The Working Relationship Between Notre Dame and South Bend

By Allie Hoerster and Madison Riehle

Before the University of Notre Dame’s economic and social influence gained traction, South Bend thrived off of the business and jobs created by the Studebaker automobile plant. At its height, the company employed 7,000 people, which was eight percent of South Bend in 1960, according to the Studebaker National Museum.

When the plant closed in 1963, both the population and the economy took a hit, with 20,000 residents leaving the city over 40 years, putting South Bend on Newsweek’s 2011 list of “America’s Dying Cities.”

The run-down Studebaker plant in southern South Bend. Credit: St. Joseph County Public Library.

Despite this, due to recent pushes and changes in South Bend’s government and the sustained effort of new Notre Dame programs, South Bend is transitioning.

“The city is growing and developing, it has some really positive areas.” said Jackie Burns Rucker, Associate Director of Community Relations for the University of Notre Dame. “It is a thriving community that has a large alumni population here, and has a really rich history.”

The city of South Bend and the University of Notre Dame are inextricably linked by a long-standing symbiotic relationship. As one of the largest enterprises in the St. Joseph County area, Notre Dame plays an integral role in the city’s economy, which makes community outreach initiatives and programs measures all the more important.

logo-knightlab-stacked-dark-smallJuxtapose: Take a look at the development of Eddy Street Commons over the last 14 years.

“There’s a symbiosis between the community and the University that we recognize more than ever, and I think communities around the country are recognizing this, so we talk a lot about the mutual benefit of our partnerships in a way that we can use our expertise on campus,” Jay Caponigro said, Director of Community Engagement in the Office of Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame.

The Office of Public Affairs is just one of the ways that Notre Dame has involved itself in the community. Its goal is to build, maintain and support the community of South Bend by engaging Notre Dame students with city residents. The projects that the Office of Public Affairs executes revolve around the education and enrichment of South Bend children.

map-marker-iconStoryMap: Look into some of the volunteer initiatives and outreach programs Notre Dame is involved with in South Bend.

“Our after-school program is very diverse—we will host events here at the center, and we have an after school program that is 2nd through 4th grade,” Rucker said about the Center for Arts and Culture. “Within the after-school program, the first hour is literacy based and the second hour is arts and culture enrichment. I utilize art and culture to try to help build relationships.”

The Center for Arts and Culture is just one of the many sites that Notre Dame students and faculty invest their time. More than 945,850 hours of community service work is performed by more than 2,250 Notre Dame students and more than 360 University faculty and staff during the 2014-15 academic year, according to a 2016 economic survey of Notre Dame.

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Center for Arts and Culture in West South Bend, which is home to a multi-purpose room for after-school programs and an art gallery. Credit: Madison Riehle

Similarly, academic courses engage students with the local community through entrepreneurship opportunities and funds, as well as community-based research, which is run by the Center for Social Concerns and includes an out-of-classroom service element.

“With the community-based research, you see a lot of Catholic social teaching coming up as part of the justification for getting involved in those projects,” Caitlin Hodges, Notre Dame Student Government Director of Community Relations, said. “That’s the language you’ll see replicated at just about every level of Notre Dame when they are doing something like that.”

This kind of engagement is understood as growth in human capital — and is the most important factor for economic growth, as it leads to higher educational levels and future funds.

Aside from time investments, Notre Dame is the leading employer in the South Bend area, employing around 5,700 South Bend residents. In fiscal year 2015, the University spent nearly $168.5 million on purchases of goods and services, excluding construction, from businesses in St. Joseph County, according to a report on a 2016 economic survey of Notre Dame.

175x175bbBubbli: Step into South Bend’s Southeast Neighborhood.

“We know that we have to have infrastructure locally that will attract people to come to Notre Dame,” Caponigro said. “We want to make sure there are learning opportunities in the community, not just on the University campus.”

Notre Dame also focuses its community efforts on maintaining the overall look of the community, as well as ensuring that student housing does not override affordable housing in the neighboring areas.

This includes the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, which aims to build residential housing off of Eddy Street Commons through in the Triangle Residential District. Notre Dame is also making strides to maintain housing through the Notre Dame Avenue Housing Project.

Current construction on one of the homes on Notre Dame Avenue. Credit: Madison Riehle.

“I think that’s a big conversation right now with gentrification,” Hodges said. “what happens when so many students are moving off-campus, and there’s a really good market and that’s how you’re going to make money, but that used to be a house where a family could have afforded to live. It’s not good or bad, but it’s balancing and sometimes it feels like it’s not very well-balanced.”

Through this kind of mutually beneficial relationship, the city of South Bend has grown, both in population as well as technology as the city’s population is up for the first time since 2000. Along with this, projects like Innovation and Ignition Park have begun to expose the area to new creative solutions to city problems, as well as provide support for student and local entrepreneurs.

“At the end of the day, it’s important for our leadership at multiple levels,” Caponigro said. “If our community doesn’t succeed, Notre Dame will not succeed — not at the level that we want to.”

History of the FIFA World Cup


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Over the course of 84 years, the World Cup has made sports history with its suspenseful matches, unforgettable wins, rough losses, and various controversies. Some of the highlights include India playing a match without shoes, the Jules Rimet trophy being stolen in London, and West Germany upsetting undefeated Hungary.

View more historical World Cup moments in the complete timeline here.



CDC Report: America’s 10 Cities Dealing with a Drinking Problem

Men’s Health Magazine used findings from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to compile a list of ten cities in the U.S. dealing with drinking problems. The list takes factors like liver disease and damage, binge drinking, deaths in DUI-related crashes, DUI arrests, and stringent DUI laws into account.

Fresno, California was near the top in every measure of dangerous drinking, including the body count caused by booze-fueled car crashes, the number of arrests made for driving under the influence, the number of people who admit to binge drinking in the last month, and the severity of DUI penalties. For the full list, see here.

Notre Dame Selects 2017 Commencement Speaker

On March 2, the University of Notre Dame announced that former Governor of Indiana and current Vice President Mike Pence will be this year’s commencement speaker. Many students are taking to social media and creating petitions to express their frustration with the University’s choice of Pence.

While it is University tradition for the President of the U.S. to speak at commencement, the chaotic political climate of the Trump administration led Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University, to ultimately choose Pence over Trump. This Storify highlights some of the community’s backlash against Pence.

(Photo by South Bend Tribune)

13 Breathtaking Midwestern Hikes

One of my favorite things to do in the warmer months of the year is hike, but I often have a hard time finding places that are mountainous enough for a hike in my home region, the Midwest. Although the Midwest is known for its flat, rolling land, it is also home to craggy bluffs and hilly nature paths. There are many hidden spots throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio that are worth adding to your travel bucket list.

If you find yourself wanting to see some wildlife and beautiful scenery on a sunny day, take a look at this map of gorgeous trails and parks. From sandy dunes to rocky cliffs and waterfalls, the Midwest has more hiking to offer than you may think.

Google Trends: Politics and Pop Culture

There has not been a shortage of news in the recent months, especially with the new Trump administration in place. When President Trump announced his travel ban at the end of January, the Google search terms “travel ban” exploded. As time went on and people began to take interest in other happenings, though, the popularity of the search terms trailed off.

For example, the 59th Grammy Awards are taking place tonight, February 12. I thought it would be interesting to see how many people are Googling “Grammy Awards” as opposed to “travel ban,” especially because the Grammys are so popular. It turns out that as of now, the Grammys are receiving more Google traffic than the travel ban is.

I was not only interested in the general trend of both searches, but also which regions the searches were coming from. I was fascinated by these maps—many countries (for example, South America, Russia, and portions of Northern and Eastern Europe) searching for the Grammys are not searching for Trump’s travel ban. Furthermore, the very countries involved in Trump’s travel ban are searching for Grammy-related news. This shows the importance of popular culture in the 21st century, even in the midst of chaos and serious political tension.Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.22.52 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.23.17 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-12 at 5.23.09 PM.png

This sparked my interest in regional Google searches on topics related to Trump’s travel ban and immigration policies. I tracked “travel ban,” “deportation,” and “illegal immigration” in the U.S. over the past year. They were all relatively stagnant over the course of 2016 until November, when they spiked due to events of the presidential election.

As of now, February 2017, these topics are being searched for a lot more frequently. Travel ban-related searches skyrocketed at the end of January, and deportation and illegal immigration-related searches are also higher than they previously have been. The U.S. searches are mainly about illegal immigration, as shown on the map below. As Trump continues to try and restrict immigration in the coming months, it will be interesting to monitor these search topics.

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