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Hall of the Year

| Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Monday night, the Hall Presidents Council had the honor of announcing the 2016-2017 Halls of the Year at the Student Leadership Awards banquet. This was a year of abundant growth and firsts for Hall Presidents Council, as we welcomed two new Halls into our residential life community. Hall Presidents Council would like to provide insight about this year’s residence life transformation up to and including the award determination.

We, Hall Presidents Council, are a group of 30 sets of hall presidents and vice presidents that serve our individual halls and collaborate to cultivate the Notre Dame community. Our executive board consists of six former hall presidents: co-chairs Elizabeth Feeley and Christina Fernandez, athletics chair Shannon Riley, finance chair Carlos Covarrubias, and social chairs Cory Jbara and Ellen McCourt. Our purpose is not only to circulate information from other campus entities to the residence halls, but also to serve as a forum for collaboration and ideation. In creating a supportive environment throughout the year, we created a platform for candid discussion of hall community matters as well as opportunities for collaboration between halls, making our campus community feel more connected. In doing so, we hope to have facilitated the growth of Notre Dame students personally, as members of their hall community, and as members of the communities beyond the hall. Hall Presidents Council also allocates funding for signature events, and for the first time, this year we had every residence hall plan and execute a signature event, and some even executed multiple. This year, we had 61 signature events across campus, and 18 of these events were new. These signature events raised over $60,000 dollars for organizations locally and abroad while providing opportunities to unite our campus community.

This year, the Hall of the Year calculation included 55 percent hall of the year presentation (47.5 percent presentation score, 5 percent Hall Council visit, and 2.5 percent resident testimonials) and 45 percent Rockne (35 percent total of seven monthly Rockne scores, 5 percent signature event form, and 5 percent favorite event form). Using this as a lens, the Hall of the Year review board was able to understand how each unique hall community flourished this year. Final scores will be made available online.

The first award, Women’s Hall of the Year, was awarded to Farley Hall. Its approach to community-building began first and foremost with its residents this year, and the positive change that rippled from this strong community of women seemed almost effortless as a result. From “Girls Night In” events to faith-based discussions led by residents each week, Farley consistently showed its dedication to the personal growth and development of each woman throughout the year. Its emphasis on unity is best reflected in the frequency with which Farley brought its residents together, whether to share a meal through family cookouts and community dinners or to participate in campus events through the always highly-attended walkovers. Farley succeeding in fostering a tight-knit community that constantly made residents want to engage with one another for the sake of sharing life together.

Farley Hall collaborated with a number of other groups in its efforts to provide quality programming and affect positive change including the She’s the First organization, the Order of Dominican Sisters, and its signature charity Hannah and Friends. Farley also spent time welcoming others into its community by hosting faith based and social events with its brother and sister halls. This welcoming energy extended to the whole of campus and is most notable in Farley’s Signature Event, Be Fine Day. The intentionality shown by this Hall in framing its event this year in an inclusive and positive manner sparked organic, meaningful conversations about human perception, mental health, kindness and much more. Thank you to Lauren Suanee, Lydia Piendel and Carly Gray for a truly fine year.

2016-2017 Men’s Hall of the Year was awarded to Carroll Hall. Its weekly men’s group which gathered every Wednesday to engage in discussion about the important issues in life, along with its weekly Monday night prayer which capped off the first day of every week, truly targeted the hearts and minds of each resident. Carroll’s passion for others was evident in its service to the Boys and Girls Club twice a week. An area in which Carroll showed great success was in using its amazing outdoor spaces to provide alternative programming for its residents. Every Friday, Carroll hosted cookouts on its front lawn. When it got too chilly for cookouts, they began hosting Tournament Fridays in which they held billiards tournaments, Super Smash Bros. tournaments, and so on.

Carroll did not shy away from showing its spirit and brotherhood to campus by hosting three signature events this year. It kicked off its term last spring with the second-annual Lakeside Music Festival which they co-hosted with Badin Hall. In November, Carroll co-hosted a sand volleyball tournament with Lyons Hall in which it raised money for the Notre Dame Veterans Fund. In December, it spread Christmas cheer as they do every year by hosting Carroll Christmas. Furthermore, it proved to be the most collaborative hall by traveling to the third floor of each women’s hall and one men’s hall in order to share its intense Third Floor Abs workout regimen with the rest of campus. Congratulations to Andrew Rebholz and John McCormack along with the rest of the Carroll Hall community for an amazing year.

Finally, the 2016-2017 Hall of the Year is Stanford Hall, led by Andrew Foster, Matt Geenen, and George Krug. They began their term with two main goals: to establish a signature event that could become an annual tradition, and to provide more service opportunities for its residents. However, its two goals grew quickly into many more as Stanford realized how it could effectively meet the needs of its residents. Service opportunities in Stanford grew exponentially with monthly opportunities available with the South Bend Center for the Homeless and collaborative opportunities with Circle K and the St. Vincent dePaul Society.

Programming toward personal development of residents and ensuring a variety of resident needs and interests were met was exemplary. This included a Majors Night where upperclassmen shared their wisdom with underclassmen about the majors available on campus, a weekly card night where residents gather after Thursday mass to play a variety of card games, and section snacks which provided opportunites for section bonding.

All forms of spirit were abundant in Stanford Hall this year whether it was athletic spirit or holiday spirit. The residents of Stanford ensured that those who were staying on campus for Thanksgiving still had the opportunity to feel at home and surrounded by family by serving a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Around Christmas time, Stanford hosted a Christmas party with its sister dorm, and also held an ugly Christmas sweater contest within its community. Stanford Hall not only showcased its athletic spirit by supporting a variety of Notre Dame varsity teams, but also by taking the stadium by storm and claiming victory in the interhall football championship.

Stanford Hall strives to create men of virtue and has dedicated the last three months to the three qualities it believes cultivates a man of virtue: mind, body and spirit. To nurture the mind throughout the year, this hall hosted Stanford Series in which it invited special guests to discuss important issues with its residents. Furthermore, it hosted a TED Talk event with its sister dorm. The importance of body was brought to life through its new signature event: The Irish Iron Classic. This event is a weightlifting competition designed to promote a healthier lifestyle which was able to raise over $1,000 for the Center for the Homeless. Stanford has just entered into its month of spirit in which it is focusing on being introspective and growing in its faith.

Congratulations to these three halls and the remaining 27, each of which deserves genuine acknowledgement. We are grateful for all that you did to cultivate and transform our campus community this year. Thank you to all who contributed to Hall Presidents Council’s mark on Notre Dame for the 2016-2017 term.

Hall Presidents Council
April 11

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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