University launches new community resource website

Author: Dar Cutrona, ND Works

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If you’re looking for a new place to try out for dinner or a local landscaper, you’re in luck. A new, comprehensive website gives a glimpse of the culture and services offered at the University and surrounding area.

Funded by the Office of the Executive Vice President, informs both the curious and newcomer with helpful information neatly organized by category (arts, education, dining, government, health, housing, parks, religion and travel). More than 1,500 businesses and organizations are included on the site, which also integrates Google Maps to show a location’s proximity to Notre Dame’s campus.

“The goal of the site is to connect people in the ND community to resources and opportunities in the South Bend/Elkhart region,” says Linda Kroll, associate vice president in the Office of Budget and Financial Planning. “This is a great place to live and work. is a great way to share this information more broadly.”

Kroll, who chairs the Early Childhood Development Center Standing Committee on behalf of Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves, says that the idea for the site originated with the committee. The group had recognized, for instance, that while South Bend offers many options for child care and other resources, those entities are often difficult to identify when new to the area or when seeking a service for the first time (e.g., a new parent looking for child care). The committee recommended gathering all the information in a single, accessible place.

Elizabeth Clark, an analyst in the budget office, built the first prototype of the website by collecting a repository of links to child care, schools, summer camps and recreation options. More defined, the idea was shared with Linda Costas, director of talent and engagement in Human Resources, who quickly recognized the project’s value in enhancing employee recruitment and onboarding as well as community engagement among longtime employees.

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Mandy Kinnucan, a contract employee in Internal Communications, was tasked with populating the site. Her research for the project uncovered more than 20 online listings with community resources for targeted Notre Dame audiences. Many of the sites were outdated or incomplete, which built the case for something new.

Kinnucan surveyed recently hired faculty and staff to gauge what influence a community resource site would have on acclimating to Notre Dame. The results were overwhelming positive.

“My research and survey results supported the idea of creating a robust, continuously updated site to fit the needs of a diverse Notre Dame community,” Kinnucan, now the academic program director for the Alumni Association, says. “ addresses several audiences: those considering coming to Notre Dame; those new to Notre Dame; and those who have been at Notre Dame for a while, but are looking for new things to do or discover in the area.”

The site is linked to Google and updated regularly. Visitors to the site can share comments or suggestions for new content.

Originally published by Dar Cutrona, ND Works at on October 26, 2016.