Fisher Hall prepares for annual Fisher Regatta
Ciara Hopkinson | Thursday, April 26, 2018
As the academic year draws to a close, the men of Fisher Hall are gearing up for their best-known and most anticipated event of the year: the 25th annual Fisher Regatta. While the dorm’s signature event is actually in its 31st year, tradition dictates that the homemade boat race continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary indefinitely. Building up for the event is a year-long process, sophomore Ryan O’Callaghan said.
“On Welcome Weekend already, the emails that are sent out are always signed YGR for ‘You Gotta Regatta,’” O’Callaghan, head of the Regatta planning committee, said. “A lot of the RAs on their whiteboards have a countdown to the Regatta so even when it’s 160, 170 days away there’s still a countdown on the board. It is something you’re constantly hearing about.”
This is Fisher Hall’s fourth year partnering with St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, with residents tutoring there four days a week and developing relationships with the students and faculty, sophomore Owen Harte said in an email. So far, this year’s event has raised approximately $7,000 of its $8,000 goal, O’Callaghan said.
“We’ve definitely formed a connection with the students, and the Regatta funds go toward helping the school in some way each year,” he said. “Two years ago was renovating the gym floor, we’ve rebuilt a new office or greeting area with more security, last year was a new science lab and now this year the Regatta is for a new computer lab.”
The Regatta, which takes place on St. Mary’s Lake at 1 p.m. Saturday, includes at least one boat from every residence hall in addition to entries from various student groups, from the Knights of Columbus to the engineering department. Boats are made out of everything from cement to air mattresses, with races often ending when boats capsize.
“My favorite part of the Regatta is always the beginning of the day before all of the boats race — or sink — because when they are all lined up on the grass next to the lake, we can tangibly see how many groups from across campus love to get involved with the Regatta,” Harte said.
Fisher rector Rick Mazzei convinced O’Callaghan to take on the sizable task of heading the Regatta committee when he arrived on campus for Welcome Weekend this year.
“When I got there he just pulled me into the office and he asked me if I would do it, and when I kind of hesitated he said, ‘I’ll give you five seconds,’ and then he just said, ‘Alright, that’s a yes,’” O’Callaghan said.
Planning such a large and popular event requiring sound systems, catering and safety personnel was difficult but rewarding, O’Callaghan said.
“Learning, in a leadership role with so many components … to be able to delegate things to staff members and actually trusting that they’ll follow through with it and that they’ll do a good job — which of course they all will,” O’Callaghan said of the most challenging part of planning the Regatta.
Both Harte and O’Callaghan emphasized the team effort Fisher residents put into the Regatta each year, with dozens of residents selling the tank tops that make up the bulk of Fisher’s fundraising efforts and ensuring the race itself runs smoothly.
“Everyone on staff has been such a huge help this year, especially the freshmen,” O’Callaghan said. “They’ve really stepped up. We have a great first-year class in Fisher this year, and they’ve just helped tremendously.”
The Regatta not only marks the end of the school year, but also the culmination of Fisher Hall’s dorm spirit. The excitement throughout the dorm on the morning of the Regatta is tangible, O’Callaghan said.
“The morning of, staff gets up around 6:45 and we go through the dorm with all our Fisher oars and we wake up everyone in the dorm,” he said. “Last year I was on the golf cart with the megaphone to go around to each dorm to wake them up, which elicits a lot of bad responses but it’s a great tradition … it was very exciting to actually see it play out.”