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Cavanaugh Hall earns top award for dorms

Jenn Metz | Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Hall President’s Council honored Cavanaugh Hall with the Hall of the Year award last night at the Student Leadership Recognition Banquet; Lyons and Keough Halls took home Women’s and Men’s Hall of the Year, respectively.

Junior Jess Mahon, Cavanaugh’s co-president, said her residence hall’s spirit and sense of community contributed to their win.

Last year, the Chaos won honorable mention in the Women’s Hall of the Year race, and the women won this year’s Hall of the Fall.

“This year was such a group effort,” Mahon said. “We had amazing commissioners – everyone just worked really hard.”

She listed monthly dorm events, signaling Cavanaugh’s dedication to “making each event the best it could be.”

The entire dorm’s involvement and spirit made Mahon and sophomore Melissa Truitt’s job as co-presidents, Mahon said.

Cavanaugh’s signature events, like their April Dance-a-Thon and Father- or Mother-Daughter Weekend, made their application stand out, she said. A new event added this fall, Cavanaugh-Zahm Family Week, which featured social, liturgical, academic and multicultural events with their brother dorm.

“We had tons of participation from Cavanaugh and Zahm,” Mahon said. “The Week was really well received.”

The Chaos’ commitment to going green, with its many environmentally focused events, also added to its application, she said.

A testament to the residence hall’s sense of community: Mahon said the girls had set up a texting-chain, excited about the results being announced. By the time Mahon and Truitt returned to Cavanaugh, they were greeted with a crowd and a home-made poster.

“It really represents what Cavanaugh is all about – a community of women who work so hard together really makes Cavanaugh a great community to live in,” Mahon said.

Truitt echoed her co-president.

“It really was just a team effort. Cavanaugh is an amazing place to be,” she said.

The girls plan to continue their programming into the next academic year.

Junior Alan Geygan, Keough Hall president, said he was most proud of his dorm’s transformation this academic year.

“Probably the biggest thing was this is the first time we’ve won,” he said. “This will really get us out in the open. People sometimes forget about Keough on West Quad.”

Geygan said the Kangaroos improved on their hall programming, putting on their signature Chariot Race that received a turnout of over 300 people, with 18 residence halls besides Keough represented.

The addition of a dorm lecture series, featuring administrators and key figures at Notre Dame, ranging from University President Fr. John Jenkins and University Presidents Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy to Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick.

The dorm’s representatives at the Banquet were as well received as Cavanaugh’s when they returned to West Quad.

“As soon as we got back, the guys were excited. We have a good community over here, we care about each other,” he said.

The award shows all the work Geygan and the men from Keough have put in this year, he said, citing an entire dorm effort, with over 30 participants in weekly Hall Council meetings.

“We wanted to put Keough on the map – not only on campus, but in the dorm. We built dorm pride and got people excited,” he said. “To see people slapping hands and celebrating Keough at the end of the year is huge – they’re proud of the dorm and not just their sections.”

Lyons hall president junior Duda Cardoso was equally thrilled at the news of the award.

“We’re really happy,” she said. “I can’t stop smiling.”

The entire residence hall worked hard all year, she said, citing the commissioners’ work on programming.

Lyons’ new event this year – September’s Cirque de Lac – drew many participants, and the expanded Mara Fox Run and alcohol awareness events added to their application, Cardoso said.

“Every dorm thinks they’re the best dorm ever, but Lyons is a really unique, tight community. Everyone in the dorm knows each other, everyone helps each other,” she said. “The dorm is really united, and I think that’s the main thing that showed through in our application.”