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Howard wins Hall of the Year

Anna Boarini | Wednesday, April 4, 2012

While students fiercely contest which residence hall is the best dorm on campus, only residents of Howard Hall can truthfully make that claim this year.

Hall Presidents’ Council named Howard the 2012 overall Hall of the Year on Tuesday night. Carroll Hall was awarded men’s Hall of the Year, and Ryan Hall earned women’s Hall of the Year honors.

Seniors Jay Mathes and Billy Wardlaw, executive co-chairs of Hall Presidents’ Council, said they modified the Hall of the Year selection process this year to “make it a more democratic voting process,” Mathes said.

Wardlaw said each hall gave a presentation to Hall Presidents’ Council, and the winners were chosen based on a point system.

Howard Hall was recognized as the best dorm on campus for its development of a family atmosphere this year, Wardlaw said.

“This year, they had a new hall staff and hall government, and they really tried to create a family environment in Howard, to make it feel open and welcome,” he said.

Sophomore and Howard co-president Clare Robinson said she felt she reached her goal of “making Howard a better place to live.”

“[Howard co-president] Shelby Hood and I ran on the platform of bringing a little Disney magic to Howard,” Robinson said. “We started with a completely new hall staff, so when we started this year, we really did start fresh.”

Mathes said Howard’s collaboration with other halls, clubs and groups on campus also factored into their win.

“It was the overall collaboration and accomplishment with other groups and clubs,” he said. “Their work was consistent and exceptional this year.”

Carroll Hall was named men’s Hall of the Year for its dorm unity and spirit, junior and former Carroll president Andrew Owens said. (Editor’s Note: Owens is an assistant managing editor at The Observer.)

“Carroll Hall won men’s Hall of the Year with an extreme amount of unity and spirit that is unparalleled anywhere else on campus,” he said. “It is great to see the rest of campus realize what we’ve known for awhile.”

Wardlaw said one contribution to Carroll’s win was the number of students the hall retained from last year.

“Carroll had one of its highest retention rates this year,” he said. “Lots of people leave due to the location, but they have really been able to foster the community.”

Ryan Hall earned women’s Hall of the Year honors for its commitment to its goal of upholding the mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross, “making God loved, known and served” throughout the year, Mathes said.

Wardlaw said the Ryan community also upheld the mantra “Ryan Go Bragh,” or “Ryan Forever,” in all its activities and initiatives.

Junior and Ryan Hall president Chrissie Diebold said the hall community wanted to demonstrate their investment in the campus community by hosting some campus-wide events and collaborating with other dorms.

“We’ve done a great job this year and really come together as a dorm,” she said. “We hosted the September 11th Room of Remembrance in [LaFortune Student Center] with other dorms the weekend of 9/11,” she said. “And we collaborated with Pangborn to host an event for non-juniors on Junior Parents Weekend. We had an inflatable obstacle course and mechanical bull.”