One of the films in this year’s Student Film Festival, “Bye Bye Birdie,” followed a pet owner in his search for an appropriate final resting place for his dog, Birdie, diagnosed with a fatal illness. A scene near the end of the film shows Birdie’s owner accidentally running over an animal (not Birdie). Viewers are then treated to a shot of the road-kill. In the credits the producers said, “No animals were hurt or killed in the making of this film. We found it that way.” . . . Trucks from ESPN, CBS and other networks with sports divisions are familiar sights around the Joyce Center but seeing one from QVC was a surprise. Last November 10 the home shopping channel broadcast live from the arena’s upper concourse offering Fighting Irish apparel and autographed collectors items for sale. The occasion: the 75h anniversary of Rockne’s “Win One for the Gipper” speech. . . . Six Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s alumni signed a letter to the editor early last December expressing their appreciation for a former mentor of theirs: former American studies adjunct professor Jack Powers. The long-time South Bend Tribune editor, who retired from teaching two years ago, died in late November at age 75. “His writing and editing class was a journalistic boot camp,” wrote the alumni, who included past Observer staffers. “This tough old man with a booming voice laid down the commandments of precise writing. We were never to write ‘over’ when we meant ‘more than,’ label snow ‘the white stuff’ or use the term ‘decimate’ unless something had been cut by exactly one-tenth.”. . . For the first time in memory, both the incumbent student body president and vice president chose not to run for re-election even though both, being juniors, were eligible to do so. President Jeremy Lao, who ascended from the vice president’s post in mid-year when the elected president, Pat Hallahan, graduated early to take a job, told The Observer he wanted to concentrate on his studies in finance next year. The VP, Hallahan’s former chief of staff Emily Chin, said she wanted to study abroad. . . . The voting for Lao and Chin’s replacements reminded some of Bush-Gore 2000. No ticket won a majority in the initial round of voting, so there was a run-off of the top two tickets. But then neither of them won a majority in the runoff because 7.5 percent of voters voted to abstain. By rule the election was thrown into the Student Senate. But this was only a formality because Senators, each representing a residence hall or the off-campus student population taken as a whole, were required to vote for the ticket that won the most votes in their dorm or district. The Senate vote went 15-13 in favor of junior engineering majors Adam Istvan (president) and Karla Bell, who’d also won the popular vote in the runoff. The second-place ticket was headed by junior Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC programming executive Dick Ebersol, who failed to win for the second consecutive year despite being endorsed by The Observer both times. An interesting aspect of the runoff balloting was the gender divide. Istvan won only three women’s halls while and Ebersol won only three men’s. . . . It used to be you could count on student government elections to give the spotlight to candidates with droll proposals like enslaving freshmen or repealing the law of gravity. No more. Last fall student reps voted to increase the number of signatures a candidate must gather to appear on the ballot from 300 to 700. That discourages less-serious office-seekers. . . . Student Government has proposed that the University publish the results of Teacher-Course Evaluations or TCEs, which students fill out in every class at the end of the semester. Committees of the Academic Council and Faculty Senate are studying the idea, but no decision is imminent. In the meantime, students can post their own ratings of individual professors and review the opinions of others at NDToday.com. . . . Volleyball twins Jessica ‘04 and Kristen Kinder ’04 made the cover of Sports Illustrated on Campus last October. A pair of head shots of the sisters was inset on the front page as a tease to a feature inside on twins playing collegiate sports. Earlier in October, Keough Hall’s annual chariot races made the magazine, which is an insert in student newspapers nationally. . . . Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has received 16 prestigious fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1999, the most of any university. Additionally, a report by the National Research Council found that in the past four years only four universities—California, Berkeley; Princeton; Chicago; and Michigan—have received more fellowships from a group of 16 funding agencies surveyed. . . . Athletic Director Kevin White was the only college AD to make The Sporting News’ annual Power 100 list of “sports industry heavyweights.” Last August White was ranked third in a Sports Illustrated.com list of the 20 most powerful people in college football. Tyrone Willingham was 19th. . . . The 2,800 men’s basketball season tickets set aside for student purchase sold out in a record 4½ hours. . . . Something was missing from this year’s 28th Keenan Revue. It wasn’t raunchy humor or singers with unreliable pitch sense. It was the giant illuminated electric-guitar-shaped sign that for years provided a snazzy backdrop for musical numbers. Rector Mark Thesing, CSC, ‘81, ’85M.Div., ’92MBA said the sign was a victim of dry rot. Stage hands ruled that it was too dangerous to hang and might break apart and fall on someone, so into the trash it went. . . . Speaking of endings, during the final night’s show, the duo performing the “Ballad of a Domer,” about a male resident who gets caught in an act of self-gratification while surfing the Internet, decided to extend the song by a few verses. The new lines followed the ballad’s hero out on a date. The performers appealed to the audience and stage hands at the start of their performance not to cut them off early. But someone in authority, apparently sensing where the lyrics were headed, pulled the plugs on the lights and microphones. . . . It was damagingly cold in South Bend at times this winter. About 500 of the library’s periodicals were ruined in early January when water-filled heating coils in the ceiling of the first floor froze and burst. The problem was traced to a pair of faulty dampers that let in 3-degree outside air. Later in January a sprinkler in the attic of the LaFortune Student Center burst from the cold. Dripping water damaged the DJ booth in the ballroom and offices directly below. . . .The men’s swimming team devised an eye-catching way to show its support for the women’s volleyball team this past season. During the last several home matches of the women’s season, a dozen members of the swim team would sit in a row at one end of the stands. After every point or so scored by the Irish they’d remove a shirt or a pair of shorts. Games are played to 30 now in college, so that required lots of layers. When the women Irish reached 30 the swimmers would pull off their final pair of boxer shorts, revealing their uniform Speedos with “Irish” written across the posterior. While the “Victory March” played they would then jog a lap around the mezzanine or head up to the bleachers and do 30 pushups in formation. . . . Members of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Club gather every Sunday night in O’Neill Hall to watch recordings of their namesake TV program, which ran for years on Comedy Central and then the Sci-Fi Channel. MST 3K, as it’s known by fans, featured awful movies, usually of the science fiction genre, that three characters (two of them robots) ridicule incessantly while the film is being show. The characters are supposed to be marooned on a spaceship. . . . Each fall Campus Ministry designates one Sunday as “Solidarity Sunday.” The day is supposed to highlight the campus’s avowed “spirit of inclusion” for gay, lesbian and bisexual students, faculty and staff. This past year Solidarity Sunday was supposed to be November 9 (the weekend of the Navy game). But because of a breakdown in communication, the date ended up being designated Mission Sunday as well. As a result, on November 9 students involved with the inclusiveness movement stood outside the Basilica waiting to distribute special Solidarity Sunday prayer cards Sunday as congregants exited. Inside the celebrant was delivering a homily praising the efforts of Holy Cross missions and taking up a collection for their work in Bangladesh. Mission Sunday is always scheduled for a football weekend to capitalize, so to speak, on the larger crowds.