Mayor and student body talk differences at "Town and Gown" event - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mayor and student body talk differences at "Town and Gown" event

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Improving the relationship between the University of Notre Dame and the City of South Bend was the goal of leaders who met on campus Thursday.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is a South Bend native, said he has never seen a better relationship between the two sides and is excited to see a strong partnership continuing.

The night was not all lollypops and sunshine though, both sides did discuss the issues they have.

The student body acknowledged they need to do a better job when they come to Notre Dame as Freshman to explore the City. The Mayor said that could start with improving the perceptions of safety and other concerns students have with South Bend.

According to the Mayor the relationship between the city and the university is starting to look better by all accounts.

Both sides credit the success of the Eddy Street Commons over the last few years with improving some of the issues the two sides have had before. Mayor Buttigieg thinks the shopping area's prosperity is a strong indication that students are interested in what the city has to offer.

"Our job in the city and downtown especially is to create some gravitational pull," said Mayor Buttigieg. "If somebody started to explore the city by tip toeing over that invisible line on Angela onto Eddy Street we need to give them a reason to keep tip toeing down the hill and into downtown to see what our city has to offer."

Notre Dame Student Body President Alex Coccia says the market is there to improve the relationship. Coccia, who was just elected to lead the student body a few weeks ago, and said during his campaign many students expressed an interest to him to get out in the community.

Coccia says one of his main goals is to get students to explore more of what the city has to offer.

Both sides agree the night was just a small step in actually addressing some of the issues the two sides have. However, both Mayor Buttigieg and Coccia seem more than willing to work together and continue improving the university and city relationship.

Mayor Buttigieg offered some ideas on how to get students more involved in the community.

One was that instead of doing study abroad programs involving helping others, students could get similar experiences by working with community service projects in South Bend.

Buttigieg also offered some pointers on places to eat that are a bit further from campus. He said one of his favorites is a place that's just called "Tacos" citing it's salsa bar as the main reason to try it.

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