University of Notre Dame

ND Ignite -  a group of events and activities that are designed to engage you in meaningful interactions with Notre Dame faculty and resources, and to provide you with an opportunity to contribute something of your own to our intellectual and cultural communities.


  • Audience: Targeted to all first-year students.
  • When: Ongoing throughout the students' first year.
  • Frequency: Uses a variety of formats from one-hour talks to informal group discussions, and interactive workshop series to online contests and challenges. Individual events are offered throughout the year and often on a monthly basis. Typically, ND Ignite sponsors three to six events each month during the academic year.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: 600-700 students from a class of 2,000 voluntarily participate each year.
  • Student Characteristics: All first-year students no matter their background are invited to participate in ND Ignite events.                                        

Funding & Operations

Funding provided through the First Year of Studies budget.

  • External Support: None
  • Operations: ND Ignite has an operating budget of $33,000 for the 2014-15 academic year.


ND Ignite is a program of co-curricular events and activities that encourages our first-year students to make their own intellectual and cultural contributions to a wide variety of Notre Dame communities. ND Ignite fosters meaningful engagement between students and faculty; it connects students with university resources beyond the boundaries of the classroom to create an integrated culture of self-exploration, learning, and service. All ND Ignite events bring students into contact with faculty members and other first-year students in informal settings. In both on campus venues and faculty homes, students encounter peers and instructors in new ways. ND Ignite introduces students to the world of intellectual discourse, gives them a chance to get to know people outside their major and field, and helps them develop a network of relationships where they can share interests and ideas. 


The First Year of Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the collegiate home for all first-year students, has offered a variety of student engagement events since its establishment in 1962. The ND Ignite program, our initiative to create an integrated set of events to foster first-year intellectual and personal development outside the classroom, began in 2010. ND Ignite emphasizes engagement with university faculty, career exploration, performing arts, community service, cultural competency, and personal reflection. 

Recommended Resources

ND Ignite Home Page:

In creating ND Ignite and in planning individual events within the program, we focus on three questions which animate the student’s first year experience:

1.)    Does the event encourage student and faculty engagement outside of the classroom?

2.)    Does the event encourage students to make connections to the local and campus community?

3.)    Does the event encourage reflection and discernment as well as add value to the student’s first year experience?

Using these questions as a guide in creating our events and building the program provides a consistent measuring stick with which to frame the opportunities ND Ignite aspires to develop and maintain for our students.


Funding is provided through the First Year of Studies budget. ND Ignite has an operating budget of $33,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. 


Anonymous feedback will be solicited from all attendees on the quality of events  and their value in enhancing their first year experience. These data will be used in the overall assessment of the ND Ignite program.