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Seniors celebrate last days at ND with traditional activities

Marisa Iati | Friday, May 20, 2011

Senior Kate Callison has something left on her Notre Dame “bucket list” that she does not want to graduate without doing — and it has to do with “Twilight.”

“One more thing on the list is taking my life-size Taylor Lautner cut-out around campus and taking pictures with it in fun locations,” Callison said.

As their undergraduate days dwindle, seniors like Callison are checking items off their bucket lists and participating in Senior Week activities sponsored by student government. Senior Class Council (SCC) president Kate Clitheroe said her classmates would spend their last week as Notre Dame students attending a free kick-off barbeque, dancing at the Commencement Ball, striking down pins at Chippewa Bowl, taking a final class trip to the Grotto and heading to Cedar Point.

The seniors also had the opportunity to attend a Chicago Cubs game, which is usually one of the more popular events sponsored by the SCC.

“Every year they do the Cubs game and about half the class goes,” Clitheroe said.

Sunday’s game in Chicago, however, was rained out and postponed until June. Some students headed back to campus while others stayed in the city and enjoyed the evening despite the cancellation.

This year’s SCC also added new activities to the Senior Week agenda, Clitheroe said.

“We’re pairing with Old2Gold to do a service project. We’re going to have a drop-off location off-campus. Another new thing is we’re trying to organize a discount program where companies from around town allow seniors to come in and get 20 percent off,” she said.

The class trip to Cedar Point Monday was also a change. In the past, seniors traveled to Six Flags Great America.

Caitlin Casey, Senior Week Committee chair, said the location of Commencement Ball Tuesday night was also new.

“This is the first year that we’re doing the commencement ball in Club Naimoli in the Purcell Pavilion,” Casey said. “We’re excited about it because it’s a new location, and it’s nice to have the ball on campus.”

Callison said she was looking forward to the Commencement Ball, which has the reputation of being a dance where couples either declare their undying love for each other or break up for good.

“I’ve heard that it’s been a dramatic and an emotional event in the past, so I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the senior class in one place,” she said.

While a last class trip to the Grotto is a long-standing tradition, Casey said SCC added a new piece to the event this year.

“We’re doing a booklet take-away,” she said. “It’s called the Senior Wisdom Project, and it’s words of advice about what they would tell underclassmen about their experiences at Notre Dame.”

Clitheroe said Senior Week also gives students the chance to explore campus as undergraduates for the last time.

“Seniors go a lot of places they have never been like the 14th floor of the [Hesburgh] Library, the [Notre Dame] Stadium press box and the [utility] tunnels,” she said.

Callison said she completed most of the items on her bucket list this year after taking a tour of the utility tunnels with her section in Ryan Hall and visiting every chapel on campus.

“One thing I still want to do is go into the Law Library because undergraduates aren’t allowed there,” she said.

As senior Matt Peterson looked back on his four years of college, he said he was grateful he was able to travel to the University of Southern California to watch the Irish beat the Trojans this year.

“I was also going to do the Hesburgh Challenge, but besides that, [I] just [want to see] everyone that helped shape my past four years,” he said.

Senior Katie Shircliff said she checked off several items on her Notre Dame bucket list this year, as well.

“I got to go to the Dome Dance, which was really fun,” she said. “I also had a goal of getting something published while I was here, and I had a poem published in ‘Lost Piece,’ which is the journal that the Arts and Letters kids have.”

There is still one more item she has to cross off her list before she graduates, though.

“I’ve always wanted to fly a kite on the quad, so hopefully I’ll get to do that over the next few days,” she said.

During her last days at Notre Dame, Shircliff said she was most looking forward to the last class visit to the Grotto Thursday.

“I think it will be a special time when we can all come together to celebrate our friendship and the experiences that we’ve shared at Notre Dame,” she said.