When an offensive “Mobile Party” comic strip was published in the Observer on Jan. 13, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community at Notre Dame and the University’s unrecognized gay-straight alliance, AllianceND, was thrust to the forefront of a national issue.“It gave us the opportunity to start the discussions,” AllianceND officer Jessica Mahon, a senior, said.Later that month, the group helped organize a massive protest on campus to urge the University administration to both grant AllianceND official club status and add sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination clause.“The demonstration that happened in January was maybe the marker of my Notre Dame experience,” Mahon said. “It really kept up my faith in the Notre Dame student body that the response was really positive on campus.”AllianceND officer junior Chris Collins said the panel discussions that followed the comic’s publication and several individual meetings with top administration officials, including University President Fr. John Jenkins, have been mostly productive.“There have been a lot of discussions since the Mobile Party Comic Strip, and I’ve been to a few of them and from what I’ve heard they’ve all been very successful,” he said.Senior and AllianceND officer Melanie LeMay said the Student Activities Office (SAO) has made a decision and is waiting until all club applications are reviewed to give its decision.In an e-mail, student programs coordinator Mary Kate Havlik said she helps “to facilitate the prospective club application process for all clubs,” but did not comment directly on AllianceND’s pending application.“Our primary concerns [when we met with Fr. Jenkins] were the non-discrimination clause and the approval of AllianceND as a club, both of which are ways we feel the University can show its acceptance of [LGBTQ] students and their allies on campus,” LeMay said.LeMay noted Saint Mary’s College across the street from Notre Dame already has both a gay-straight alliance (SAGA) and has added sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination clause.“The administration has definitely been made aware that Saint Mary’s, which is also a Holy Cross college, has both sexual orientation in the clause and a gay-straight alliance,” she said.LeMay said the administration has cited concern about the legal ramifications of adding sexual orientation to the nondiscrimination clause, noting partner benefits as one legal implication.AllianceND officer senior Patrick Bears said the panel discussions and meetings with administration officials were a step in the right direction, but the actions were ultimately inconsequential.“I’m not going be critical for the University for actually trying to do something, it’s just they’re doing as little as they potentially can,” he said. “They’re trying to do everything they can without actually doing anything about the club itself.”Mahon said she wanted to be optimistic about the club’s application, but also noted it was the eleventh time the club had applied for official status in the past 13 years.“We want to be really optimistic, but we also recognize that it may not happen,” she said. “I think the biggest indicator that [we might not get it] is the administration has being making really conscious efforts to meet with us to see how they can improve the framework that they use.”Mahon said gaining official club status would be incredibly helpful to the group and boost its profile on campus.“Right now it’s just some friends who meet and discuss issues. It would be really beneficial to have a set club, have a set time when we could meet, have a room where we can meet and to be able to advertise to students that these resources are out there,” she said.Mahon said the club’s unofficial status had kept it underground for years, and many students who could benefit from the group’s resources might not know it exists.“Right now, students that could really need the help or the resources sometimes don’t know what goes on,” she said. “It’s all word of mouth, so there’s a really possible chance that we’re missing people who could benefit from the club.”In the past, the administration has pointed to Core Council as a resource for LGBTQ students. But Collins said Core Council, of which both LeMay and Bears are also members, does not give students enough control.“I think one of the key things is [AllianceND] gives students the ability to take part in the decision making process,” Collins said. “We’d have our own funds and be able to set our own events, whereas with Core Council they’re all kind of set by [the Office of Student Affairs].”LeMay said Core Council’s structure does not allow many students to join who would want to.“I think AllianceND would be a important supplement to Core Council because Core Council is a closed group and only has eight student members,” she said.Bears said graduate students are shut out of Core Council, and that they do not have a gay-straight alliance for themselves.“There’s no kind of outreach for them,” he said.Bears also said it was not just students who felt that they needed to stay closeted.“There’s definitely fear among teachers regarding the subject material that they can teach and their personal lives and whether they have to remain closeted in order to keep their jobs,” he said.Collins, who is the only officer in the group that will still be enrolled at Notre Dame next year, said the group will continue to apply for club status if they are denied later this month.“If we don’t get status we will be applying again next year, I can pretty much guarantee that. If we do get club status that would kind of be a whole different ball game,” he said.Collins said AllianceND’s probationary first year would include hosting regular meetings and sponsoring a few events in conjunction with Core Council.Despite some setbacks, the AllianceND officers said the response on campus has been very positive since the publication of the offensive comic. Mahon said the work of many tenured faculty members who know their jobs are safe has been “phenomenal” in supporting the group.Nevertheless, the group members did say they were concerned about some of the more hateful reactions they have received around campus.“There have been a reemergence of the ‘Gay? Go to Hell’ T-shirts from two years ago, and from what I’m aware there have actually been more of them than there were just my sophomore year,” Bears said.
4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mallory Porter Mallory Porter is Allied Solution’s Program Manager for Digital Solutions. She manages the program strategy, content, and implementation for Allied’s digital products and platforms in the financial services marketplace. Web: www.alliedsolutions.net Details Cisco projects that by 2020, 82% of Internet content will be video based. Video is an engaging medium that has the ability to capture imagery, text, and sound in order to share your message to a specific audience whom you hope to attract. In this case, your competitor isn’t a big bank; your competition is whatever video tutorial, advertisement or promotion is grabbing for your member’s attention. Videos tell a memorable story which is helpful for both information retention and brand awareness. For credit unions, the use of video offers multiple benefits, including the opportunity to effectively communicate what members can expect from the service and give them a chance to respond to the information. Effective Communication with VideoOnboarding new members and insurance verification are two challenges facing credit unions as they navigate how to best communicate what they need from their members, how to handle information requests, and how to actually get the information they need from their members. Having a digital strategy to clearly and effectively communicate these asks and needs could go a long way in building up your relationship with your members. When it comes to insurance tracking, outbound calls and direct mail remain necessary tools for requesting proof of insurance on new loans. However, these tactics take time, resources and can lead to inaccurate information. For onboarding new members, there is a lot of information to communicate, compliance regulations to consider and paperwork to fill out. In both cases, video can offer a happy middle ground that offers a digital and relevant way to communicate with your members and share helpful resources in a convenient format. Personal Communication with VideoVideo notifications offer a powerfully effective solution for encouraging responses from members. These personalized messages are the perfect complement to paper notices and phone calls by offering communications that meet members on their device of choice. The more personalized and tailored you can make a message, the more impactful and engaging your communications will be. The level of response Allied has seen from our accounts utilizing this type of technology has been a testament to this fact. Our SmartVideo messages can be personalized to include the member’s first name, type of service (such as loan amount), and upcoming payment due dates. By speaking directly to the member, videos have proven to be successful in holding the recipient’s attention to the end of the video. In fact, accompanying reports show measurable results that recipients often open and view the video several times, as well as have higher click rates. Utilizing captivating, digital messaging also encourages your members to engage with your credit union in other ways, such as asking them to visit your website, sign up for automatic loan payments, or purchase another related product. It’s an opportunity to open a new channel of communication by informing them of other services available that they may not know about. Ready to Try Video Communication? Targeted, personalized video messaging is a great way to engage with your members, especially as more and more of the population leans on mobile and digital means of communication. Remember, personalized video offers the following benefits:Ease and speed of implementationHigh level of member interaction and engagementAdvanced tracking and reporting so you can better understand your borrowers’ needs and behaviorsSending out personalized video messages alongside the more traditional methods of communication offers a great opportunity to introduce new members to your credit union and the solutions you offer, while building trust in your brand, opening up new revenue channels and mitigating financial losses resulting from loan defaults.Contact Allied Solutions if you’d like to learn how SmartVideo uniquely complements our solution suite of services to create one of the industry’s most efficient and effective member communication tools.