The Notre Dame Senior Alumni Group (NDSA) is pleased to announce the creation of our new God, Country, Notre Dame Signature Event Series. The series theme is based on the University’s long-standing tradition of supporting the military, from the civil war, continuing during World War II, and living on today. Military veterans have long shared many of the same Notre Dame ideals and beliefs of preparing young men and women to contribute to society and to their fellow citizens.
As explained by Jack Bergen ‘77, NDSA communications officer, “It is important for the ND Senior Alumni community to have a “branded” set of engagement opportunities that can easily be identified with our group. We saw how successful the ND Women Connect “Quarterly Book Read Event” is, so we borrowed the idea to develop our own unique set of quarterly events for our senior alumni community.”
To engage alums both virtually and in person at the local club level, the NDSA engagement committee brainstormed on a possible theme and events. Gary Sobolewski ’74, NDSA engagement officer led the effort, “We wanted to come up with a theme that would be immediately recognizable to everyone, include events that are easy to implement, and have a broad appeal to all alums.”
From these efforts, his committee developed a series of four annual events (one per quarter). “God' represents a spiritual event; “Country” has a Veterans focus; and “Notre Dame” represents an event centered around the annual Alumni Reunion. The fourth event is flexible with both community service and camaraderie options. As Gary shared, “we hope that these events will become a tradition every year similar to others we have at ND. Look for these events to be held by your local clubs in the coming months.”
Veterans Recognition Initiative (November)
The first event in the series is called the Veterans Recognition Initiative. Every November, local clubs will be encouraged to thank and celebrate the efforts by those who have served our country. In 2020, the centerpiece of this year's event is a thirty-minute video entitled “God, Country, Notre Dame: Honoring Our Veterans.” The video features distinguished alumni reflecting on their time at ND, how it prepared them for their future careers in the military, and some life lessons they learned along the journey. The program highlights Notre Dame’s prominent role in the military in the past and in recent times.
The video was premiered on Veterans Day, November 11th, across the US. Despite some technical challenges (YouTube, not us), it was seen by many across the US. A number of local clubs hosted “watch parties” to view the video and conduct a follow-up discussion. If you missed it, you can still see it at on the NDSA YouTube Channel. More information on this, and other ways each of us can help veterans, can be found at NDSA 2020 Veterans Program.
Pre-Lent Event (February)
The second event will have a spiritual focus to help prepare for Lent. Ideally, this will start with a Mass at the Log Cabin or the Grotto (weather permitting), followed by a live-discussion forum which will provide for audience participation. Everything will be livestreamed. Local clubs may also sponsor their own in-person Mass if possible.
During the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend, NDSA will host a breakout seminar featuring a relevant topic and speaker. In addition to the live on-campus event, the breakout session will be available for viewing at a later time (speaker and topic to be announced prior to the reunion). We are also hoping to have the presenter be available to moderate and answer audience questions. An on-campus reception is also being evaluated to share stories and connect with fellow alums from many classes. To see prior year NDSA reunion events, go here.
The final event in the series is timed as summer winds down. One option is a “Back to School” fundraiser for either students from low-income families, or for teachers who often use personal funds for school supplies. This event may be more appropriate for larger clubs, but smaller clubs can join together for "virtual" fundraising events. The other option is a “Kickoff Football Season” event. This will be a Zoom-type event to discuss the upcoming season, and ideally will include questions from the audience. Clubs can use this event to promote their own fall programs, and all alums can join in virtually.