Kevin Song | The Observer The Irish Guard performs alongside the Band of the Fighting Irish in the Sept. 8, 2012, game against Purdue. The Guard has been restructured to include band members only, eliminating the height requirement of 6’2”.Pemberton said he was concerned that the changes could affect the history and tradition of the Guard, which has existed since 1949, according to the band website.“I would hope that the significance of the Irish Guard within the band would become more prominent as a result of these changes, as that was their intended effect, but I can’t help but feel that [the Guard’s] significance on campus and as a symbol of the strength, integrity and athleticism of Notre Dame and of the Fighting Irish will slowly diminish as a result of these changes,” Pemberton said. “Regarding its legacy, this may be the end of a long line of Guardsmen who, for 65 years, have passed down the stories, techniques and respect for the uniform that originated with John Fyfe.”“While there will still be kilted members of the band to lead it onto the field and perhaps perform Damsha Bua, our victory clog, much of the lore and pageantry that has become a large part of the pregame ritual on fall Saturdays will be lost,” he said. “There are a lot of little things that go on that spectators wouldn’t necessary notice, but have become very significant for Guardsmen and their friends and families.“For example, just as the band is setting up for [the] concert on the steps and before we march in our ranks onto Bond Quad to meet them, we take a moment to halt in the middle of God Quad and salute Mary on top of the Golden Dome. It’s the little things that make marching out every week so special to all of us and to all of the Guard alumni — many of whom come back to greet us every week and treat us as their own kids.”The Irish Guard began as a group of students who played bagpipes with the band, according to the band website. Dye said drawing members from current band members would move the group closer to its historical tradition.“[We are] going back to where it started, where [Irish Guard members] were musicians in the band,” he said. “That was continued for a couple of decades and then it strayed from there. It does have musical roots, and we are going back to our roots.”Dye said no other eligibility requirements would be changed other than the elimination of a specific height requirement.“Next year’s Guard will all be very tall in stature, but we don’t want to put a number on a person,” he said. “So next year’s Guard will probably be visibly just as tall, but we … don’t want to ever number a person because a lot of it depends on their poise and how they stand and their posture and we want to make sure that there is a uniformity in look — that we maintain that tradition — but we don’t want to put a number on it.”Dye said the new process will allow for more leadership opportunities within the band, a large group that he said has proportionally fewer leadership roles than other campus clubs. He said changing the policies to require one year of service in the band as a performer or manager will allow potential Guard members to demonstrate their commitment to the group.“We’re looking for the qualities of the student,” Dye said. “We’re looking for a student that has fabulous service to the band and the community, great attendance and citizenship in the band — someone that has proven themselves in the organization for a minimum of one year, preferably longer. With the current system, there really isn’t that time to assess their leadership qualities and participation in the band.”Dye said he hopes making the Irish Guard a more leadership-focused position within the band will give the position added prestige.“We hope that [new Irish Guard members] are model band students and model Notre Dame students, so that when you say ‘Irish Guard,’ and you’re interviewing for job, that this is the kind of person you want for a manager or a CEO of a company,” he said.Associate News Editor Jack Rooney contributed to this report.Tags: history, Irish Guard, Kenneth Dye, marching band, Notre Dame, tradition The Irish Guard, the kilted group of marchers who meet a six-foot-two height requirement and perform with the Band of the Fighting Irish, has undergone significant changes for the upcoming football season, Guard captain and junior Andrew Pemberton said.“The Irish Guard will continue to be a section within the band, but will now be reserved for members who demonstrate at least one year of service and leadership as a musician or manager,” Pemberton said in an email. “The new plan likens the Irish Guard to drum majors or band president, with the goal of making membership in the Irish Guard a one-year honorary position.”Dr. Kenneth Dye, director of bands, confirmed the change in the selection process for new Guard members. He said the band staff invited the 2013 Guard members to audition for the 2014 football season but chose to select an entirely new group from current band members based on the idea that serving on the Guard will now be a one- to two-year commitment.“We interviewed the [previous Guard members] who decided to apply and then we told them recently that we were going to start with a new group,” Dye said. “… The idea is not to have four-year Irish Guard members or three-year Irish Guard members.“We want to limit it to something that is done as a special leadership opportunity that is perhaps one or two years in duration. [The 2013] group has already served one or two years, and we thought that that was fair.”Dye said he and the band staff, with the approval of the Office of Student Affairs, believe restricting membership in the Irish Guard to current band members and managers will increase their level of commitment to the specialized group.“We’re trying to elevate the responsibility of the Guard so that they exemplify the best qualities of a Notre Dame student,” he said. “… If we pick from the membership of the  Guard rather than from an auditioning membership at the beginning of the fall, then we know what their record and habits and citizenship are, and it gives us a stronger pool of applicants and participants to really put the best people that we have in front of the band.”
Just when parents thought head lice were the only insects to invade classrooms, bed bugs have been added to the list. Hotels are typically the place that comes to mind when bedbugs are mentioned, but the critters like book bags, too. Bed bugs began making national news about three years ago. While they don’t carry disease, the pests are notoriously hard to get rid of, and just the suggestion that bed bugs might be in your home is enough to make most people’s skin crawl. They also carry a stigma that prevents people from telling their friends or their children’s teacher that they are battling bed bugs at home. “You could say that your house is surrounded by mosquitos and your neighbors would think nothing of it, but you don’t want them to know you have bed bugs,” said Paul Guillebeau, an Extension entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “But bed bugs don’t have anything to do with sanitation. It doesn’t mean that a house is dirty or not cared for.” While the bugs can’t be transferred from human to human, there have been reports of them hitching a ride to school in students’ book bags — and book bag to book bag transfer could be possible. School officials only notify parents when there is a serious chance one child’s bed bugs could have infested another child’s book bag, which is not common but is possible. When parents learn that one of their children’s classmates brought bed bugs to school, the first thing they should remember is not to panic. There are practical steps and precautions they can take to make sure their child doesn’t carry bedbugs into the house, Guillebeau said. If the school sends home a letter notifying parents that someone in their child’s class brought bed bugs to school, parents should not let their child bring their back pack inside the house. Leave it on the porch or in the car, he said. “If I received notification from the school about bed bugs, I would immediately wash and dry my child’s clothes when they arrived home from school. And I would not bring any items inside before a thorough inspection or treating the items to a heat treatment,” Guillebeau said. Simply leaving the book bag in a closed car during the hottest part of the day or emptying the book bag and placing it into a hot dryer for 45 minutes should kill any bugs. If you do notice bites on yourself or your child, or see bed bugs inside your house, the first rule of dealing with bed bugs still applies: Don’t panic. The bugs are hard, but not impossible, to control. You will, however, have to call a professional exterminator to handle the problem, Guillebeau said. “It’s just not a situation that amateurs can take care of themselves,” he said. While bed bug treatment can be pricey, it may be less expensive than repeatedly trying to kill the bed bugs yourself. Consumers should be careful about who they hire to exterminate bed bugs, Guillebeau said. Not all pest control companies have experience with bed bugs, so make sure to ask the company you’re considering about their experience with bedbugs, and don’t be afraid to ask for references. There are a number of bed bug resources available including Georgia Department of Public Health handbooks and fact sheets available at http://health.state.ga.us/epi/zvbd/infest/index.asp.