Recent Sophomore Class President and Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar Patrick Smart didn’t think he would end up at Notre Dame. Two of his older siblings are Notre Dame alumni and he had hoped to do something different, rather than follow in their footsteps. Throughout his college search, he looked at other schools. He still applied to Notre Dame—for good measure—and he was admitted.
In the process of deciding which school to attend, Smart and his dad sat down and made a list of the things he was looking for in his college experience. At the top of his list was making an impact.
“The number one thing I said was that I want to go to a college where I’m not just there to learn. I’m there to actually do something in the world,” says Smart.
In the end, he chose Notre Dame for the University’s reputation as a force for good in the world.
“Notre Dame has a commitment to making a difference. You’re not just here to get an education. You’re here to be a leader. You’re here to give back to the world,” says Smart.
One of the ways Smart recently employed this philosophy was as sophomore class president. As of last school year, it was his greatest source of involvement at Notre Dame.
The job required a lot of event planning, meetings, and interacting with other students, as well as collaborating with offices and services across campus. Along with his vice president and best friend Libby Eggemeier, Smart has planned events like dances, a pumpkin-smashing event last October, and a class-wide dodgeball tournament in February.
Every week, his administration wished a Happy Birthday to those in the class with birthdays that week. They also run a LinkedIn page just for their class.
For Smart, his work with the sophomore class was about togetherness. “This [was] kind of our last year when [we were] all definitely together on campus,” he says. “Junior year, some people go abroad and senior year, some people move off campus. So [last] year, we really wanted to embrace this idea of all being together.”
Smart finds and builds community in other ways on campus too. He is part of the Glynn Family Honors Program, through which he has met some of his best friends. The program is an intellectual community that brings together small groups of students for classes, provides research opportunities, and offers individualized advising.
One of Smart’s favorite classes at Notre Dame was his Glynn Honors Seminar with Professor Eileen Botting. “It was on artificial intelligence and political theory and topics like that and I was so blown away,” says Smart. “But the thing about the Glynn program is that you get so close with everyone in your class. It’s just so much fun and I really like that community aspect of it.”
Smart also loves his residence hall community. He lives in Fisher Hall and says his hall community has become like an on-campus family unit. “My closest friends live across the hallway from me and our hilarious late night conversations are some of my best memories at Notre Dame,” he says.
In addition to fully experiencing the Notre Dame community, Smart has taken advantage of some exciting opportunities, like traveling to Ireland for two months to intern with Notre Dame’s Irish Internship Program.
Watch the video above to learn more about Smart’s Notre Dame experience.