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Stanford residents, rector discuss community

| Friday, November 16, 2018

Editor’s note: This article is one in a series profiling the dorms. Previous articles have covered dorms built before Stanford Hall.

While Stanford Hall’s physical building is connected to its rival and brother dorm, Keenan Hall, rector Justin McDevitt, more commonly known as “J-Mac” around the hall, and residents say the community at Stanford creates a unique culture.

Dedicated in October 1957, Stanford is one month older than Keenan, and it is one of the first dorms to be named after a donor instead of a historical figure, McDevitt said.

Natalie Weber | The Observer

Stanford Hall, pictured, was founded in 1957. The dorm is known for its annual pirate-themed dance and the Men of Virtue Dinner, where residents share a meal with guest speakers.

McDevitt said while the dorm residents do not know a lot about its history, they are taking steps to learn about this aspect of the community. In light of the fact that the dorm celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, McDevitt said the dorm has a new historian to find out more about its history.

“We now have a hall employee who is a historian whose job it is to both document current things and research past things,” he said.

McDevitt also said hall president and junior Jack Corcoran is working on developing an alumni network.

“We’ll send a blast out through development to all Stanford alumni ever asking them if they want to join an alumni list, which will be separate, but we’re going to ask them, even if they’re not interested in joining the list, if anyone has any old photos or stories to share them,” McDevitt said.

Besides taking steps to learn more about its history, senior resident assistant (RA) Chris Westdyk said the Stanford culture is also changing.

“It’s changed a lot since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think when I came as a freshman, not a lot of seniors stayed on my freshman year. We only had two or three that weren’t RAs around. The culture was very macho and there was a lot more hazing that went on than does now. A lot more seniors stay now.”

Westdyk also said he likes how Stanford welcomes everyone.

“There’s no archetypical Stanford Griffin,” he said. “Anyone can be a full member of the community without conforming to any standards, which I like for sure. Some dorms have a stereotypical member, but we don’t have that at all.”

Since there were a lot of senior residents last year, Westdyk said there are a lot of freshmen this year, which means the culture can change.

“There’s a big turnover happening for sure,” he said. “ … We’re in an interesting place right now making decisions about who we’re going to be.”

Corcoran echoed the sentiment that Stanford is a welcoming dorm, saying people usually feel at home when they first walk in.

“The first thing you do when you walk in these doors is J-Mac is in here and you say, ‘Hey, J-Mac,’ and you hear ‘Yo!’ from the back, whether he’s way in the back or sitting right here at his desk,” he said. “You always feel welcome when you walk in.”

Corcoran also said people tend to leave their doors open when they are hanging out or playing music.

“Whether it’s a bunch of juniors in a room, the freshmen are also going to be very welcome in there,” he said.

During the year, Stanford hosts a variety of events, such as the dorm’s pirate-themed SYR. To raise money for the Center for the Homeless, the dorm also hosts the Irish Iron Classic, a heavy-lifting competition which will be hosted in Duncan and features free food.

Another annual event, the Men of Virtue Dinner, is an occasion for residents to go somewhere on campus for a nice dinner and to hear impactful speakers. McDevitt said this year’s speakers will include faculty members Maria and Mark McKenna.

The dorm also hosts section sports from year-to-year, including the section Olympics, although McDevitt said the dorm is also looking to be more inclusive of residents to whom athletics are not as important.

“We compete in sports and stuff, but there’s no animosity,” McDevitt said. “It’s all friendly competition.”

Ryan Govi, a junior resident in Stanford, said one of his favorite things about the dorm is the strong section culture. While he said residents do not always stay in the same section from year-to-year, the sections host dinners and snacks once a week.

“I’ve spent six hours at section snack over the last three weeks,” he said.

Govi said the sections do not take the place of the dorm, though, with no section culture being overly distinct from another.

McDevitt said Stanford residents treat their sections like the rest of the dorm.

“There’s no weird grudges,” he said. “It’s more like a section family.”

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame sophomore majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

Contact Alexandra