October 14, 2010 Work that Matters—and Contributes to the Common Good

By Architect Marianne Cusato ’97

I like my work to matter.

I want to make a difference in the world. I do this for a few reasons—because I care about making the world a better place, I am in a position to be heard, and selfishly, because it makes me feel good. My time at Notre Dame, both in and out of the classroom, taught me that working for the common good is something we can all do every day.

I design homes for a living. My goal is to build communities and cities where we can live and prosper sustainably for a triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit.

How and where we live in our home and communities is at the core of who we are as individuals and as a society. Everyone deserves to have a place to live that is dignified, sustainable, and within their means.

If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it is that the formulas we use to define wealth and value are not set in stone. As awful as the last couple of years have been, they present an opportunity to reflect and press “reset” on a system that has not worked. Much of what went wrong is centered around my profession, the home building industry.

My hope is that in working together for a common good, we can learn from the past—assess where things went wrong to build a better tomorrow.

Author: Marianne Cusato '97

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