2018 started out with quite a bang for Notre Dame! With the start of the semester, our new student center opened. The Campus Crossroads Project broke ground in the fall of 2014 and is nearly finished. The purpose of this project was to take an iconic Notre Dame tradition, the Notre Dame Stadium, used roughly ten times a year, and make it a campus staple for students. Now students will visit the stadium, and the buildings built in the expansion, daily.
The Duncan Student Center, housed on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium features a wonderful new addition of eateries, offices, and opportunities for students. If you are planning on visiting campus in the next couple of months, I highly recommend leaving some time to wander through the many floors of the Duncan Student Center. Below you will find a brief description of some of the coolest features.
Welcome to Duncan
The first floor has every type of study space/common areas you could imagine. There are group study rooms that are open for students to reserve. The frosted windows of these group meeting rooms are modeled after the floor of the Main Building. There are seating options galore from booths to tables to a section of stadium seating sprinkled with outlets for students to post up, study, and chat.
One of my favorite features is a giant fireplace among the seating areas, which is both relaxing and creates a ‘homey’ feel in the communal space. Two must-sees are the wooden planks detailing the walls (resembling shiplap—any “Fixer Upper” fans?) and the student artwork displayed throughout the first floor. The wood is actually strips of the old benches taken from the stadium before new benches were installed during the stadium renovation.
Great Places to Eat
There are three new places to eat in the Duncan Student Center. The eateries were chosen based on students’ request for more healthy food options. The Hagerty Family Café features not only Intelligentsia coffee, but also a variety of food including crepes and smoothies. Modern Market (a chain created by a Domer!), or Mod Market if you want to sound ‘in the know,’ offers farm-to-fresh food options. Pro tip: I have heard the Merida salad is amazing. The final eatery is Star Ginger Asian Grill and Noodle Bar, which offers flavors from Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. Pro tip: The Thai Iced Tea is refreshingly delicious.
Ways to Workout
If you walk up the stairs next to the wooden stadium seating, you will eventually hit the Smith Center for Recreational Sports. As an admissions counselor who is also a fitness instructor at Notre Dame, I was thrilled for the new space to open in January. In the new center, there are four fitness studios that host group fitness classes from yoga to dance fitness, barre, weight lifting, and pilates, along with a new cycling studio. There are 116 new pieces of cardio equipment and 47 new pieces of weightlifting equipment (see the full list here). Also featured in the new center are a 1/6 of a mile track, basketball course, and a state-of-the-art climbing and bouldering wall—all things that you can take advantage of as a Notre Dame student.
The Awesome New Career Center
During your time as a Notre Dame student, one floor that you will become well acquainted with is floor five, the Center for Career Development. More than 500 employers visit campus each year to recruit, interview, and ultimately hire Notre Dame students for jobs and internships. In order to accommodate these employers, the Center for Career Development has more than 40 interview rooms.
The center offers an abundance of resources such as career fairs, mock interviews, networking tips, resume and cover letter feedback, major and career discernment, etc. It aims to engage undergraduate and graduate students in exploring their interests and various career paths, as well as prepare students for life after Notre Dame. Ninety-eight percent of our student are placed in a job, graduate school, the military, or a service program within six months of graduating, and I think that much of that success is due to our innovative career service offerings.
The remaining floors of Duncan Student Center are comprised of administrative offices, student organization spaces, and spaces dedicated to football—premium seating, club seating, etc. And there you have it—a very brief tour of the Duncan Student Center. The space is gorgeous, so if you do have time during your trip to South Bend, take a wander through the many floors and offices. Not only will you be introduced to many resources available to our students, but it is also a wonderful place to feel the energy and spark of the Notre Dame community.
I also recommend that you stop students while walking through the building and ask them their favorite things about the University of Notre Dame. The best way to learn what it is like to be a Notre Dame student is to ask them! I am always pleasantly surprised how willing students are to talk about their experience, their passion, and their pride in being part of the Fighting Irish community.