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Megan Reilly, Claire Mason, Meredith Wang, Tess Nelligan


Dr. McLaughlin
Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric
11/2/15
Notre Dame, like many storied and well-respected universities, is filled with
superstitions. Many schools claim they take their traditions seriously, but none can compare to
the exceptionally superstitious behavior of the Notre Dame student body. It is not uncommon to
see looks of shock and horror at the sight of someone walking on the large quad in front of the
golden dome (AKA God Quad), calling on the popular belief that anyone who does so will fail
out of their theology class. If you walk just North of God Quad, to the steps of the Golden
Dome, you might notice they are strangely vacant. This is due to another Notre Dame tradition.
Everyone knows no true Notre Dame student would dare to mount the front steps of the Golden
Dome, because by doing so they would not be able to graduate in four years. Those who abide
by the aforementioned superstitions (and others) make up the overwhelming majority of the
student body. Oftentimes, even alumni can be seen going out of their way to respect Notre Dame
traditions.
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, purposely or accidentally, breaking any tradition at
Notre Dame is an absolute no-no. Aspiring attendees of this prestigious university are made
aware of what they can and cannot do, especially with respect to superstitions, as soon as they
arrive on campus. Those unfortunate few who unwittingly break the traditions receive
disappointed headshakes from current students, who know that such mistakes will almost
certainly come back to haunt the prospies when it comes time to apply to Notre Dame.

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Despite the fact that many of the traditions are false, the lengths which people will go to
in order to preserve them here at Notre Dame are somewhat remarkable. Stand near God Quad
for two minutes, and youre guaranteed to see people sticking strictly to the paved sidewalks,
regardless of any wonderfully crunchy leaf piles on the grass just looking to be stepped on, or
whether it would be more direct to just cut across the grass. Look up at the Golden Dome and
you will see current students avoiding walking up the front steps by going through the side doors
in order to enter the building. In the end, this goes to show how important traditions, even ones
that arent necessarily true, are to the people here at Notre Dame.
For our video, the intended audience was the Notre Dame student body; specifically, the
students who are overly superstitious about Notre Dame traditions. In order to reach our intended
audience we incorporated well-known Notre Dame traditions, like avoiding stepping on God
Quad and not walking up the front steps of the Golden Dome, and then satirized them. The
subject of our video was focused on a very specific topic because, satire, in general, focuses on
situations specific to a given society and period (Ziv 40). We satirized a current problem that
occurs in the Notre Dame society; a problem that most likely would only be understood by
people who associate with Notre Dame. Additionally, we used humor as a way to interest the
college-age audience we were trying to reach. One common tool we used in our humor was
hyperbole. By exaggerating the consequences of Notre Dame traditions, we attempted to
illustrate the ridiculousness of the traditions in the first place. Not only did humor function as a
way to interest the audience, but it also functioned as a social corrective. In order to show this,
we incorporated some techniques from Zivs Social Function of Humor and tried to use laughter,
as a tool of correcting and improving society (38). Our hope was to use humor as a tool not

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only to make the audience laugh, but also to allow the audience to reevaluate their own actions
and superstitions based on what they were laughing at.
The concept of our project was to create a public service announcement warning people
of the potential consequences of breaking famous Notre Dame traditions, such as stepping on
God quad and walking up the front steps of the Golden Dome. By making the video a public
service announcement, we tried to build up the credibility of how serious it is to break Notre
Dame superstitions. In our video, we had a narrator giving the audience a background on what
these Notre Dame traditions were and how if you break them, there will be consequences. We
also had over-exaggerated testimonials of people who broke these Notre Dame traditions, with
one person who turned to a life of crime after stepping on God quad and another person
becoming homeless after walking up the front steps of the Golden Dome.
Our video is meant to be a satire on how ridiculous people can be about following Notre
Dame superstitions so religiously. According to a book written by Ziv, the satirist is not content
with the world as it is; or, more precisely, he is not content with certain things in it, which to him
seem black. In his attack he blackens them yet further, in the hope that after blushing with due
shame they will turn white (40). In our case, we blacken the Notre Dame traditions by
exaggerating how people act when walking on God quad and also by exaggerating what happens
to those who fall victim to stepping on God quad or walking up the front steps of the Golden
Dome. In the video, we had Claire swerving on the sidewalk as she was texting and suddenly,
she almost steps on God Quads grass. We had her react in a dramatic way, looking frightened
and raising her foot carefully so as to not step on the grass. We exaggerated her reaction in order
to further prove the point that people can be crazy about strictly obeying Notre Dame traditions.
For the victims themselves, we had the person who stepped on God quad become a drug lord

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who is currently incarcerated for possession of 100,000 dollars worth of cocaine and the other
person who walked up the front steps of the Golden Dome become a homeless person after
getting evicted from her home. By having the victims lives down spiral out of control so
quickly, we were trying to be extreme in how your life can change after breaking the Notre Dame
traditions.
Through the outlet of a public service announcement video, our group tried to show how
ridiculous Notre Dame traditions are by satirizing them. On the surface, the satire we used was
meant to make the audience laugh; however, it was also a useful way to cause the audience to
think about why some people are so obsessed with certain superstitious traditions at Notre Dame.
Throughout the video, our main goal was to convince our audience that believing in and
following Notre Dame traditions is pointless. Nowadays, in our modern world, it is hard to
believe that people still follow such silly traditions, but they do. Our hope was that our video
shed some light on how ridiculous the myths behind the traditions are, and possibly force some
Notre Dame students to change their minds on whether to follow these traditions anymore.
The majority of people here at Notre Dame can agree, without a doubt that these
traditions are pointless; however, for some reason, the traditions still hold significance for certain
people. In order to persuade these people to during our video, we included a
counterargument. According to an article about the benefits of using counterarguments,
paradoxically, the more you give voice to your critics objections, the more you tend to disarm
those critics (Graff and Birkenstein 75). Our counterargument focused around the idea that the
Notre Dame campus is beautiful and by following these traditions it can continue to be beautiful.
If we refrain from walking on God Quad and respect the front steps of the Golden Dome, we are
not only following Notre Dame traditions, but also helping to maintain the beauty of our campus.

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We tried to illustrate this point by always showing the narrator, Tess, standing in front of the
beautiful Notre Dame campus, instead of actually on the campus.

Works Cited
Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in
Academic Writing. New York: W. W.Norton, 2006. 74-87.
Ziv, Avner. "Humor as a Social Corrective." Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum
3rd ed. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen, eds. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and
Company, 1988. 26-43.