Carroll Hall rector, leadership discuss lakeside community
Ashton Weber | Friday, February 15, 2019
Junior Garrett Rethman said when he first toured Notre Dame, he actively hoped to not be put in Carroll Hall.
“I remembered from my tour … my tour guide pointed out, ‘There’s a dorm down there called Carroll, but we’re not going to walk past it because it’s too far away.’ And I [thought], ‘Oh, I’ll never live there,’” Rethman said. “And then of course I got put in it … so I was pretty disappointed.”
Carroll Hall was built in 1906 and, according to the Division of Student Affairs website, was originally used as an educational building for the Brothers of Holy Cross. In 1966, the University purchased the building, and in 1967, Carroll began to house undergraduate men. Its location across from Saint Mary’s Lake distances the hall’s residents from the rest of campus.
“The main things that make Carroll unique are the obvious things,” rector Eric Styles said. “We are a little more isolated, so when students come home, they feel like they are going home. The second thing is the size. We have 102 undergrads, so that’s a significant difference [from the largest hall]. Everybody gets to be known by name, and there is very little anonymity.”
Rethman said this strong sense of community ultimately helped him love Carroll. He values the dorm community so much that he is currently serving as the hall’s president.
“You really get the opportunity to know everyone,” he said. “I hear [people in] other dorms talk about how they only know people in their section. We don’t have [that]. It’s weird if you see someone and you don’t know them.”
Junior Ryan Rogers, Carroll’s vice president, explained that the bonds between the men of Carroll — often referred to by their mascot, “The Vermin” — are formed during Welcome Weekend.
“A couple of the first traditions are a little bit wild, but I was really into ‘The Vermin Go Gold,’ which is before the first home football game, and you [first-years] all dye your hair gold or blonde,” he said. “That was the first big community thing that we did, and I [thought], ‘This is fun.’ It’s fun to be part of this community.”
Although they said they think Carroll’s community is enjoyable, Carroll’s leaders said making the trek home during the winter is not, especially during the recent Polar Vortex.
“I called it ‘Carroll Quarantine.’ I did not leave,” Rogers said of the Polar Vortex. “Our rector … said five minutes or more and you’re risking frost bite, but our walk to the dining hall is seven.”
Rethman said some residents took their own measures to avoid the cold walk to the dining hall.
“I know a lot of people stocked up [on food] … but it was on an individual basis. It wasn’t dorm-provided, unfortunately,” Rethman said.
Carroll’s leaders said they are excited for warm spring weather to arrive and, with it, the hall’s signature event — Lakeside. On April 13, Carroll’s lawn will turn into a music festival, complete with live music and food.
“No acts are set yet,” said Christian Cyrul, junior and Lakeside commissioner. “I’ve been emailing a lot of bands. We got a lot more funds this year than in previous years, so we’re going to be able to … have food trucks. It’s going to be well-run this year … I’m excited.”