Student government hosts South Bend Scavenger Hunt
Genevieve Redsten | Wednesday, December 4, 2019
For students who are looking for a study break or a change of pace, Notre Dame’s student government is hosting a scavenger hunt of the South Bend area. Students who visit the five sites on the Fall 2019 scavenger hunt list — and submit photo evidence — will be entered into a raffle for a prize.
Junior Jessica Reeg and sophomore Erica Maggelet organized the scavenger hunt to promote the South Bend Adventure Guide, which the department of student engagement and outreach launched in August. The guide provides a list of sites and events students can explore in the South Bend area. The department hopes the scavenger hunt will help publicize the guide, as students share their experiences on social media.
“As the department of community engagement and outreach, one of the biggest things we wanted to do is try to get more and more kids involved in the South Bend community — not just as a place to volunteer — but actually be a part of the community and go out, eat at local restaurants and shop and visit parks,” the department’s director, Alex Yom, said.
Yom said he hopes the South Bend Adventure Guide can help bridge the divide between the Notre Dame and South Bend communities, encouraging students to step off campus and experience the city’s culture.
“We saw there’s kind of a gap in between the availability of things to do in South Bend and not many people knowing about how to get there or what to do,” Yom said. “So we wanted to kind of fill that gap by developing a guide where people could turn to see, ‘If I’m looking to go off campus, this is somewhere I could go.’”
Yom said the South Bend Adventure Guide offers “all kinds of different activities for students to do if they’re looking for a break from the everyday routine on campus.” He noted that students can now visit South Bend’s Howard Park, which had its grand reopening on Nov. 29.
As a fun way to explore the city, Reeg encouraged students to check out “First Fridays” in downtown South Bend. Every first Friday of the month, she said, downtown South Bend has a themed showcase of events, restaurant deals and a different monthly theme.
Although this semester’s scavenger hunt ends on Dec. 13, Reeg said the department is planning a spring scavenger hunt for next semester. She said she hopes students will take the opportunity to explore the community.
“A lot of other schools have big college towns, especially state schools,” Reeg said. “And I think that there’s a tendency for Notre Dame students to stay within their little safe bubble, not really leave campus much because, in theory, you could really stay here — we have restaurants, we have things to do. And a lot of dorm culture stays on campus so [students] don’t even really go out socially too.”
Sophomore Emma Kerr said she thinks many students have stigmas and preconceived notions about the city of South Bend.
“I wasn’t sure about the South Bend area coming to Notre Dame, especially as a lot of my friends were going to big and bustling cities,” Kerr said.
She said she would be interested in the scavenger hunt and hopes other students will take the time to engage with the South Bend community in meaningful ways.
“There’s a lot going on in the city,” Kerr said. “And I think that sometimes kids just don’t take that initial step into the community.”
Yom said the department of community engagement and outreach wants to foster a culture of engagement between students and the South Bend area. Currently, he said the department is developing a partnership with the Moreau First-Year Experience program, and they plan to put the South Bend Adventure Guide on next year’s Welcome Weekend app.
“We’re trying to build a culture of getting off campus and enjoying the South Bend community from your first year on,” Yom said.
Before the semester comes to an end, Reeg encouraged all students to visit the scavenger hunt locations and DM their photos to @sbadventure_guide on Instagram.
”[If you win the raffle], you get a gift card to Rocco’s Pizza — which is also another place on the guide,” Reeg said.