Registration for the Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference (DSLC) began this week as the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board (SDB) prepares to host its annual spring conference for students, faculty and community members. This year’s DSLC Conference will be held on March 20 and 21. Senior Guadalupe Quintana, SDB vice president and chair of the DSLC Committee, said the Saint Mary’s DSLC is one of the largest student-run conferences in the Midwest. She said the DSLC will offer participants a range of assorted workshops, speakers and discussions aimed at exploring the theme of this year’s conference, “To change the world, you must start with yourself.” “We have a rich list of presenters this year,” she said. “Our opening keynote speaker, Arn Chorn Pond, is a survivor of the Cambodian genocide. … closing keynote speaker is Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women survivors of war and civil strife get back on their feet.” Quintana said the DSLC carefully selects speakers and events to provide the most enriching experience possible for participants. “We choose speakers who have a story that is unique to them, inspiring and motivational,” she said. “Students then are able to see the world through a different lens, learn how to build up their own courage and be appreciative of their lives and the lives of others because everyone has challenges to overcome.” Junior Rachel Chaddah, a member of the SDB, said the conference is crucial in helping the SDB reach its goal of expanding the appreciation of other cultures. “[The SDB] is always seeking to create a forum to examine the positive impact diversity provides for all types of settings,” she said. “We want to provide the students, community, and faculty with an outlet to voice their thoughts and opinions on diversity as well as to supply them with new knowledge about it by bringing in workshop presenters and keynote speakers.” She said the conference will address a number of other issues such as overpopulation, domestic violence and the expression of diversity through tango. Chaddah said she is most looking forward to a performance by a step group from Ivy Tech. “The step group performed earlier this week at the Saint Mary’s first Apollo Night for Black History Appreciation week and they were absolutely great,” Chaddah said. Quintana said she expects the conference to be a huge success. “I hope everyone takes this great opportunity and joins us in our biggest celebration of diversity,” Quintana said. Registration for the DSLC ends March 5. The conference is free and open to students of Saint Mary’s, the University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College. Members of the South Bend community are also invited to participate. To register for the event and find a complete schedule of the DSLC events, visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/DSLC.
World Health officials have stepped up awareness to discourage Zika boycott of games. FILE WHO PHOTOParis, France | AFP |Only pregnant women and people planning a family need fear Zika, disease experts said Wednesday after golfer Rory McIlroy became the latest athlete to withdraw from the Olympics over virus fears.The mosquito-borne virus, which can also be transmitted via sex, is thought to cause a form of severe brain damage, called microcephaly, in babies.It has also been linked to rare adult-onset neurological problems such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can result in paralysis and death.Should Rio-bound Olympians and sports fans be concerned? We asked the experts.Q: Who needs to be concerned about Zika?A: Women who are pregnant or planning a baby imminently, as the virus targets the foetus in the womb, said Cardiff University infectious diseases expert Andrew Freedman.Men who contract the virus in Brazil can pass it on to their partners through sex, so would need to use condoms for several months after their return.Unless McIlroy and his wife were planning a baby, “I feel the decision to withdraw from the Games is an over-reaction,” said Freedman.Q: Is there a risk to the athletes themselves?A: In most people, the Zika virus causes mild disease — many never even notice the symptoms. Those who do fall ill, usually with a rash and flu-like symptoms, recover within days.“Rarely, complications such as Guillain-Barre syndrome may occur,” said Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.But he called for “perspective”.“The most credible estimates suggest no more than 10-20 infections with Zika among the half a million athletes and visitors going to Brazil for the Olympics.” The World Health Organization said last week there was a “very low risk” of Zika spreading further internationally as a result of the Games.Olympics host Brazil has seen 1.5 million people infected, and nearly 1,300 babies born with abnormally small heads and brains since the outbreak started last year.Q: What precautions can be taken?A: For most people, the main thing is to protect oneself against mosquito bites by covering up and using a good insect repellent, said the experts.But pregnant women should not travel to Rio at all.Those considering a baby, who do not fall ill, should delay conception for two months after their return as a precaution, said Whitworth.“In the unlikely event of a woman or her partner getting infected with Zika, they should delay pregnancy for six months, by which time all traces of Zika infection will have been cleared from the body.”Q: Is the decision to withdraw scientifically sound?A: The chances of contracting Zika on a golf course are very low, said Whitworth, as infecting mosquitoes live mostly around houses and rarely venture more than 50 metres (160 feet) from their breeding sites.“Obviously I don’t know the reasons for this (McIlroy’s) decision, but it does strike me as being extreme,” added virology professor Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham.But Peter Barlow, an infection expert at Edinburgh Napier University, said the long-term effects of Zika are poorly understood.“It is completely understandable that an elite athlete such as Rory McIlroy is putting his own and his family’s health first in this instance, particularly if he has plans to start a family in the near future.”Share on: WhatsApp