The Notre Dame student government South Bend engagement committee held the first on-campus farmer’s market this past Friday, Sept. 16. The event featured local South Bend restaurants, artisans and vendors.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Fieldhouse Mall, students could purchase food from Vegan Bites by Jas, Purple Porch and Mom’s Keiflies. They could also shop for handmade jewelry and art from Skye is the Limit and Gems of Pride.
Student government director of South Bend engagement and senior Quinn McKenna said items available for purchase ranged from kombucha to handmade jewelry to Polish pastries.
“Purple Porch had a variety of food including, but not limited to, premade sandwiches, brownies, blueberries, paw paws — a fruit native to Indiana, kombucha and specialty sodas,” she said.
The farmer’s market was the first event held by the South Bend engagement committee, a new body added to student government by the Lee-Stitt administration this academic year.
McKenna said the goal with the farmer’s market — as well as with the South Bend engagement committee as a whole — is to expose students to what South Bend has to offer.
“This department aims to pop the ‘Notre Dame bubble’ and move students to engage with the community in ways other than service,” McKenna said. “South Bend has a very vibrant and creative community, and this department was created to expose students to more of that. Therefore, this market acted as a means of introduction to some local businesses in the hopes that students would venture into the community independently to explore more of what South Bend is all about.”
Sophomore Andres Alvarez, a South Bend native and member of the committee, said about 500 students, faculty, staff and campus visitors checked out the farmer’s market Friday.
Alvarez said many vendors sold out more quickly than expected due to the event’s higher-than-anticipated turnout.
“Some [vendors] were creating more products as they were sitting in their chairs because they were selling out so fast, and others had to return to their shops to get more inventory,” he said. “We learned from the farmer’s market that the Notre Dame community wants to shop locally.”
He said the popularity of the event was encouraging for his committee as they plan future events to engage students with the South Bend community this year.
Currently, he said, the committee is in the process of creating a “South Bend Passport”, which will serve as a guide to introduce students to off-campus restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and other local businesses.
Alvarez said they are also working to invite local community members to campus to teach students about the history of South Bend
“Even though we are Notre Dame, we all should take the time to listen to some prominent voices in the neighboring community.”
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