first_imgAlthough the Blais-Shewit administration has achieved many smaller goals so far, it has not yet accomplished much of what it promised to have done at this point in its term and has had to re-evaluate and adjust the timeline of several of its major platform points. The group has set a solid foundation for the rest of its term through outreach and relationship-building, but it remains to be seen whether or not it can follow through with the projects it has started.Grade: BTags: 2017 Student Government Insider, blais-shewit, Callisto, sexual assault, Student government, sustainability, University Health Services As the first half of their term draws to a close, student body president Becca Blais and vice president Sibonay Shewit said they have been working hard to integrate student feedback into their initiatives.“We’re still in the process with the [student government] website and a few other things, but just [focusing on] changing the image of student government and going to Moreau classes,” Blais said. “We’ve been working with a lot of business classes now lately and just getting the name brand out there, redoing the social media.”In order to increase their visibility and collect student input, the administration has conducted a “Town Hall On-The-Go” initiative and visited every hall council, Shewit said.“Like we said when we were campaigning, people don’t think student government does anything, and part of us addressing that was focusing more on working on what students are saying that they want,” Shewit said. “ … I think we’ve found if we don’t put so much absolute effort on our communications and getting out to students, we can’t expect them to know what’s going on in our office.”Throughout this semester, student government has also worked to foster connections with the South Bend community, junior and chief of staff Prathm Juneja said.“The area I think we’ve had our strongest focus in is the community engagement and outreach portions,” he said. “Student governments often neglect the South Bend relationship and I think our director, [senior] Adam Moeller, has done just the most incredible job there.”While the administration has not yet reached a partnership with the Awake campaign — a campaign that would donate five cents to a local community partner every time a student brings a reusable cup to a coffee vendor on campus, which was one of the administration’s main platform points — Juneja said student government has accomplished some of its other sustainability initiatives. These achievements, he said, include a Styrofoam ban, and working with campus dining to implement anaerobic digestion, an alternative to composting.“We’re still working on the Awake campaign, but in the meantime, our director of sustainability was able to change the way the Huddle treats plastic bags,” Juneja said. “They were able to get people to stop offering bags. You used to always get a bag with your stuff at the Huddle — we were sending out thousands of bags a week and that’s not happening anymore.”The cabinet has also implemented several of its diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as auditing resident assistant training and hiring a third diversity and inclusion officer, Blais said. In addition, the University’s statement of diversity and inclusion will also be incorporated into prospective students’ acceptance packages.“They do the initial acceptance letter and then they follow immediately with your package and [the statement] is going to be in the package,” Blais said. “We’re still pushing for it to be in the initial acceptance letter, but we have the second one confirmed.”Though the University Counseling Center (UCC) had already begun to discuss internal reviews, Blais said student government also played a key role in ensuring that the UCC underwent evaluation by the Jed Foundation, which is currently wrapping up its review.While they have implemented certain items from their platform, however, many of the administration’s initiatives regarding sexual assault remain in the works.According to their platform, one of Blais and Shewit’s top priorities was to implement Callisto — an online tool which allows students to submit time-stamped reports of sexual assault — by fall of 2017. However, Callisto is still being evaluated by the committee for sexual assault prevention (CSAP) and Blais said they hope to implement it in 2018 at the earliest.“We had to go over the technology logistics and go over data security, over is it is right for Notre Dame?” Blais said. “Are there competing apps or services or anything, which we found there aren’t — things like that. So it is actually moving forward with a decision soon, which is extremely promising and exciting, especially for such a large new service to the University.”Blais and Shewit also planned to create a way for students to call Notre Dame Security Police by typing a key code into buildings. However, they are now instead looking into implementing a safety app which will allow students to contact Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) on the go, Blais said.“If they don’t pilot a new app — because there are challenges with looking at a new app — then they would either embed it directly into ND Mobile or they want to have a direct call button in ND Mobile for NDSP,” Blais said. “So we’re looking to bring the emergency call system to your pocket.”After further conversations with University Health Services, Blais said, the cabinet also reevaluated its goal of implementing a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) rape kit administration program on campus, a platform point passed down from the Robinson-Blais administration.“In terms of safety, it’s actually better to have [rape kits] at the hospital because those nurses are trained to use them,” Blais said. “And we could train our nurses but they administer them more often, so they have experience with them. You can’t mess up a rape kit, and they’re very easy to mess up. But we have transportation from campus to those rape kits that’s free of charge.”Although the cabinet may not accomplish every item on its platform, Juneja said, it will work to advance each initiative as much as possible.“I don’t think we will achieve every single bullet point on that platform, but I do think that we will leave on April 2 and feel like at least we started pushing on everything,” he said. “So I don’t think we’ll have any regrets.”last_img read more

first_img“Don’t let the fact that you can’t measure it or come up with KPIs straight away stop you from going down this path,” she said.The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) had a similar view, according to Eugene O’Callaghan, director of the €8.9bn sovereign development fund.“We try to do the right thing and then worry about how best to relay that and report that after we’ve done the right thing,” he said.The fund reports twice a year on its economic impact. According to O’Callaghan, the reporting had initially been “very factual, quant-based,” but recently ISIF had tried to develop more of a narrative, with “hard work numbers” appearing in the second half and appendices of the report. “So there is transparency, but ultimately the view on whether we’re adding value or not will come from whether people agree and accept the narrative we’re articulating,” said O’Callaghan.FRR ready to make its move Being able to convey the social or environmental impacts of investments in numbers is not the be-all and end-all of impact investing, asset owners told IPE’s annual conference last week.Faith Ward, chief responsible investment officer at Brunel Pension Partnership, said defining key performance indicators (KPIs) for impacts was a more straightforward process at the level of individual strategies than at an aggregate portfolio level.“Our clients are asking us to tell the story about the whole fund and I think ideally they’d love us to distil it into a few figures, but in reality that is not going to tell the story or bring it to life,” she said.It was more important to come to a qualitative judgement about whether an investment was having the desired impact, Ward suggested. Credit: Patrick FrostFRR’s Olivier Rousseau collects the Climate Related Risk Management award from Marie Dzanis, CEO of Northern Trust Global InvestmentsIn France, the €36.4bn Fonds de réserve pour les retraites (FRR) wanted to make a bigger commitment to impact-conscious investing , and in Dublin Olivier Rousseau, the sovereign fund’s executive director, told delegates it would be launching a request for proposals in the second quarter of 2019.The lead-up to this had been “more complicated” than the fund had anticipated, he said, because it was “absolutely vital” that it knew what it wanted and asked “the right questions”.“All the exchanges we’ve had with many potential asset managers have put us in a situation where we understand it’s not straightforward,” said Rousseau. “We are thinking of doing listed developed markets equities, but there are very different solutions and approaches and ways of measuring it.”However, investors had to be pragmatic and FRR had determined it would have “reasonable ways of measuring what can be achieved”.Rousseau said the meaning of responsible investment had evolved over time, meaning it was now possible to be more ambitious, because “the type of thing you can do gets measured better” and there was a real choice of investment solutions being offered by asset managers.A good Swedish emerging-market story Sweden’s Alecta has had a positive experience with impact investing so far, according to Peter Lööw, head of responsible investment at the SEK874bn (€84bn) occupational pension provider.Alecta moved into this area following “a lot of attention” from its stakeholders – including clients and the media – as well as internal pressure.One of Alecta’s two main impact investing “pockets” is a $200m (€176m) commitment to an emerging market loans fund run by NN Investment Partners in collaboration with the investment management arm of FMO, the Dutch development bank.The fund invests in loans to financial institutions, renewable energy projects and agribusiness companies in emerging and frontier markets.Lööw said the commitment followed a long but fruitful due diligence process and that the pension provider felt it was getting “true impact”.“There are lots of jobs being created, emissions being avoided and so forth,” he said. “We will continue looking at the fund because it will live on for 15 years.”The experience with the fund had taught Alecta that it could reach its required rate of return at the same time as pursuing non-financial impacts, according to Lööw.“The first question you asked was ‘is there a trade-off?’ and perhaps we had the idea that there was a trade-off, but we realised that no, there isn’t,” he told Sony Kapoor, managing director at think tank Re-Define and the panel moderator.The due diligence process had been a “very good journey” for Alecta, added Lööw.“It raised the interest regarding impact internally, so this is a very good story-telling exercise, both for ourselves and our clients,” he said.center_img Credit: Patrick FrostL-R: Sony Kapoor, Re-Define; Olivier Rousseau, FRR; Eugene O’Callaghan, ISIF; Faith Ward, Brunel; Peter Lööw, Alectalast_img read more

first_imgKendra Vollmer raced to both her Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod career first feature win and the Allstar Performance Idaho State championship this season. (Photo by Tom Macht, IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Kendra Vollmer made good on her pre-season goal of winning an All-Star Performance State championship.As a result, she’ll add a plaque to the collection of awards in the home office that doubles as a trophy display room.Vollmer topped Idaho State standings for the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division. She also picked up her career first win in the class on Aug. 19, six days before her 18th birthday, at hometown Idaho Falls Raceway.“Winning the state championship was really the goal for the year,” Vollmer said. “Getting my first feature win was exciting and helped pay more bills but winning the state championship was the big thing.”Her father Kenny raced a Northern SportMod, earning state titles in 2011 and 2015, while uncle Jacob Vollmer was the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMod king in Idaho in 2010.“My dad liked this class a lot and was the one who got me started in it,” said Vollmer, who ran a go-kart on dirt for six years before moving to the sanctioned class. “I like the way a SportMod handles. I raced a modified a couple times last year and there’s definitely a difference.”While maintenance is similar, she notes that SportMods are less expensive to fix than a Modified. Vollmer, a freshman studying mechanical engineering at Idaho State University, is just the second female driver to win a Northern SportMod state crown and plans to stay in the division in the near future.Her father, his racing friends and Kendra’s boyfriend Kaleb Kenney are on her pit crew.Sponsors are Vollmer Well Drilling and Super T Transport, both of Idaho Falls; Rock Bottom Sports Bar and Falls Grill & Chill, both of American Falls; High Desert Walkers of Aberdeen; and Moz Studios of Pocatello.last_img read more