Situated just miles from one of the most prestigious and scenic universities in the world, Bethel College students have opportunities to enjoy a taste of Notre Dame. Whether it’s in the athletic stands, fine arts arena, historic buildings or social scenes, there’s always an opportunity to participate - it’s just a matter of knowing how.
Even Bethel’s non-Irish fans enjoy ND athletics, since the Irish and their Division I opponents present a level of competition seldom seen on NAIA fields. In return, the Notre Dame Athletic Department has taken a mutual liking to Bethel students; they offer discounted tickets and promotional deals to make attending more affordable. Men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball and volleyball tickets can all be purchased for just $3, while hockey and men’s and women’s basketball tickets go on sale around December. While Notre Dame Football doesn’t make this list, there are still affordable ways for Bethel students to participate in the hype. For example, every Friday before a Saturday home game, students can attend a 6 p.m. pep rally in the Joyce Center. A few hours later, Notre Dame’s drum-line entertains fans on the steps of the Golden Dome at midnight, bringing in Game Day Saturday with true Fighting Irish vitality.
“I have gone to one of the drum-lines…and that was really fun,” said junior Whitney Neuenschwander. “Once it started, everyone participated in the traditional Notre Dame songs and dances. It felt like I was experiencing a part of Notre Dame history!”
Academic and artistic opportunities are also abundant on the other side of Twickenham Blvd. The library, one of the largest in the country, welcomes Bethel students with 14 floors of books, quiet study space and unfamiliar faces – perfect for cracking down on homework. Bethel students are also able to check out books with their student IDs, thanks to a joint library program between the two schools.
“I always feel accomplished when I leave Notre Dame’s library,” said sophomore Aubrey Cowser. “It’s so much quieter over there, and I’m never tempted to talk to friends since everyone’s a stranger. It’s the perfect Finals Week atmosphere.”
Saturday Scholar Series are also open to the public in the fall, featuring diverse topics with an academic spin. Past examples include "Missal Alert: Preparation and Implementation of the New Translation of the Roman Missal," "Bridging the Atlantic: The Struggles of an Abandoned 19th Century Irish Village," "Building Peace in a Violent World: What I've Learned in Five Decades as a Peace Scholar," "The Poetic Curve of Nature: Connecting Literature and Science," and "The Apartment Plot: Fantasies of Urban Living in American Movies." These seminars are free of charge and take place home game Saturdays. A complete schedule can be found at calendar.nd.edu.
Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art and DeBartolo Fine Arts Center also present a variety of artistic opportunities for the community. Many FYE blocks and Perspective in Fine Arts classes have taken group trips, while theatre students occasionally find work there. All Bethel students can increase their appreciation for the arts for a discounted price from their Irish neighbors.
For self-guided entertainment, students can utilize the winding sidewalks in Notre Dame’s historic campus. Whether going for a run or leisurely walk, the scenery will inspire, delight and entertain. And with Notre Dame’s new Eddy Street Commons located on the south edge of campus, a relaxing stroll can become an evening out, complete with dinner and shopping (and who wouldn’t love that?).
“I just really like to walk around and take in the atmosphere of the campus,” said Neuenschwander. “The campus is absolutely beautiful, especially this time of year, and I love to take pictures and soak it all in.”
“My favorite part of visiting campus is the atmosphere,” said sophomore student Christen Wegener. “It's so beautiful; it's clearly got the college atmosphere going on, but at the same time it is a sacred place. I just get this sense of wonder when wandering around there, especially inside the administration building and Basilica.”
For students drawn to Notre Dame’s sacred ambiance, the Basilica is open to the public for mass and personal prayer. The Grotto also welcomes visitors with the hallowed glow of numerous candles in a cave-like setting.
“All in all, I love having Notre Dame close to Bethel because of its prestige and atmosphere, said Neuenschwander. “There's just something special about knowing that you can drive four miles away and experience all the University of Notre Dame has to offer.”