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Badin residents discuss community, traditions

| Friday, April 6, 2018

Since its establishment in 1897, Badin Hall has played an integral role in the Notre Dame and local South Bend communities. As such, it holds true to tradition and continues to foster academic, spiritual and social growth among its residents.

Before Badin became a residence hall, its many functions included a barbershop, the bookstore, a shoemaker and cobbler, a post office and St. Joseph’s industrial school. The industrial school included animal husbandry, farming, carpentry and blacksmithing.

Two notable past residents of Badin Hall include former University Presidents Fr. Ted Hesburgh and Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy.

“Fr. Hesburgh lived there prior to his presidency,” Badin rector Sister Sue Sisko said. “When Badin became a women’s hall in 1972, Fr. Hesburgh continued to have coffee and social events with the women in Badin when they were just arriving on campus.”

According to tradition, Badin was built with clay from St. Joseph’s Lake. Badin’s new chapel will also be composed of these same bricks.

Badin Resident Assistant senior Zosia Zdanowicz attributes the sisterhood in Badin to one of its unique traits: the second floor porch.

“One of our greatest features in our other building is the porch that we have,” Zdanowicz said. “It’s a fun communal space. We also have one communal staircase that we all use and that allows us to run into each other and bond as a community. Not a lot of other dorms have a common walkway.”

Badin’s hall staff places a special emphasis on its traditions and history to ensure that all residents feel welcomed and accepted in the community.

“We spend a lot of time talking with our residents — particularly our first years — about Badin’s history because it has such rich traditions,” Sisko said. “We spend a good deal of time reminding everyone of this.”

Badin’s signature event — Conscious Christmas — supports the Hope Initiative for Nepal. Badin’s efforts have thus far aided the construction of a playground and school in Nepal.

In addition to Conscious Christmas, Badin also hosts the Polar Bear Plunge, which takes place each February. Sisko said the plunge benefits St. Margaret’s House, a day center that assists women and children.

“The plunge used to benefit the Hope Initiative for Nepal, but over the last couple years our women wanted to establish a charitable presence in South Bend, so they adopted St. Margaret’s House for the plunge,” Sisko said. “Depending on how much we would receive, it could also benefit Badin.”

Sisko said that Badin’s Founder’s Week is a staple for the Badin community and emphasizes what it means to be a Bullfrog.

Badin’s Founder’s Week features a variety of events, Badin assistant rector Chinelo Udokoro said.

“Every night is dedicated to something like trivia night or section decorations,” Udokoro said.

At the end of Founder’s Week, the Bullfrogs attend mass in the Log Chapel because that is where Fr. Stephen Badin is buried.

“This year our brunch at the end of the week was in celebration of our 120th anniversary and we still took our annual dorm photo in front of old Badin,” Sisko said.

Zdanowicz and Udokoro said Badin’s close-knit community of approximately 160 women this year makes special and welcoming.

“We don’t really distinguish who’s in what section necessarily,” Zdanowicz said. “We’re all just in one dorm.”

Sisko said that the Badin community’s new residence in Pangborn has allowed for the greater accommodation of international students.

“This hall is a larger space, so we received the blessing of a number of international students that we ordinarily would not have because we just would not have the capacity,” Sisko said. “They have really blended right in. They have shined and so many of our residents have embraced them. They have embraced us back and it’s been beautiful to see. We’re going to miss them.”

Sisko praised the women of Badin for accepting its year-long relocation to Pangborn with an open mind and taking the change well.

“Badin has a tremendous amount of character, and no one wanted to see that character erased, only enhanced,” Sisko said. “It is such a historic building, and no one wanted to take away from the beauty. But Badin is more than a building. It’s the spirit and community we have, and they have really shown that this year. First and foremost, we can be this community anywhere. We’ve been trying to be good caretakers of the building for this year, and we hope that the men of Morrissey have as positive of an experience as we have had.”

Ultimately, Badin’s tradition and history have engendered a spirit of rapport and harmony among its students, staff and alumnae.

“As an outsider into Badin, my favorite part was my staff and still is my staff,” Udokoro said. “For me, it’s very necessary because I can love my girls all day, every day, but I also need to love the people I work with. Hall staff meetings make me feel like I’m coming in to see another extension of my family… My staff is my most important and favorite part, and the relationships with the girls is just icing on the cake.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Badin Hall became a residence hall in 1972. Badin served as a men’s residence hall starting in 1918 and transitioned into a women’s residence hall in 1972.

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