Caitlin Hodges is a junior at the University of Notre Dame and an advocate for arts-based community development. She has been an active participant in the South Bend community since arriving at Notre Dame, especially through her involvement with The Bridge Project. This student-founded community development group is dedicated to addressing the gap between university students and the city of South Bend. She currently serves as the president. Through The Bridge Project, Caitlin has worked alongside other community development groups and leaders in South Bend to finance, organize, and execute a wide variety of cultural events throughout the city. Caitlin has also worked extensively on the University's campus to promote meaningful student engagement in South Bend, whether that be through organizing student-band expos downtown, promoting public transportation ridership, or meeting with students one-on-one to discuss community engagement. Caitlin is a humble yet committed leader capable of enacting both social and physical change as she pursues a future career in urban planning and development.
Even though I was raised in a relatively rural environment, I have been interested in urban development and infrastructure for most of my life. After taking a few architecture courses that seemed to ignore the racial and economic inequalities of urban landscapes, my college career centered on reconciling issues of urban decay, the development of physical spaces, justice, and a belief in the power of artistic culture as cities seek new identities for themselves in the post-industrial era. My involvement with the South Bend community has completely transformed my understanding of spaces. These are the lessons I will carry with me as I consider the physical and social dimensions of urban life as an urban planner.