Irish celebrate Mardi Gras on location

first_imgThis Fat Tuesday, some Notre Dame students will be celebrating with authentic Mardi Gras spirit straight from the Big Easy. “It’s definitely an experience coming down, even with a budget,” senior Justin Asuncion said about his trip to New Orleans this past weekend. “It’s a great experience that every Notre Dame student should take if you can.” Asuncion and fellow seniors Andrew Charnesky and Joe Caparros drove through the night Thursday to arrive in New Orleans by Friday morning, where they experienced traditions ranging from parades to Southern cookouts, they said.  “We had the opportunity to go to an authentic crawfish boil,” Charnesky said. “We’re not from the South; we’d never heard of a crawfish boil before, but it was some of the best food I’ve ever had.” Senior Allison Tompkins also traveled to New Orleans for the first time and agreed that the cuisine stood out as a highlight of her trip. “I had grits for the first time, cheese grits with shrimp on it,” Tompkins said. “The rice and beans was to die for… I didn’t taste anything that wasn’t good.” Tompkins described touring the French Quarter and learning about the history of various parades and the groups, called krewes, which plan them. “I had heard about the pretty buildings, you know, in the French Quarter and everything, but honestly I didn’t know what to expect,” Tompkins said. “It really shocked me how beautiful it was with all the different areas and the Mississippi River and everything.” Notre Dame Food Services general manager Marc Poklinkowski said students staying at Notre Dame for the festivities will be able to experience themed décor and menu items at both dining halls on Tuesday. “South will have our Cajun-themed dishes on both homestyle and Pan-Am,” Poklinkowski said. “The popularity of this meal has increased tremendously over the years, so we found the need to take the regular Pan-Am items off for this day to offer students another area to get the themed menu items they are looking for.” Poklinkowski added North Dining Hall will be offering jambalaya and Mississippi fried catfish as well as chocolate rum cake and mini éclairs and that South Dining Hall will feature jambalaya as well with blackened catfish. “Our dessert bar [at South] will be a make-your-own-dessert featuring pound cakes, fresh strawberries, apples and caramel sauce, hot chocolate fudge and whipped topping,” Poklinkowski said. Although Mardi Gras known for its celebration of excess, Asuncion and Charnesky said traveling to New Orleans can be done even on a tight budget. Charnesky noted that driving and staying with a friend in New Orleans helped cut expenses. “You can definitely do it for under $500,” Charnesky said. “It’s not cheap, but if you’re just conscious about stuff you can do it on a budget. “It’s a great time and it’s going to be something you’ll always remember.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at lsteven1@nd.edulast_img read more

Bank’s green building looks ahead

first_imgThe eye-catching vertical garden features both indoor and outdoor plants and covers an area of over 300 square metres. The entrance to Nedbank’s Menlyn Maine building is distinguished by the innovative green wall. Recycling stations on all floors encourage staff to think green and care for the environment. In this particular area, the floors are partly made of bamboo. A row of bicycle parking frames stands outside the building, for the use of visitors. There are more such devices in the parking garage, for the convenience of staff.(Images: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Tinyiko ChaukeAccount manager, Jenni Newman PR+27 73 395 3987 or +27 11 506 7350• Mpho SebelebeleCommunications manager, NedbankGroup+27 11 294 4274RELATED ARTICLES• Green buildings now the law in SA• Nedbank achieves carbon neutrality• Top green rating for SA building• Sanral unveils green head office• Maropeng sets green standardJanine ErasmusGreen banking group Nedbank, a leader in sustainable business practices, has opened its new green star-rated regional head office in Pretoria.The building is located in Menlyn Maine, the country’s first mixed-use green precinct situated in the thriving suburb of Menlyn Park, east of the Pretoria CBD.While this eco-friendly district comprises office space primarily, there is also provision for hotel and residential properties as well as shopping and dining areas, with green spaces throughout. It’s one of a small number of green cities around the world endorsed for development by the Clinton Climate Initiative.The R350-million Nedbank building is the first to open in Menlyn Maine. Towards the end of 2011 it received a four-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, the body that oversees the transformation of the country’s building sector into a more sustainable industry.The Green Star rating tools are based on the Australian Green Building Council system, which, although it’s not the only system in existence, was the best fit for the local situation.To date, the council has awarded 19 Green Star certifications to 17 buildings around the country. A further 28 buildings are awaiting certification in 2012.Sustainable business practicesThis is the banking giant’s third four-star green building, after its Phase Two head office in Johannesburg and its Ridgeside office development in Umhlanga, north of Durban. Nedbank achieved carbon neutrality in July 2010, the first bank in Africa to reach this milestone.“We’ve refined the green techniques we used in Phase Two,” said Nedbank CEO Mike Brown, “and everything in the building, from the finishes to the furniture, is recyclable, or at least reusable.”Speaking at the opening, green campaigner and long-time Nedbank client Valli Moosa described the office building as an example for others to follow.“In the not too distance future every building will have to be like this one,” he said. “The legislation is coming.”A qualified mathematician, Moosa enjoyed a successful political career but is also well known as a steadfast environmental champion. A former president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, he’s currently the chairperson of the World Wide Fund for Nature, South Africa.Nedbank believes that happier, healthier staff makes for a more productive working environment, and the bank’s 16 rental premises scattered across Pretoria have now consolidated into one building, which will not only lower its carbon footprint but will result in more streamlined and efficient business practices.Over 1 000 employees from the private, individual and business banking, capital, corporate and wealth divisions will occupy the new building, with the last group due to move in towards the end of July.The higher-than-normal cost of the building will be recouped through lower maintenance and operational costs, said Deon Minnie, Nedbank’s head of workspace planning. Once the final group of employees moved in, the process of establishing a benchmark, against which costs could be measured in future, would begin, he added.Green in colour, green in deedThe Nedbank building features some striking eco-friendly elements across its 16 000-odd square metres of floor space, spread over four basement levels and five above-ground floors.In the parking garage, 32 bays are reserved for hybrid vehicles or car pools, giving these fuel-efficient transport systems preferential placing. The same number of bays is reserved for motorised two-wheelers while cyclists have even more facilities. There are 53 bicycle parking frames in the basement, with male and female showers close by. Outside, there are 17 bicycle frames for clients.“The cycling facilities are based on the population of the building,” explained Gerhard Boer of Boogertman and Partners, the architects responsible for the building’s conception. “Use of cycles is strongly encouraged here.”Also in the basement are a rainwater filtering system, 100 000 litres of water storage for the fire system, and a number of thermal energy storage tanks, which collect chilled water during off-peak hours and help to reduce the load on the rooftop air-conditioning plant during busy periods.The rainwater filters purify collected water that descends to the basement via gravity and is then pumped to storage tanks on the roof, said Boer. Two 10 000l tanks hold water for the toilets and irrigation respectively, and a 25 000l tank which holds municipal water is used for normal hygiene and consumption.Moving up, the wooden floors and the staircases inside the building are made from bamboo, a highly sustainable grass that grows quickly enough to replenish itself without causing a shortage of material.But even before entering, the presence of a 17m vertical garden by the main entrance indicates the building’s uniqueness. Covering over 300 square metres, it supports 14 different plants and was planted to the specifications of a landscape architect. The garden is bisected by the wall, so that half of it is inside and half outside. Water is introduced at the top, trickles down naturally and is then taken to the top again.In the office spaces, recycle points on each floor minimise wastage of plastics, tins and paper.“We took away the office dustbins,” said Minnie, “to encourage people to get into the habit of recycling, and to get them moving as they head to the bins and back to their desks.”Material is processed in a dedicated recycling plant, also located in the basement.Other features include recycled plastic carpets with a grassy look and feel in recreational areas, intelligent lighting that switches on when a room is entered and adjusts according to the brightness of external light, and air quality monitoring systems that automatically deliver fresh air without resorting to mechanical air conditioning.last_img read more

Sales Platitudes Kill Your Results

first_img“Now you must let the buyer control the process. You need to be helpful.”Add another platitude to the list of ideas about sales designed to make you feel good about selling, even though following the advice would be detrimental to your results–and the results of your prospective clients.A reader sent me a link to a blog post. The author wrote that selling has changed and that now: “You have to learn to let the buyer control the process.” The author wrote that your job is to be “helpful” as the buyer goes through their journey.There is nothing wrong with being helpful in a way that makes sense based on where your prospective buyer is in their journey. But the idea that you should allow them to control the process is a major mistake.The Buyer Controlling The Process Is An RFPWhen your buyer controls the process, it’s called a request for proposal.How do you feel about your chances to win when you receive a request for proposal? Your buyer is controlling the process. But that means limiting—or eliminating—communication. It also means your buyer compares your pricing with your competitors on a spreadsheet. And it also means that they value the efficiency of the process more than value making the right selection when it comes to choosing a partner (why else would you have limited questions and 90 minutes to present?).Your buyer doesn’t know what they don’t know.Your buyers don’t know that you need access to information to be able to create and deliver the best solution for them. Unless you ask for the commitment to provide you with that information.Your prospective clients also don’t know that you need access to different stakeholders within their company to build consensus around any solution–including yours. Unless you explain to them why you are asking to bring these stakeholders into the process.Your prospects don’t know that you need a meeting to review and refine your ideas and to ensure that everyone on their team gets what they need. They don’t know that the diagnosis needs to get to the strategic, root-cause issues if you’re going to help them as much as you are able.The Process Is Your JobYou have to ask for all the commitments you need to do the very best work you can for your dream clients.When you allow your buyer to control the process, they are doing so without knowing all they need to know to get what they need. Because you are not asking for the commitments, those commitments are not being gained, and you are not doing the work you should be doing for your dream client.If you care about people, you’ll have the uncomfortable conversations. If you care about helping them get the results that they need, you will first sell them on the process as to how they get those results. And that means explaining the commitments you need and getting agreement on those commitments.Professionals Sell the ProcessAmateurs avoid the uncomfortable conversations. Amateurs wait and allow the customer to lead. Professionals engage in the necessary conversations even when they’re uncomfortable. Professionals lead.You cannot be a trusted adviser without trust. And you cannot be a trusted adviser without advising your dream client. Allowing your buyer to control the process is an abdication of your responsibility.last_img read more

London Olympics: India could surprise Holland in first Olympic hockey match, says coach Michael Nobbs

first_imgStanding at the River Bank arena and gazing into the cloudy London sky, the two stalwarts of Indian hockey Sandeep Singh and Ignace Tirkey soaked in the atmosphere on Sunday.These two men are sole survivors from the 2004 Athens Olympics and are again in focus because of their fitness as India begin their league campaign against former champions Holland.From Athens to London it has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride for Indian hockey. Having finished eighth in Athens, the team did not even qualify for the Beijing Olympics.Understandably, there was an outcry at home as our national sport had gone to the dogs. It was a harsh truth which was hard to digest and making it back to the Olympic fold earlier this year by winning the qualifier in New Delhi has come as a whiff of fresh air.However, one shouldn’t get fooled that this team is going to finish in the medal bracket as equations in global hockey have changed so drastically.Holland, India’s first opponent, were champions in Athens 1996 and Sydney 2000, but have lost some amount of grip after that.But if one is to hear coach Michael Nobbs ‘ words, then there is a statement in it. “Once these boys step on to the turf on Monday, there can be no denying they become Olympians. And that is a huge tag which you can’t take away,” said the Australian who has played at the highest level.India are currently ranked 10th in the world by the FIH and are placed with potent Germany, New Zealand, Korea and Belgium.In the other pool, neighbours Pakistan are placed with Britain, South Africa, Australia and Spain.On the eve of the big match, captain Bharat Chetr i was relaxed. “We want to produce a good display and are eager to show that the London connection with Indian hockey is not just symbolic,” said Chetri.The overall mood and sense is that world champions Australia and Olympic champions Germany will again be hot contenders for the title.As regards Pakistan, their hockey has been in turmoil after they won gold in the Guangzhou Asian Games and qualified for the London Olympics.Frequent change in the officialdom of the Pakistan Hockey Federation and treating players shabbily has been their bane. And when some of their players came to India recently for the cash-rich World Hockey League, it led to a bigger uproar.How well the Asian champions can take these upheavals in their stride remains to be seen.Back to India, not having played Holland recently could be a boon says Nobbs. “We could surprise them with our play as we have had a change in the team with a lot of youngsters turning out in this particular Olympics,” said Nobbs.While nobody is expecting miracles from the Indian hockey team, they have worked hard on their fitness. After the highs and lows of battles between two federations in India, matters have settled.Common perception is that the Indian Hockey Federation ruined the sport and in the four years after failing to make it to Beijing, there is now more exposure and inputs for the Indian team.Even though Hockey India, which now runs the sport has its share of detractors at home, the good thing is we are at least there at the London Olympics.advertisementlast_img read more

Argentina beat South Africa, enter maiden hockey World Cup semis

first_imgArgentina’s victory ousts Olympic champions Germany from the semifinals raceArgentina made their maiden appearance in the men’s hockey World Cup semifinals after posting a comprehensive 5-1 victory over South Africa at the Kyocera Stadium on Tuesday.Argentina’s victory, their fourth in five outings, gives them 12 points and ousts Olympic champions Germany from the semifinal race.Germany, who later play South Korea in their last match, have six points from four matches after suffering identical 0-1 defeats against Argentina and hosts The Netherlands.Olympic silver medalists The Netherlands were the first to secure passage into the semifinals from Group B with four straight wins.This is only the second time in World Cup history that the Germans have not advanced to the semifinals. The only previous occasion was in the inaugural World Cup in 1971 when Kenya made the semifinals at the expense of West Germany.Argentina, placed 11 in the world rankings, continued their robust game to seal their first-ever semifinal with Gonzago Peillat and Lucas Vila scoring two goals each after Joaquin Menini opened the scoring in the 20th minute.South Africa’s lone goal came from the sticks of Clinton Panther, but Argentina had by then done enough to secure entry into the semifinals.Argentina’s previous best finish in the men’s World Cup was sixth position they secured in the 1986 and 2002 World Cups.last_img read more