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

USC trustee to fund new residential college

first_imgRay Irani, trustee, alumnus and Judge Widney Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, has donated $20 million to fund the creation of the new Ray Irani Residential College at the USC Village, projected to open in spring 2017.The $20 million donation contributes to USC’s multi-year fundraising campaign which seeks to raise $6 billion for academic and philanthropic advancements throughout USC and non-USC communities.The Ray Irani Residential College is one of two residential colleges set for construction at the USC Village. USC trustee and fellow alumna Kathleen McCarthy will chair the McCarthy Honors College, the first residential college to be established for the USC Village. The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation donated funds last year to establish McCarthy Honors College.According to USC News, $15 million of the donation will be allocated toward the creation of the Ray Irani Residential College and $5 million is set to introduce two faculty chair positions, as well as contributions toward a student support fund. The donation also funds the creation of the Ghada Irani Chair in the Keck School of Medicine of USC.Irani’s donation is among the largest donations to the $650 million USC Village retail-residential project.“I believe residential colleges are invaluable to helping students acclimate to and make the most of their university experience — especially students coming from other countries and cultures,” Irani said in a statement released by USC News.Irani, a doctorate recipient from USC in 1957, worked for Monsanto as a research scientist and later moved to work for Diamond Shamrock Corporation and the Olin Corporation. Afterwards, Irani moved on to conduct research for Occidental Petroleum, where he later served as chief executive officer and chairman. Irani retired from Occidential Petroleum in 2013.In addition, Irani has received honors from the French National Order of the Legion of Honor and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.“As a trustee, donor, alumnus and distinguished faculty member, Ray Irani has been a pivotal partner — and beloved member — of the USC community for more than six decades,” said President C. L. Max Nikias in a statement released by USC News. “Dr. Irani’s most recent gift helps assure that the USC Village will provide the world-class living and learning environment that our outstanding students deserve, while nurturing their intellectual, creative and personal growth.”last_img read more