‘Here’: A campaign with a call to action



As the University begins a new phase of its reopening plan, a new initiative launched this week to deliver updates to students, faculty and staff. (Watch video.)

Simply titled “Here,” the messaging campaign seeks to evoke the strong sense of place tied to Notre Dame’s campus, while also providing a versatile platform to communicate the protocols associated with the beginning of the fall semester on campus Aug. 10. The campaign launched as the University moved to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, with a series of videos, emails, social media posts and a newly redesigned website, here.nd.edu.

The inspiration for the campaign came from a primary feature of University life: The residential campus experience as a central part of Notre Dame’s educational mission.

When in-person classes were suspended in March, it touched off a jarring — though necessary — transition for students and faculty. “Here” is a word that takes on new meaning after a period of separation, in this case from the campus and community we cherish. The word embodies the aspects of Notre Dame that people who study and work at the University know intimately, but can’t always articulate. There is a special feeling that comes from being here, learning here and growing here. This sense of community is difficult to replicate in a world where Zoom is the classroom.

Notre Dame provides an unsurpassed undergraduate experience because it provides an unparalleled community. And community is not an accident here. It is intentional and inherent to the University’s identity as a Catholic research institution. This not only calls for our best as we pursue and create knowledge, but informs how that pursuit is undertaken. There are few places where these ideals live symbiotically, where the mind is cultivated at the same time as the heart. One of them is here, at Our Lady’s University.

As students return for classes Aug. 10, and faculty and staff return in incremental stages before and after that date, this community has a new shared responsibility to care for the health and safety of each other, both on and off campus. The Here campaign will be the vehicle for delivering resources and information that will assist in that work.

A few of the tactics of the campaign have already launched. One is a weekly Thursday email that includes a recap of the previous week’s news and announcements. Another is perhaps the most visible manifestation of the Here campaign, vibrant green and white signs across campus that deliver reminders about important safety measures as well as the University’s core mission: “Here we wear a mask,” and, “Here we practice physical distancing” and “Here for a world deeply in need,” to name a couple.

Created by an inter-divisional team of University employees, the Here campaign will theme the entire academic year. Audience-specific tactics and products will be launched across multiple media and the website, here.nd.edu, will be constantly updated to provide the latest information.