Your Arts & Culture news is made possible with support from: If Instagram or Pinterest are any indicators, decorating with greenery and filling spaces with plants is a popular design trend right now. Pinterest has even noted a surge in people searching for gardening and indoor plant ideas.“People just love them,” Herzog said. So, it seemed like a good time to bring people together and host a plant swap.To participate in the plant swap Nov. 16, people can bring a healthy plant or cutting they want to trade and find someone who is willing to swap. (To be clear, people can’t trade with any of Herzog’s inventory at the store). Michaleen’s will be offering a 20% discount on plants at the shop that day, too. Light refreshments will be provided.(Provided Photo)To check if the plant you want to trade is healthy, Herzog recommends taking a close look at the plant, make sure it’s a nice green, not yellowing or dropping leaves, and to inspect both sides of the leaves for insects. She also recommends people wrap their plants for transport to keep them safe from the cold.At the upcoming plant swap, Herzog said she would love to talk to plant enthusiasts and see what other types of programs they are interested in. One idea she has for January is hosting an event in her greenhouse about plant care for tropical plants. It will also be an opportunity to enjoy some greenery in winter.Learn more about the event on Facebook here. Tagged: gardening, indoor plant, lansing, michaleen’s, plant swap, tropical plants Kelsey O’Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor. More by Kelsey O’Connor Kelsey O’Connor ITHACA, N.Y. — Looking to freshen up your plant collection? Local long-time florist Michaleen’s is hosting its first-ever plant swap Nov. 16 where people can bring along a plant or cutting and exchange it for something new with other attendees.The plant swap will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. People attending the swap won’t be able to trade for any of the shop’s plants but will have the chance to chat with other plant enthusiasts and swap with them.This week marks 32 years in business for Michaleen’s, a florist and garden center with two greenhouses at their location at 2826 N. Triphammer Rd. in Ithaca. Owner Michaleen Herzog said they provide flowers for many local weddings and offer tropical plants in their greenhouses year-round. Herzog said a customer inspired her to host a local plant swap.(Provided Photo)In the past year, Herzog said she has seen a surge in young people interested in buying plants. “People just love them – and the crazier plants they can find,” she said.Herzog said when she first got into the business over 30 years ago, green plants “were huge,” however people shifted to more fake, silk plants in the mid-80s. But now, she said she’s seeing a resurgence of green plants.
Related posts:No related photos. HR professionals have welcomed an NHS move giving senior nurses more controlover staffing levels and budgets worth up to £800,000 a year. Health Secretary Alan Milburn announced that he was giving more autonomy tosenior ward sisters who will now have a greater role in managing staff. They will be able to plan rosters and shift patterns and to assess the needfor agency nurses, as well as deciding on the mix of grades and skills neededon each ward. Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management president Tracy Myhillsaid staff involvement was an important part of driving the service forward,but warned that HR must ensure increased responsibility is backed up bytraining. “It’s good that staff are getting the chance to take responsibility asthey’re best placed to decide how to deliver service. We must strike a balanceand ensure that we don’t overburden them. “HR has to ensure that we are giving support and adequate training forthese new roles. “Staff involvement is becoming the big issue on the NHS agenda,”she said. Unison’s head of nursing Karen Jennings also broadly backed the move, butwarned that nurses should not find themselves torn between clinical andadministrative roles because of the increased workload. “This will give ward sisters extra resources at local level where theyare needed. “However, it is an additional responsibility and we are concerned thatmore and more will be expected from a smaller pool of nurses,” she said. Milburn also announced plans to develop more nurses as leaders after figuresshowed that only half of nursing directors were being interviewed for chiefexecutive posts. By Ross Wigham Senior nurses to take on staff and budget controlOn 27 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article
Animal responses to changing environments are most commonly studied in relation to temperature change. The current paradigm for marine ectotherms is that temperature limits are set through oxygen limitation. Oxygen limitation leads to progressive reductions in capacity to perform work or activity, and these are more important and proximate measures of a population’s ability to survive. Here we measured the ability of a large Antarctic clam to rebury when removed from sediment at temperatures between −1.5 and 7.5 °C and at three oxygen concentrations, 10.2, 20.5 and 27.7%. The proportion of the population capable of reburying declined rapidly and linearly with temperature from around 65% at 0 °C to 0% at 6 °C in normoxia (20.5% O2). Decreasing oxygen to 10.2% reduced temperature limits for successful burial by around 2 °C, and increasing oxygen to 27.7% raised the limits by 1–1.5 °C. There was an interactive effect of body size and temperature on burying: the temperature limits of larger individuals were lower than smaller animals. Similarly, these size limits were increased by increasing oxygen availability. Considering data for all temperatures and oxygen levels, the fastest burying rates occurred at 3 °C, which is 2 °C above the maximum summer temperature at this site.
Written by Beau Lund FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailJim McIsaac/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — LeBron James has apologized for a post he made on his Instagram account over the weekend referencing “Jewish money.”In the post to his Instagram Stories on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers forward is seen riding as a passenger in a vehicle with the lyrics “We been getting that Jewish money, Everything is Kosher” typed on the screen. The lyrics are part of a song by rapper 21 Savage.Following the Lakers’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, James told ESPN, “Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone.”“That’s not why I chose to share that lyric,” James said. “I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”Citing a league source, ESPN reports that the NBA does not appear to have any plans to fine James over the post.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. December 24, 2018 /Sports News – National LeBron James apologizes for Instagram post referencing ‘Jewish money’
Bahamas Petroleum secures exploration licence for the Area OFF-1 block. (Credit: Pixabay/Keri Jackson) Oil and gas exploration company, Bahamas Petroleum Company has been awarded an exploration licence for the Area OFF-1 block, offshore Uruguay by the Uruguayan national regulatory agency, ANCA.The AREA OFF-1 block covers a total area of around 15,000km2, and is located in water depths from 20 to 1000 meters, approximately 100km off the Uruguayan coast.The block contains a management estimated resource potential of up to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE).The OFF-1 exploration play is said to be similar in nature to the prolific Guyana – Suriname basin, which is currently being explored by many oil companies.Bahamas Petroleum to undertake new geotechnical studies on the licenceDuring the initial four-year exploration period for OFF-1 licence, Bahamas Petroleum will reprocess around 2,000km of legacy 2D seismic and perform many new geotechnical studies, at an estimated cost of approximately $200,000 annually.Bahamas Petroleum stated: “OFF-1 has many operational and subsurface similarities to BPC’s licences in The Bahamas – the Uruguay and Bahamas acreage is in similar water depths, both contain multiple, lower exploration risk structural plays in addition to the high impact fans, and both have material volume scope and extensive running room.”The company expects that OFF-1 holds the capacity to generate similar value uplift to its existing licences in The Bahamas.Recently, Bahamas Petroleum has signed a contract with Stena Drilling to provide a drilling rig for its first exploration well, Perseverance #1, offshore The Bahamas.The rig will be used by the company to drill Perseverance-1 exploration well, scheduled to commence as early as the fourth quarter of 2020. The block covers a total area of around 15,000km2, and is situated in water depths from 20 to 1000 meters
View post tag: Piece View post tag: DIVERS Back to overview,Home naval-today US Navy Divers Recover a Piece of Tradition December 4, 2012 View post tag: Navy Share this article View post tag: News by topic Authorities View post tag: US Navy Divers recovered a piece of tradition during a frocking ceremony at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story Nov. 30.Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 frocked three Navy Divers in an unfamiliar fashion to what most Sailors have witnessed in today’s Navy, during a ceremony called “Tacking on of the Crow,” in which Sailors, took turns stitching on petty officer rating badges, or crows, to the sleeves of the newly-promoted Sailors, representing their new rank.“I’ve been in the Navy for three years and have never seen anything as professional and heritage-related as the ceremony we had today,” said Navy Diver 3rd Class Daniel Parson, assigned to MDSU 2. “Usually, it’s congratulations, a hand shake and you’re given your crow, but this ceremony felt like it meant more.”While standing on center stage, the commanding officer sewed the first stitch with the expectation of the Sailors to accept their new responsibility and authority. The executive officer sewed the second stitch, while reminding the Sailors of the importance of the small details, where even the most mundane administrative task is important to the mission. The command master chief sewed the third stitch, and highlighted his role to the Sailors as a direct representative of the ideal goals of the petty officer.The fourth stitch was sewn on by the officer in charge, the immediate senior, whose orders they have sworn not just to obey, but to understand and interpret those orders. The fifth stitch was sewn by master diver, their deckplate mentor and the one who has the most influence to shape, guide and help the petty officer in both his daily routine and his career progression.The sixth stitch was sewn by the Sailors’ peers, who help them get the job done and survive day-to-day. The seventh stitch was sewn by family because no Sailor operates alone. Whether it be friends or family, each Sailor has a support structure outside of working hours that keeps him focused and grounded.Once the crow is fully tacked on the Sailors, uniform, you can no longer tell the difference between the first tack and the last tack. It symbolizes equal holding of all who sewed the crow and equal support to the new petty officers.“The ceremony showed the support of everyone throughout our command,” said newly-frocked Navy Diver 1st Class Tyler Smith, assigned to MDSU 2. “It showed the people who helped us get to where we are and the people that respect us for how far we have come.”“Tacking on of the Crow” dates back to the Royal navy and days of the sail. Upon the arrival of the industrial age, sail and canvas gave way to engines and steel. The method of the tack transformed from sewing to punching, like the piston of a machine. Over the years, the ceremony slowly evolved into hazing, opposite of its original tradition.“The message got skewed,” said MDSU 2 Command Master Chief Scott Brodeur. “It went from being positive and upholding and showing the good deed of the Sailor and seamanship, to something people were evil about. From that point, it was no longer about a positive message.”The MDSU 2 goal for the ceremony was to salvage “Tacking on of the Crow” to allow the Sailors an opportunity to embrace the heritage and tradition in a positive way.“Our Navy heritage and tradition helps shape who we are and where we could be going,” said Cmdr. Michael Runkel, commanding officer of MDSU 2. “The reaction from the ceremony was positive and a good way to salvage and restart the traditions of old.”MDSU 2, part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), provides combat-ready, rapidly deployable mobile diving and salvage teams to conduct harbor clearance, salvage, underwater search and recovery, and underwater emergency repairs in any environment.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, December 04, 2012; Image: US Navy View post tag: Tradition US Navy Divers Recover a Piece of Tradition View post tag: recover View post tag: Naval View post tag: of
Jennifer Nelson for www.theindianalawyer.comA mother that has prevented her son from seeing his father since 2009 and purposefully disobeyed parenting time orders and contempt orders must be sanctioned, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.Since 2002, a year after P.B. was born, father M.L.B. and mother D.L.B. have been in court either challenging, seeking enforcement of or modification of parenting time orders and contempt orders. Mother and P.B. have alleged father to have abused the boy on several occasions, but following investigations by the Indiana Department of Child Services and the local police department, no charges or actions were filed against father.At issue in In re the Paternity of P.B., M.L.B. v. D.L.B., 03A05-1601-JP-46, is father’s appeal of the order of Bartholomew Circuit Court denying his petition to enforce previous parenting time and reunification orders and his petition to hold mother in contempt for her failure to cooperate with those orders.In July 2015, Special Judge Jonathan Webster noted in order that P.B. hasn’t seen his father in five years, but mother and P.B. refuse to allow father to see the teen. Mother has made it clear that she will not abide by any court order that forces the teen to visit his father. Webster questioned how he could force a 6-foot, 14-year-old boy to visit his father when he didn’t want to, so he denied father’s petition.“While we sympathize with the dilemma with which the trial court was faced, the proper solution was not to refuse to enforce its orders. Instead, the trial court should have used its authority to ensure that its orders are obeyed and not disregarded as mere suggestions. No one, especially not a parent, should be under the impression that compliance with the trial court’s parenting time order is optional,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote.“The trial court abused its discretion in concluding that Mother was not in contempt for her admitted refusal to follow the clear mandate of the trial court’s earlier orders. If Father is to be deprived of his right to parenting time with his son, the law requires a finding that such parenting time would endanger his physical health or significantly impair his emotional development, but no such finding is in the record. We therefore reverse the trial court’s order and remand with instructions that the trial court enter a contempt sanction against Mother that will be sufficient to enforce its parenting time order.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
I love my job. I get to see brilliant doctors and inspirational nurses, courageous paramedics and committed carers. I get to meet people who save lives each and every day.Yet, there were some perks to being Culture Secretary. You’d get to go to the Tate, the National, the Royal Opera House for work. You’d get to rub shoulders with the likes of Grayson Perry, Anthony Gormley and even the legendary Ronnie Wood.Although, when Ronnie offered me a little pick-me-up at the Brits, I was surprised, and mightily relieved, when he handed me a mini Babybel.“Minister caught in cheese scandal” isn’t quite a career ending headline.We know what the NHS does is life-saving. But what the arts and social activities do is life-enhancing. You might get by in a world without the arts, but it isn’t a world that any of us would choose to live in.As the great Chinese philosopher Confucius said: “Music produces a kind of pleasure, which human nature cannot do without.”And as the great Rolling Stones said: “I can’t get no, oh, no, no, no, I can’t get no satisfaction.”Music and the arts aren’t just the foods of love. They’re not just right in their own terms as the search for truth and expression of the human condition.We shouldn’t only value them for the role they play in bringing meaning and dignity to our lives. We should value the arts and social activities because they’re essential to our health and wellbeing.And that’s not me as a former Culture Secretary saying it. It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts and social activities improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.So that’s what I want to talk about today: how we can harness the incredible power of the arts and social activities to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.How the arts and social activities can help us move to more person-centred care and a focus on prevention as much as cure. And how social prescribing can shape our health and social care system in the future.First: the power of the arts and social activities.Now, I must pay tribute to Ed Vaizey for all his work in this field, and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing for their Creative Health report, which applied some much needed rigorous analysis to the research.And what they found is: and, society is changing ‒ we’re living longer, our needs are becoming more complex, our expectations of public services are growing; at least 20% of GP consultations are now due to things like housing, employment and relationship breakdowns the arts and social activities can help meet major challenges facing health and social care – ageing, loneliness, mental health, and other long-term conditions by using new digital technologies to help people make informed decisions, work with healthcare professionals, to choose the services they need, when they need them and, the arts and social activities can help save money for the NHS and social care system Now, those things may appear unrelated to health, but they’re not. It’s why yesterday I launched a new focus on prevention for our health and social care system. It’s one of my top 3 priorities, along with technology and workforce.Because if we want to get prevention right, we must move to person-centred care. And this is how we do it: the arts and social activities can help keep us well, aid our recovery, and support longer lives better lived by giving people the knowledge, skills and confidence to take responsibility for their own health One project, a collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Hull’s stroke recovery service, used music sessions to help people after they’d had a stroke.And what they found is through learning to play instruments, trying conducting, and eventually performing as part of an orchestra, nearly 90% of stroke patients felt better physically, with fewer dizzy spells and epileptic seizures, less anxiety, improved sleep, improved concentration and memory, better morale and more confidence.That was just one study. Others across the country have seen similar successes.In Lambeth, in south London, The Alchemy Project used dance as an early intervention against psychosis. The young people, who worked with dance experts, showed major improvements in concentration, communication, and wellbeing.In Gloucestershire, hospitals are now referring patients with lung conditions to singing sessions. Sounds counter-intuitive? But no. Singing helps people, even with chronic lung conditions.In my home county of Cheshire, Halton has now created a “Cultural Manifesto for Wellbeing”. Sounds grandiose, but it’s simple ideas like connecting school choirs to every local care home in the borough.Simple ideas like the Southbank Centre using working poets to run a poetry course for people with dementia and their families.Or the music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, which helps children with autism communicate, people with dementia feel less anxious, and provided comfort to people facing terminal illness. Last year alone, they helped almost 8,000 people.So those are just some of the examples of how the arts have benefited health. And we must remember this is still a very new medical field. Social prescribing only really started about 5 years ago.Just the other day, Canada announced that it was going to start prescribing free museum visits to patients. Well, we’re lucky enough to have some of the world’s best museums for free, here in London.But we need to ensure that the people who may benefit most, are aware of what’s available and that they’re accessible.As Culture Secretary, one of the biggest challenges remains to change the perception of the arts as elitist or inaccessible, something I know is a personal priority for the new Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright.And, I think this is a challenge we also have to overcome with arts and health and social prescribing. The arts are for everyone. And what pleased me most about Lord Howarth’s work with the APPG, what had the biggest positive effect, the common theme running through all the creative fields from literature, to music, to art is: personal creativity.Taking part. Having a go. Dusting off forgotten skills. Or learning new ones.So social prescribing isn’t about prescribing tickets to Hamilton or seeing a Titian at the National Gallery, as fun as they both may be. It’s about what’s right for you. What fits.Don’t like opera? Fine. The doctor isn’t going to force you to sit through 17 hours of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Unless that doctor happens to be Michael Gove.It’s about what works for you. How you can participate in the arts to improve your health. It’s about moving from patient-centred care to person-centred care. Stopping people from becoming patients in the first place. Which is the second thing I want to talk about today.Right now, my department is working with the NHS to draw up a long-term plan for the future of our health and social care system.The reasons are twofold: we’re putting a record £20.5 billion extra a year into the NHS over the next 5 years, so we have to ensure we get the best possible return, and every penny of taxpayer’s money is well spent So, I see social prescribing as fundamental to prevention. And I see prevention as fundamental to the future of the NHS.For too long we’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration.Social prescribing can help us combat over-medicalising people. Of dishing out drugs when it isn’t what’s best for the patient. And it won’t solve their problem.Social prescribing is a tool that doctors can use to help them, help patients and help the NHS cut waste.It’s the Goldilocks approach to medication: the right amount at the right time. No more, no less.So under my vision for prevention, I see social prescribing growing in importance, becoming an indispensable tool for GPs, just like a thermometer or a stethoscope may be seen today.And, together with a greater focus on diet, exercise, stopping smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and greater mental health support, how we move to more person-centred care, and build a health and social care system for the future.So, finally, let me turn to the social prescribing ideas that we’re looking at together with the Arts Council and DCMS.First, social prescribing through libraries. There are nearly 3,000 libraries in England. Many of them already do great work in helping people become better informed patients so they can better manage their own health.What we’re looking at is if more libraries can offer health services, and if we can expand the existing health services libraries already offer.Norfolk’s Healthy Libraries Initiative is a great example of libraries being used for stop smoking and healthy living sessions.But if we can connect even more libraries to GP surgeries and primary and community care services, and increase training for librarians on social prescription referrals, then we could reach even more people, and make libraries even more vital and valued to their local communities.So things like: dance classes for elderly people, choirs for loneliness and mental health reading groups. Using our libraries and librarians to intervene earlier and improve public health.Second, we’re looking at how music can help people with dementia. How it can reduce the need for medication. How it can reduce agitation and combative behaviour. How it can reduce the need for restraints and help people with dementia, and their families, cope better with symptoms.And I must pay tribute to the pioneering work of the charity Playlist for Life. Their work creating personal playlists for people with dementia led to a 60% reduction in the need for psychotropic medication at one care home.This is the kind of cheap, easy-to-use social prescription that I’m fully behind. Because dementia is one of the major health challenges we face for the future. The number of people with dementia is set to rise from 850,000 today to more than a million in less than a decade. Personal playlists could offer a simple solution to this growing problem.And third, we will create a National Academy for Social Prescribing to be the champion of, build the research base, and set out the benefits of social prescribing across the board, from the arts to physical exercise, to nutritional advice and community classes. A resource which GPs and other frontline health workers can draw on for guidance and expertise. Where they can learn what works, and what’s available in their communities.Because social prescription reduces over subscription of drugs. It can lead to the same or better outcomes for patients without popping pills. And it saves the NHS money, because many of these social cures are cheaper or free.Now, drug companies may not like that. And you can bet this multi-billion pound industry will use every tool at their disposal to lobby for the status quo and convince us drugs are better than free social cures. That’s why we need a National Academy for Social Prescribing to be a champion for non-drug treatments. And it’s the role of the state to sponsor the treatments that are often cheaper, better for patients, and better for society.Now, I remain open to any idea. I’m not wedded to any one model. What’s most important is what’s proven to work. And my department will work with NHS trusts, providers, staff and with colleagues from DCMS and Arts Council England, so we can share our expertise and learn from each other.Social prescription is about making better use of what we already have. About making the arts and social activities more accessible.We’re the country of Shakespeare, The Beatles, Harry Potter and Harry Kane’s right foot.But we’re also a country of community choirs, reading circles and the Bury St Edmond’s Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, which you’ll find in my wonderful constituency of West Suffolk.People coming together. Taking part in arts and social activities, getting involved in something that’s good for our health and good for society.Arts, social activities and health in action. Life saving, life enhancing, making life worth living. So let’s work together to make it happen.
A nationwide consortium of scientists at 20 institutions, led by a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), has used stem cells to take a major step toward developing personalized medicine to treat Parkinson’s disease.In part supported by the Harvard Miller Consortium for the Development of Nervous System Therapies, the team of scientists created induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from the skin cells of patients and at-risk individuals carrying genetic mutations implicated in Parkinson’s disease, and used those cells to derive neural cells, providing a platform for studying the disease in human cells outside of patients.In a paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers report that although approximately 15 genetic mutations are linked to forms of Parkinson’s, many seem to affect the mitochondria, the cell unit that produces most of its energy.“This is the first comprehensive study of how human neuronal cells can be models of Parkinson’s, and how it might be treated,” said Ole Isacson, a leader of the study, an HSCI principal faculty member, and a Harvard Medical School professor of neurology, based at McLean Hospital’s Neuroregeneration Laboratory.The researchers determined that certain compounds or drugs could reverse some signs of disease in the cultured cells with specific genetic mutations, and not in cells with other types of mutations, making real the concept of developing drugs that would be prescribed to patients or individuals at risk for Parkinson’s.The study was launched with federal stimulus funding provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was continued with funding from HSCI.“These findings suggest new opportunities for clinical trials of Parkinson’s disease, wherein cell reprogramming technology could be used to identify the patients most likely to respond to a particular intervention,” said Margaret Sutherland, a program director at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in a press release.The new research indicates that compounds that previously have shown promise in treating Parkinson’s in animal studies, including the antioxidant coenzyme Q10, together with the immunosuppressant rapamycin, have differing levels of effectiveness on various genetic forms of Parkinson’s. Researchers hope that such findings can provide the basis for more specific drugs for individuals with sporadic forms of Parkinson’s.As Isacson explained in an interview, this study points the way to screening patients with Parkinson’s for their particular variation of the disease, and then treating them with drugs shown effective to work on that variation, rather than trying to treat all patients with the same drugs, as is generally done now.“We believe that using human stem cells to study the disease is the correct way to go,” Isacson said. “We have the cell type most vulnerable to the disease in a dish. We can study the most vulnerable cells and compare them to the least vulnerable cells. Traditionally, in neurology,” he said, “all patients with the same disease get the same drugs. But they may have the disease for different reasons. This gives us a way to tease out those different reasons, and find different ways to treat them.”Isacson’s colleagues in the consortium are stem cell scientists Kevin Eggan, Paola Arlotta, and Lee Rubin.
ND Votes, a student-run nonpartisan task force committed to promoting civic engagement, is switching their programming to a virtual format ahead of the upcoming election season. Co-chaired by seniors Rachel Sabnani and Michael Marotta, the task force consists of liaisons from each dorm, representatives from several issue-based clubs and interested students without any specific affiliation. It is supported by the Center for Social Concerns, the Rooney Center for American Democracy and the Constitutional Studies Minor. ND Votes’s primary concerns are to increase voter education, mobilization and registration; moreover, according to Sabnani, a constant goal is to provide a healthy environment for civil discourse.“We have an underlying motive to promote civil discourse, so we partner with a lot of other organizations such as BridgeND, College Republicans, College Democrats and the Student Government to promote events that go well with civil discourse,” Sabnani said. The signature event of ND Votes is “Pizza, Pop and Politics” –– a lecture series in Geddes Hall which typically features Notre Dame professors lecturing about an issue related to civic engagement. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the task force has partnered with Notre Dame Student Media to broadcast the lecture series as a podcast dubbed “Pizza, Pod and Politics.”Marotta hopes the podcast will be an exciting way to stress the importance of civic engagement to the community.“Our goal with the podcast is to reach as many students as possible on campus and even outside the campus community to just spread that word that … civic engagement is important,” Marotta said. “It’s not just politics. These are matters that affect real lives.”The podcast plans to feature a variety of members from the Notre Dame community, including former head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, in order to provide unique perspectives that expand community members’ understanding of the election. The task force also wants “Pizza, Pod and Politics” to be a hub for information about the election.Marotta said that he hopes the podcast will “make the entire process more accessible and more understandable.”With the election occurring in November, Sabnani stressed that voter registration is a “huge part” of ND Votes’s mission for the year.To aid students in registering to vote and requesting absentee ballots, ND Votes created a general election guide. The guide contains details for each state and territory on how to register and request a ballot. With mail-in voting expected to increase this year due to the pandemic, Marotta and Sabnani stressed the importance of Notre Dame students voting in a timely manner.“Notre Dame students typically vote by mail anyway, but now that everyone’s going to be voting by mail, it’s really important to get the ballots in way sooner,” Sabnani said.Following the first task force meeting, each dorm liaison and club representative received a QR code that can be scanned to provide access to the general election guide for students. Sabnani said the virtual guide is a replacement for information tables that are typically set up around campus and other in-person events that encourage voter registration. “That’s basically how we combatted the virtual nature of the semester, whereas normally we’re tabling in person to get people registered and handing them our own computers and all that sort of stuff, which is obviously not the best idea during the pandemic,” Sabnani said.Marotta and Sabnani, who have both been involved with ND Votes since their freshman years, said that the ultimate purpose of ND Votes is to help students understand the importance of their vote. Marotta urged students to not take their right to vote for granted.“To people who say that their vote doesn’t matter, I completely disagree,” Marotta said. “It matters every single time. You can’t tell me that your vote doesn’t matter because it always affects real people in real life.”Tags: 2020 election, 2020 presidential election, COVID-19, mail-in voting, ND Votes, Pizza Pod and Politics, Pizza Pop and Politics