An Underrated Sanctuary at Notre Dame: McWell

You’ve all probably been to McWell your freshman year for Moreau class. If you’re like me, you probably thought, “wow, this place is so nice and there’s free coffee and snacks? I really need to come back here.” Then you got busy and overwhelmed with classes and work and friends, and you promptly forgot about returning to McWell. If you’re looking to reclaim much-needed peace in your life, you should seriously make an effort to hit up McWell again. 

First off, a few reminders about how and when you spend time in McWell. Or, if you skipped out on that Moreau class, some new information. McWell is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays and is located on the second floor of St. Liam Hall. Just bypass the poor wheezing sick kids in the waiting room on the first floor, and head upstairs to the awaiting sanctuary of health and McWell-being

As soon as you walk in the door, you can smell the soothing scent of essential oils and a delicious cup of Cinnabon-flavored coffee brewing (if I’m there, you’ll definitely smell this). There will be someone kind and welcoming working at the front desk or floating around to help you like a lovely angel. Everyone who works at McWell is terribly nice, so don’t hesitate to approach them with any questions or concerns you might have. 


You’re free to hang out in the snack/reception area and munch on the complimentary trail mix and fresh strawberries, or make yourself a cup of coffee, hot cocoa, cider or choose from about twelve different teas they keep on hand. If you want to up your McWell game, however, you (and your friends, if you feel like dragging them along) can also reserve a “Restorative Room” to hang out in for up to 2 hours. Just go to and click on “Reserve a Space” to book a room ahead of time. Your options are the Fort, the Break Room, and the Living Room. Each of these spaces is uniquely and perfectly conducive to relaxation. 

The Fort is best for alone time. It’s perfect if you need a place to escape your nightmare freshman year roommate, a quiet place to meditate or pray or a distraction-free environment where you can get some serious studying or reading done. The Break Room has arts and crafts, knitting, a Wii with video games and a record player. If you simply want to take a break from schoolwork and have some fun, the Break Room is for you. The Living Room is the biggest room. It works well if you have a group project that you need to work on for class, or you and your friends just want a relaxing place to hang out in for an hour or two. You can’t go wrong booking any of these rooms, and you’ll leave any one of them far more relaxed than you arrived. 

Finding a calm, peaceful place to relax on Notre Dame’s bustling campus can be difficult. Between classes, schoolwork, friends and living in the dorms, it can be a challenge to find a place that brings you peace and calm. Just remember,  McWell is an easily-accessible resource that can function as your much-needed “happy place.”  


Photos 12, 3.


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