Campus Notebook: Mascot change more Franciscan; freshman's medical invention; solidarity with tomato-pickers

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by Shireen Korkzan

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Reading, Penn.Alvernia University, known as the Crusaders since the 1970s, will change the school mascot by mid-June with one that better fits the college's "Franciscan mission and core values," according to a press statement:

"Some at Alvernia have viewed 'Crusaders' as expressing commitment to and passion for a cause," said the press release from the school sponsored by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. Others cite the violent history of the real Crusades, including St. Francis of Assisi's departure from those religiously-motivated wars in pursuit of a peaceful life, as reason for the change.

"Many others have found the name 'Crusaders' troublesome, even offensive. Even more important, they view the image as opposed to the peace and harmony of 'right relationships' modeled by St. Francis and the spirit of inclusiveness for which Franciscans strive. … Overall, our Franciscan identity is far more central, intentional, and prominent than a decade ago. And, like many others, both Catholics and those from other traditions, we are inspired by the message of a modern-day Francis who has been a prophetic voice for unity, inclusion and peacemaking."

Alvernia is a Division Three school in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Columbus, Ohio — Robert A. Gervasi has been selected the next president of Ohio Dominican University. He will start his new appointment June 26 after having served as president of Quincy University for nine years.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Gervasi has been successful at expanding Quincy's enrollment and hopes to do the same for Ohio Dominican, which currently has about 2,600 students.

St. Paul, Minn. — A 19-year-old freshman at University of St. Thomas is running a company that makes medical adhesives for holding diabetic infusion sets and glucose monitors in place.

Meghan Sharkus told KARE11, the local NBC affiliate for the Twin Cities area, that her company, ExpressionMed, makes waterproof adhesives that last up to one week, better than adhesives currently on the market.

ExpressionMed has so far raised more than $11,000 through a Kickstarter campaign but hopes to raise at least $20,000 to purchase tools to cut new shapes more quickly.

The adhesives come in different colors and shapes, such as sports balls and hearts. According to ExpressionMed's website, the adhesives are also bio-compactible and made locally in Lake City, Minnesota.

Denver — Jesuit Fr. John Fitzgibbons, president of Regis University, has named Jesuit Fr. Kevin Burke the next vice president for mission, replacing Thomas Reynolds.

Burke, currently a professor at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, will start his new appointment Aug. 1. His role as vice president for mission will include promoting Regis's Jesuit, Catholic identity among the university community. Burke is also a member of Regis' board of trustees.

"I am so proud to welcome such an accomplished intellectual and nationally recognized theologian to our Regis community," said Fitzgibbons in a letter to students, faculty and staff. "… (Burke) will be a tremendous resource to our community and Jesuit higher education across the country."

Columbus, Ohio — Students at The Ohio State University, the Alliance for Fair Food and members of the Columbus community are planning a weeklong fast starting March 20 in solidarity with farmworkers whom, they say, have been exploited by the fast food restaurant chain Wendy's.

The Alliance for Fair Food and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers accuse Wendy's of violating farmworkers' rights by harvesting its tomatoes from Mexico, "where workers continue to confront wage theft, sexual harassment, child labor, and even slavery without access to protections." The organizations also claim Wendy's has shown indifference to the wellbeing of farmworkers by not joining the Fair Food Program, a partnership among retail food companies, farmers and farmworkers, including U.S. tomato growers. Under the program, the retail food companies agree to "purchase exclusively from suppliers who meet a worker-driven Code of Conduct." Participating companies include Burger King, McDonald's and Wal-Mart.

The fast will take place on Ohio State's campus and in front of the Wendy's headquarters in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. Participants will greet members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers March 24 for a vigil outside the fast food chain's headquarters. The fast will conclude on the 26th, when thousands of farmworkers and allies are expected to march at the Parade for Human Rights at Goodale Park in Columbus.

Look for more details of the solidarity fast in an upcoming story on soon.

[Shireen Korkzan is an NCR Bertelsen intern.]

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