Dillon Hall named 2017 – 2018 ‘Hall of the Year’
Kelli Smith | Wednesday, April 11, 2018
The Hall Presidents Council (HPC) designated Dillon Hall the winner of HPC’s overall “Hall of the Year” award Tuesday during the Notre Dame Student Leadership Awards Banquet at Legends. Dunne Hall and Walsh Hall took home the Men’s and Women’s “Hall of the Year” awards, respectively.
Co-chairs of HPC seniors Brandon Ryan and Alyssa Lyon emphasized the strong cooperation between dorms that differentiated the competition this year.
“Halls are better when they all try to cooperate and do things together,” Ryan said. “We really think it’s not so much about the competition but more about how halls treated each other this year through their dorm presidents — it was a much better year than it has been in the past of inter-dorm cooperation.”
Though there was “tight competition” for all of the awards, Ryan said Dillon Hall did an incredible job at being a good candidate throughout the entire year.
“A big thing that we like to make sure is that ‘Hall of the Year’ leadership is really catering to everyone in the hall instead of just the easiest people who kind of get involved,” Ryan said. “And [Dillon] just did such a good and natural job of having so many events that were well attended and that hit so many different types of people.”
Alongside building strong community through “a diverse and impressive regimen” with events such as monthly multi-cultural discussions, Lyon said Dillon’s commitment to the greater South Bend community was its most noteworthy accomplishment — particularly with its “Red Bag Day,” in which residents send bags of utilities to the homeless, and its partnership with Dismas House of South Bend, which provides support services for individuals returning from incarceration.
“In addition to catering to a variety of resident’s needs, [Dillon] also sought to reinvigorate the spirit of its hall’s government by encouraging open forum meetings and empowering all of its residents to be leaders within the community,” she said. “This dorm truly carries out the Notre Dame mission of building selfless, well-rounded residents.”
Dillon Hall president junior Danny Crooks said what makes Dillon special is that residents feel welcome in any room and with “any guy of any grade.”
“Every guy in Dillon loves Dillon,” Crooks said. “And we had great participation at all of our events and people really get into our dorm events so I think just the spirit throughout the dorm is why we won it.”
Sophomore Chris Lehman, Dillon Hall’s vice president, said the great inter-class relationships in Dillon contributed to building that spirit.
“We just really went into this year wanting to bring the entire dorm together so our goal was just to plan a bunch of events that catered to everyone in the dorm and we’re really happy that they recognized [that],” Crooks said.
As a dorm established in 2016 taking home its first ever ‘Hall of the Year’ award, Dunne Hall president junior Peter Seidner said HPC’s recognition highlights Dunne’s theme — “everything seems impossible until it’s ‘Dunne’” — and end goal of creating a culture.
“We had the awesome opportunity of being able to start events that had never been done before compared to other dorms,” Seidner said. “But talking to [other dorms], getting what worked for them and creating, as our dorm, our own ideas and create a platform is really what our administration did.”
By inaugurating Dunne’s signature events — the 3k relay race “Dunne Funne Run” and the “Dunne Dance Film Festival” — as well as hosting what Seidner said was the largest retreat on campus in 10 years, Dunne Hall vice presidents juniors Brendan Watts and Wynn Root said Dunne had a goal of establishing itself on the campus map.
“I think it was really important for us being a new dorm that we cement ourselves on the campus and I thought this was a great way to do it,” Root said. “We had a lot of signature events that won us the award so I’m really happy about it.”
Walsh Hall president senior Katie Santanello and vice president junior Erin Embrey said winning Women’s Hall of the Year wasn’t as much of a priority for Walsh going into the year.
“It’s all about making sure that everyone feels included and making sure everyone really feels that they’re involved and I think that that’s goal of Hall President’s Council programming is that we get everyone involved,” Embrey said.
As a dorm that moved into a newly-renovated building this year, Santanello said Walsh focused on inclusion as well as improving mental, physical and emotional well-being.
“Another one of our goals was re-establishing those old traditions from the old building and then making some new ones because it’s not exactly the same,” Embrey said. “I think we had a unique opportunity to get the sophomores and freshmen who never really lived in the building involved but I think that was just part of our overall thoughts.”
As a whole, Lyon said HPC was impressed by all dorms this year but the three dorms that won were especially creative with their events.
“These three dorms really listened to what their residents wanted, thought outside the box [and] were consistent throughout the year,” she said. “There were no times of not a lot of events or not really developed events, they were just in total really consistent throughout the whole year in making sure their community is strong and that people weren’t feeling left out of it.”