A two-minute video that will air to more than 4 million viewers Saturday during the halftime of the University of Notre Dame-Temple University football game highlights a unique university-community collaboration.
"Fighting for My Hometown" features South Bend native Andrew Wiand, one of seven graduates of Notre Dame's entrepreneurship master's program who stayed in the city for the past year as fellows in the first enFocus program.
This is my city," Wiand says in the video. "My grandfather worked in the factories here. My parents met and fell in love here. ... I grew up with the knowledge that behind the façade of empty buildings was a spark of innovation that made this city great.
"I've always been proud of South Bend's past, but I'm even more proud to be part of its future."
The priceless national exposure demonstrates the synergy of Notre Dame and the city, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who also appears in the video, said in an interview.
"Here's a chance to have literally millions of people learn about good things happening in our city," he said. "Any time you have that kind of exposure, I think it reflects very well on the community. It's also a great way to highlight what's been a very productive partnership between the university and the community."
The enFocus program started last year after students in the master's program talked to community leaders about opportunities to collaborate on innovative projects for sponsoring government and business institutions and to find entrepreneurial solutions to community challenges.
"The goal of the enFocus program is to capitalize on the student body here at Notre Dame and to bring an entrepreneurial spirit and cutting-edge technology skills to the real-world problems that we have in the community," David Murphy, associate dean for entrepreneurship and director of the program, says in the video.
The work saved local institutions an estimated $3.2 million, including more than $1 million for the city fire department. In an interview, Murphy said enFocus' success has won attention from university officials, leading to its selection for the video.
"There's a lot of conversation going on around the campus right now," he said. "It could be in any city. This is a scalable model that we could bring to other parts of the state and other parts of the country."
Buttigieg said he expects some viewers, including alumni and residents who have not returned recently, will be surprised at the new view of the city.
"These entrepreneurs are solving real-world problems, they're saving taxpayer money and their energy is contagious," he says in the video. "The city needs allies and we're very glad that we have an ally at Notre Dame."
ND Entrepreneurship, 8/31/13