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Knott Hall boasts tight-knit community, enduring traditions

| Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Known for their orange beanies and now the second-annual pep rally LimeBike brigade, Knott Hall sits on Mod Quad, between Siegfried Hall and Flaherty Hall.

Named after Marion Burk Knott, Knott Hall was established as woman’s hall in 1988 and then transitioned to a men’s hall in 1997, Knott Hall rector Patrick Kincaid said. It was also the first residence hall to be named after a woman.

Knott residents — called Juggerknotts — are famous for their food sales, which take place every day except Saturday.

“We genuinely have the best food sales of any dorm on campus,” junior and Knott Hall president Zach LeMense said.

Knott also offers a host of annual events and traditions. For example, in the spring, the hall hosts a cigar smoke in memory of University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.

“Every spring since Fr. Hesburgh passed away, we have a gathering where priests and people that knew Fr. Hesburgh will come to share stories about his legacy, how they knew him and things you wouldn’t necessarily read [about],” Kincaid said. “The guys really enjoy that. We usually have a really good turnout.”

LeMense said the hall recently changed its fall signature event.

“In the fall, we used to have a signature event that was a banana stand on a game day,” LeMense said, “We changed that this year. … [Feeley] and I started Knott Hall’s potato sack race across South Quad, and we had a really great showing.”

Junior and vice president Michael Feeley added that they “hope it’ll be an annual event.”

Feeley said many of Knott Hall’s most notable traditions take place during Welcome Weekend.

“No one has anything to do but [Welcome Weekend events],” Feeley said. “It’s super fun to do with the new freshmen.”

These traditions help welcome freshmen to the Knott community, LeMense said.

“We do this thing called a campus ‘saunter’ where we walk around campus talking about specific landmarks and some history behind them to all the freshmen, and at the end of it, all members of the hall staff pass out the orange beanies in front of Touchdown Jesus [and the freshmen] shake our rector’s hand formally,” LeMense said.

A relatively new event, the hall’s LimeBike ride to the first pep rally is in its second year.

“We gather a ton of LimeBikes for the first pep rally, put them in our lobby and then we have all the freshmen ride over to the first pep rally on [them]. We have a cookout beforehand and it’s a ton of fun,” LeMense said.

In addition to LimeBikes, Knott carries a replica of a portrait of Marion Burk Knott hanging in the Knott Lobby with them to the pep rally.

“The legend goes that when the hall first became a men’s hall, they used to take the actual painting with them to places,” Kincaid said.

The painting was then fastened securely to a wall in the first-floor lobby area.

While some may find Knott modest, those who get to know the dorm will never forget it, Feeley said.

“[Knott is the] most underrated dorm on campus,” he said. “People who know Knott guys love Knott.”

Kincaid said he hopes others remember Knott for its community.

“There is, I think, a lot of competition at Notre Dame and in the hall, and that’s really good in a lot of ways, but there’s over-archingly this great support the guys have for one another,” Kincaid said. “They really want to see one another thrive, succeed and do well.”

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