Parsing Politics in Polite Company

Erin McAuliffe | May 10, 2017

Disregarding the antiquated “no politics at the dinner table” rule, Notre Dame students have met regularly for “Pizza, Pop and Politics” discussions this semester. On April 18, over the smell of Bruno’s pizza and the sound of fizzing Coca Cola cans, some 40 of us discussed how Notre Dame students voted in the November election.

I’d come to the event to learn more about the political leanings of Notre Dame students — and get a free dinner as an off-campus senior — but it hit me that this might be one of my last opportunities to ponder Notre Dame while still a student.

I chose a nearly empty table in the back of the Geddes Hall Coffee House and introduced myself to its two occupants, both freshmen, one of whom is a reporter for The Observer. I gushed to her about how important the outlet has been to me, socially and creatively, as a Scene section writer and editor since my own freshman year. The two girls plied me with questions about the life of a 21-year-old and my plans after graduation and I could tell my answers about bar-legality and my job search seemed distant to them.

As the conversation turned to politics and a few students stood up to make a presentation, I thought about some of my own role models on campus: my former editor at The Observer, a dedicated marketing professor, the media advisor who helped me manage WVFI Radio this year — all of them women. I reminisced, too, on the leadership I have witnessed at the school and about my own experience as a campus leader — and a female leader at that. Needless to say, a smile crept across my face when I saw that 59 percent of the 3,000 Notre Dame students polled by the Center for Social Concerns two weeks after the election had voted for Hillary Clinton.

The smile stayed on my face while we considered a slide that broke down the campus vote college by college. It turns out that 69 percent of Arts and Letters students cast their votes for Clinton — the highest level of support for her on campus. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 43 percent of students in the Mendoza College of Business voted for her.

I’m a business student, but I chose my minor in journalism before I chose my major in marketing. I frequently go unrecognized by the automatic soap dispensers and faucets in the Mendoza College of Business bathrooms, a scene that has caused me to panic more than once that “the bathrooms don’t even think I belong here, I’m in the wrong major.” Instead of participating in the Student International Business Council, I’ve pursued extracurricular activities like disc-jockeying for WVFI Radio and covering arts for The Observer. I like to consider myself removed from the “Menbroza” stereotype.

Read more here.

 by Daily Domer Staff

Posted In: ND Magazine