic.

“The people that are voting are the older population, and they are making the decisions that affect us- college students,” she added.

So, one of the group’s focus over the next several weeks, will be making sure all eligible students on campus are registered to vote, not only for the upcoming presidential election, but for off-election years, as well.

The initiative is a joint venture between the department of political science and the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.

“It’s important that it [Vote Everywhere] was non-partisan, not about party and simply about engaging students. Students can choose who they want to vote for but now we are able to provide them the opportunity to learn about the issues, if they choose to vote,” Hunter Phillips Goodman, executive director of the Fitz Center, said.

The student organizers plan on being present at several on-campus events over the course of the year, including:

  • Lawrence Lessing- Speaker Series, Sept. 7
  • Faith and Voting Talk, Oct. 11
  • Presidential Talk: Jim Dicke and Governor Taft, Oct. 25


Vote Everywhere is a national program founded by the Andrew Goodman Foundation. The program is in 41 universities in 19 states with 104 student ambassadors, according to its website.


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Artwork depicting death comes back to life

8:53 AM  Aug 31st, 2016
by Bridget Lally '17

A visit to Roesch Library’s seventh floor can leave one fascinated and captivated by the rich history and artwork of Hans Friedrich Grohs, a German Expressionist artist whose pieces were hidden during the Nazi era.

The free exhibit titled, “Hans Friedrich Grohs: Artist and Mystic” is available for viewing now until Nov. 13.

Grohs’ daughter, Frauken Grohs Collinson, donated some of his surviving artworks as a gift to the Marian Library. Two series are included in this exhibit, “Early Life of Christ” and “Small Dance of Death”.

His pieces were hidden from the Nazis because the art was deemed “degenerate”, a term used by the Nazis to signify art they did not like, according to Father Johann Roten, S.M., director of research, art and special projects for the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute. Grohs’ work is available for viewing today because he and his art owners saved the art.

The artworks are primarily woodcuts, very graphic and have sharp edges.

In the “Small Dance of Death” series, death is a skeleton figure/person. Father Roten said this collection was inspired by the death of Grohs’ wife. Some titles in this 1918 series include: “The Expulsion from Paradise”, “Death and the Last Trumpet Sound”, “Death and the Fisherman” and more.

Grohs portrayed death as preparation for new eternal life, explained Father Roten. Grohs was deeply inspired by the Bible and his experience of human life.

“The pictures are dramatic, not too inspiring,” said Father Roten. “But that’s precisely the contrast. The foreground is dramatic, tricking us into believing everything’s finished. But the backdrop contains light, rising sun and stars; a symbolic representation of the life to come.”

The Marian Library holds art gallery exhibits year-round. Click here for more information.

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A future lawyer

1:20 PM  Aug 30th, 2016
by Madalyn Beban

“I am welcoming you today to the legal profession.”

This greeting provided Friday, Aug. 26 by Associate Dean Lori Shaw marked the commencement of the School of Law’s annual Oath of Professionalism Ceremony.

The oath itself is a tradition practiced by all incoming University of Dayton law students, with similar ceremonies occurring at law schools across the nation. Uniquely, this year’s oath was written by UD law students themselves; designated Learning Communities within the school submitted drafts and faculty and staff selected the winning version.

Addressed to a gathering of incoming first-year students, relatives, and friends in Keller Hall’s Mathias H. Heck Courtroom, the remarks of Dean Shaw and other esteemed speakers offered a glimpse into the students’ upcoming journeys as they enter the legal field.

Keynote speaker and law school graduate Patrick J. Piccininni spoke passionately to attendees regarding the nature of professionalism: “How you leave your profession and your community at the end of your career must be better than you found it.”

He championed two key virtues, participation and responsibility, through which both legal integrity and true citizenship are realized.

“Law is not practiced in a vacuum,” he warned.

“When you finish your studies and become an attorney you will be entrusted with… a mighty sword and shield. Wield it as King Arthur wielded Excalibur; for truth, justice, and to help your fellow man.”

At the culmination of the ceremony, incoming students were asked to stand and recite the oath, right hands raised. It began with an affirmation that echoed those virtues of commitment and responsibility:

“I am a future lawyer.”

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CSI hosts “Up the Orgs” event

10:56 AM  Aug 29th, 2016
by Danielle Damon '18

On Friday, Aug. 26, as the first week of classes came to a close, the Center for Student Involvement hosted Up the Orgs – an annual activity fair – at the Central Mall.

More than 250 recognized student organizations have the option to participate, along with off-campus vendors like Domino’s and Penn Station that take part in giveaways of food and coupons.

“There is no other time during the year where all organizations are in the same space,” Assistant Director of Student Life Patrick Chenault said. “[Up the Orgs] allows students to see everything ‘student-led’ on campus and how they can become involved to help compliment their academic experience.”

The event has been around for at least 10 years, according to Chenault, and it was estimated that 75 percent of the undergraduate enrollment attended. This year, the event took on a new layout allowing the organizations’ tables to circle the field’s brick pathways so all groups were more accessible.

Ekata Desai ’20, a special education major, was encouraged to come by her older sister. She said, “my sister went here and told me that there are a couple different dance groups, so I decided to come, walk around and find out more.”

UD students- like Melanie Reindl ‘18, a communication and English major – recognized the importance of being involved on campus by taking her friend who transferred to UD this semester around the activities fair.

For students already involved, Up the Orgs is a great way to start off the year allowing students to reunite with group members and staff organization’s tables.

“‘Up the Orgs’ is one of my favorite days of the year. It brings out all the new students, inviting them to join our UD community,” Maddie Sefton ‘18, an English major who is also the secretary of the student organization Life Itself Dance, said.

Watch below as members of the student-run Taekwondo Club show off their skills, breaking boards in the middle of the Central Mall during the Up the Orgs event.

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