Siegfried president, vice president discuss dorm culture
Nicole Simon | Friday, March 1, 2019
Despite the fact that Siegfried Hall‘s signature event is aptly called ”Day of Man,” the hall opened as a women’s dorm in 1988 before transitioning into a men’s hall in 1997. Today, the men of Siegfried Hall are known for dominating interhall sports and braving the cold South Bend weather in t-shirts.
Hall president and vice president, sophomores Patrick McGuire and Devan Shah, both said they decided to run for hall leadership because they initially wanted to play a more active role in their dorm community.
“Something that we’ve had to learn … is that the things that make Siegfried great aren’t anything that the president or vice president can do,” McGuire said. “That culture can make it frustrating at times if you’re trying to make stuff happen, but I think we’ve really grown to appreciate the fact that the things that make Siegfried great are the interpersonal relationships and connections and interactions.”
As president and vice president, McGuire and Shah said their responsibility is to simply let the residents of the dorm make Siegfried whatever they want it to be.
“The people of Siegfried like to do what they like to do,” Shah said. “We realized that trying to do events where we’re getting everyone to come out and do the thing that we think is cool was never going to work … but giving them an opportunity to come out and do their own thing … was one of the best ways we could go about helping facilitate that culture.”
As a result of that culture, the men of Siegfried do not place much emphasis on competing for Hall of the Year.
“Hall of the Year is … about organizing events that people come to, that people from around campus come to,” Shah said. “As Pat and I have noticed this year, our job as Siegfried president and vice president is to try and bring as many people from Siegfried into the community and make them feel at home, and if what the people of the community want is to do their own thing, then we’ll do that, but that won’t win us Hall of the Year.”
One event that does contribute to the culture of Siegfried, however, is their signature event — Day of Man. Each year, the men of Siegfried Hall sport short-sleeved shirts, shorts and flip-flops one day in the middle of February. The tradition — now 13 years old — began when one Siegfried student walked outside without a coat and immediately thought about what it must be like for the homeless to experience winter in South Bend.
“We have a strong connection with the South Bend Center for the Homeless,” Shah said. “Every Saturday, guys will go and volunteer at the homeless shelter. So, it’s not just one day a year we try to help the homeless shelter, one day a year we raise money for them. Week by week, we try and do whatever we can to help them.”
“Day of Man is a very visible moment for a very strong connection throughout the year,” McGuire added.
Siegfried is also notoriously known for being one of the most athletic dorms on campus. Having won nine out of the past 11 O’Leary cups, the dorm has earned the reputation of being competitive powerhouse in interhall sports.
“It’s a way for the guys in the dorm to bond just because that happens when you play sports with other people,” Shah said. “At this point, it’s just become a thing that happens. If there’s a sport that you might be good at, you sign up and go.”
This year, they are currently on track to win their fifth-consecutive cup, but the athleticism of Siegfried is not limited to the O’Leary Cup.
“The cool thing about Siegfried is that yes, we are a sporty dorm, and, yes, we make a big deal about the O’Leary cup,” McGuire said, “But we also have a really cool section sport dynamic … and we also have e-sports, like Fifa and 2K.”
Siegfried’s passionate participation in interhall sports is an extension of that of their rector, Fr. John Conley.
“Fr. John stresses a couple things that are important to the community: welcoming everyone, helping the homeless shelter and winning the O’Leary Cup,” Shah said. “It’s one of the first things you hear about [in Siegfried].“
Fr. John’s dedication to the O’Leary Cup is just one example of his love for Siegfried, McGuire said.
“Fr. John has been here ever since Siegfried Hall become a men’s dorm, so 22 years now. He lives and breathes Siegfried Hall,” McGuire said. “You can see that in everything he does. Every individual resident of Siegfried hall means a lot to him.”
That level of love for Siegfried is something that translates into the way the residents feel about their dorm and is what makes Siegfried unique, McGuire said.
“The personal care and connection that exists between the members is something we get from our rector,” McGuire said. “What makes Siegfried great is not really any sort of program that we will put on, but the spirit of the personal relationships and brotherhood.”