NOTRE DAME -

Thousands of Notre Dame students are coming back to campus this weekend.

"I just moved in yesterday," said Senior Michael Hunckler.

Hunckler is one reason why many local businesses are thrilled that school is almost back in session.

"Business leaders are thrilled that students are coming back this week," said President and CEO of St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce Jeff Rea. "It's a real asset that we have here, and it makes a difference for businesses who rely on that."

A study by Notre Dame shows that the university brings in more than $1 billion every single year to the local economy.

But students, just like Michael, bring in at least $120 million each year.

"The dollars they earned back home during the summer they are now spending here in our local economy," says Rea.

Hunckler spent the summer doing research at Notre Dame and spent some of his earnings doing something unique.

"This summer, I built a segway," said Hunckler. "It was about $200."

The report shows that students spend an average of $2,000 each school year. Hunckler says he spends less than that and is very price conscious when it comes to eating out.

"Most people are just looking for something relatively inexpensive," said Hunckler.

Rea says Notre Dame and South Bend are constantly working together to better the community.

"In the last 20 years, there has been a very concentrated effort to connect into the community," says Rea. "I've seen students be more connected, very engaged from everything from Boys and Girls Club to the homeless shelter."

Hunckler is also involved in service within Notre Dame. He says it's something he wants to bring to the South Bend community.

" I feel Notre Dame and the South Bend community are very intertwined together," said Hunckler.

Rea says he has seen relations between the two, improve vastly.

"They've recognized that for Notre Dame to be a top university and attract the students and faculty they need, they also need a top notch community around them," says Rea.