Fighting Irish Initiative helps lower-income students get to game day

NOW: Fighting Irish Initiative helps lower-income students get to game day

NOTRE DAME, Ind. —- Notre dame is ensuring under-resourced students get the full Notre Dame experience with the Fighting Irish Initiative program. 

Created in 2016, it gives hundreds of students the chance to experience a Notre Dame game without having to worry about the cost. Each year since it’s founding, the program has added more and more scholars.

Consuela Howell, the Director of Student Enrichment at Notre Dame, explained that the program bridges the gap for lower-income or first-generation students to get to game day. 

“We provide resources, programming, and social support for our first-generation, under-resourced students at Notre Dame,” Howell said. 

The program helps students cover the costs of things like football tickets, laptops, winter clothing, and other necessities central to student life.

“If they can have certain experiences like being at football games, or joining clubs that they’re very interested in, that’s adding to their experiences here beyond their academics, which is just as much a part of the college experience,” Howell said. 

A Fighting Irish Scholar since her Freshman year, Tiffany Rojas said the program helps her balance her college life in a way that allows her to do more of what she loves on campus. 

“It takes the financial stress aspect out of it. Coming in you start worrying about how am I going to pay for this? Or how do I do this?” Rojas explained. 

The program has made it possible for her to attend every home game with her friends and do things like touchdown push-ups in the student section.

"Going to football games is very much central to the Notre Dame experience," Rojas said. “Being able to go with my friends makes me a more normal part of the Notre Dame community. I feel that had I not had that I would have felt left out.”

Helping students like Rojas is what Howell says the Fighting Irish initiative is all about.

“They’re out there, and they’re bonding with other students, and they’re able to take part in Notre Dame traditions, and that’s why we do what we do,” Howell said. 

There are two ways students can receive help from the Office of Student Enrichment. Students can apply online for assistance through the opportunity or experience fund or be selected to become a Fighting Irish Scholar like Rojas. 

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