On Hall of the Year
Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 8, 2016
After last night’s announcement of the three 2015-2016 Halls of the Year, Hall Presidents Council would like to provide background about this year-long process of promoting residence life, up to and including the award determination. The year has been a frenzy of community building for each of Notre Dame’s 29 halls.
We, Hall Presidents Council, are a group of 29 sets of Hall Presidents and Vice Presidents that serve our individual halls and collaborate to bolster the Notre Dame community. Our Executive Board consists of six former Hall Presidents and Vice Presidents: Co-Chairs Meredith Fraser and Seamus Quilty, Athletics Chair Erik Siegler, Social Chairs Brigid Mumford and Ted Cogan and Finance Chair Joseph Schneider. Our purpose is to serve as an information disseminating body, to provide a social marketplace for members to discuss matters of residentiality and to coordinate programming among residence halls. In short, we hope to ensure that students of Notre Dame are developing personally, as members of the hall community and as members of the community beyond the hall. Hall Presidents Council also allocates funding for Signature Events. In the 2015-2016 academic year, there were 77 residence hall Signature Events, 11 of which were new this year.
This year, the Hall of the Year calculation included 55 percent Hall of the Year Presentation (47.5 percent Presentation score, five percent Hall Council visit and 2.5 percent resident testimonials) and 45 percent Rockne (35 percent total of seven Rockne scores, five percent Signature Event form and five percent Favorite Event form), some of which was new this year. Using this as a lens, the Hall of the Year Review Board was able to evaluate the degree to which hall communities flourished this year. Final scores will be made available online.
The first award, Women’s Hall of the Year, was awarded to Walsh Hall. This women’s hall began the year with over half of the hall entering as new residents, which presented an opportunity for strengthening. The women of Walsh began by sending handwritten welcome notes to every incoming resident. This hall structured its hall life with buzzwords creativity, hospitality and fearlessness this year, and thus all programming intentionally matched hall needs. Walsh Wizarding Week divided floors into Harry Potter houses for competition and camaraderie. Invitations were again personalized letters to each summoned resident. Walsh Hall’s Study Abroad Dessert Crawl of 70 participants allowed current residents to welcome returning ones. For the second year in a row, the Walsh overnight retreat gathered 80 women to celebrate their fearlessness in faith.
Walsh Hall established a new Signature Charity, Ronald McDonald House, and continued their Soul Sisters group for sisterhood and discussion. Walsh Hall Council’s weekly meeting consistently gathers 90 women. Their Signature Event, Mr. ND, doubled its attendance to 400 people this year. Although they will be moving from their hall next year, the Hall Council team has ensured that this home remains wild. Thank you to Amy Ackermann, Kendall Kovalik and Monica Golbranson for their leadership in Walsh Hall this year.
Editor’s Note: Amy Ackermann is a photographer for The Observer.
The 2015-2016 Men’s Hall of the Year award belongs to Fisher Hall. The final scores for Men’s Hall of Year were separated by only 0.16 percent. Because of the statistically insignificant separation, the Hall of the Year Review Board determined there was a tie between Fisher Hall and Dillon Hall. Majority vote resulted in the awarding of Fisher Hall for 2015-2016 Men’s Hall of the Year.
Fisher Hall focused this past year on formation modeled in the Holy Cross mission. They hosted FREDTalks to hear from speakers about life lessons, unexpected joys and meaningful friendships and honor the hall’s namesake. The hall also brought meaning to the common phrase, “We are praying for you,” when they gathered to pray nine rosaries over nine hours in celebration of the life of their friend Theresa Sagartz.
A definite success in Fisher was Friday night alternative programming, part of an effort to make a reason for those with Friday night destinations outside the hall to instead stay in with hallmates. After the early setback of the terminated Fisher Roofsit, Fisher men responded positively with a replacement 24-hour spikeball tournament that raised $1,300. The 2015 Fisher Regatta was similarly successful and raised $5,100, which was donated to Fisher’s Signature Charity, St. Adalbert School, to fund a new gymnasium floor. Weekly tutoring trips and visits to cheer at St. Adalbert soccer and basketball games show the love for service is important to Fisher men not only on a Signature Event day, but every day. Cory Jbara and Andy Miles, President and Vice President respectively, have completed an excellent year.
Finally, the 2015-2016 Hall of the Year is Pasquerilla East Hall, led for two consecutive years by Mary White and Erin Murphy. The PE Hall Council developed, with resident input, two main goals for the year: to increase service opportunities and to increase the variety of events. The array of programs fueling the hall spirit and supreme organizational structure surely met these goals.
Programming toward personal development of residents included a Women’s Wisdom dinner and Pyro Talks. PE also created a new weekly Berries Mass. Pyros Night In expanded to spark opportunity for hallmates to develop community. The Pyros held a service event every week, and their Signature Charity, Hannah’s House, was the recipient of much of this time. PE improved four existing Signature Events and created a new Signature Event this year for the second year in a row. This hall repeatedly demonstrated the need for change to meet changing needs of residents.
Congratulations to these three halls and the remaining 26, each of which deserves genuine acknowledgement. Our campus community will soon welcome two new residence halls. We cannot wait to begin Fall 2016 as 30 homes under one Dome. Thank you to all who contributed to Hall Presidents Council’s mark on Notre Dame for the 2015-2016 term.
Hall Presidents Council