Dunne Hall community reflects on brotherhood, signature events
Theresa Olohan | Tuesday, April 30, 2019
One of Notre Dame’s newest dorms, Dunne Hall has stood on East Quad since 2016.
Named after donors Jimmy and Susan Dunne, rector Fr. Matthew Kuczora said some may be tempted to think Dunne lacks the tradition of older dorms. However, Dunne’s newness provides an opportunity to explore new ways of developing and fostering individual and community growth, he said.
“Being a relatively new residence hall community, there is a warmth and openness here that is very strong,” Kuczora said in an email. “Because residents initially came from every men’s hall on campus, we’ve been able to create our own traditions and culture as the years have progressed. I think this allows everyone to feel a sense of belonging, since we’re not simply upholding traditions created by others in the past.”
Former hall president junior Manuel DeBrito said Dunne gives students freedom to be themselves and develop strong friendships.
“A lot of dorms have a very specific culture set already. … But at least in Dunne, I felt as though I didn’t have to conform to a certain kind of a college student,” DeBrito said. “We were all from so many different backgrounds and from so many different cultures that it’s kind of just a mesh of all those different things and people. Because of that, people feel comfortable to be themselves and to find friends that have personalities similar to theirs or different from theirs without being judged by anyone else.”
Spring vice president and sophomore Carson Richter said though its history is still developing, Dunne has a strong community.
“I’d definitely say it’s a pretty tight-knit community,” Richter said. “As far as traditions and culture, it’s still developing, but there’s some pretty good guys there now and everyone gets along pretty well.”
Dunne’s pioneer-like mentality, coupled with its drive to make a name for itself has created a community of motivated men, Kuczora said.
“They’re generous when pitching in to put on an event and genuinely look out for one another,” he said. “They’re willing to put in the hard work to create something unique that will last for generations and they’re very creative.”
The annual Dunne Funne Runne demonstrates the creative spirit and energy of the Sentinels, DeBrito said. The event, a 3k and three-person relay race held on East Quad, benefits Education Bridge, a school in South Sudan founded by a Dunne alumnus, Kuczora said.
“Basically, you run around with three guys. It’s a relay and everyone is cheering you on in various stages, so everyone can see the other costumes,” DeBrito said. “ … We’ve had it twice now, and both years it’s been super successful. People just enjoy going out and having a good time on Saturday without necessarily having to demonstrate athletic ability — we’re just there for some laughs and that’s Dunne Funne Runne.”
Hall president sophomore George Lyman said the run has potential to be the dorm’s signature event.
“I think it’s something that could grow into something really big on campus, but I think there’s still room for it to grow,” he said.
The DunneDance Film Festival — a student run film festival which takes place in April — demonstrates the creativity of student filmmakers from Dunne and across campus, DeBrito said.
“We do like an Oscars kind-of award ceremony where we rank best actor, best supporting actor and best movie,” Brito said. “We also do best foreign films where other dorms can submit their movies to us and then we’ll watch them. It’s a great laugh.”
This growth and interest in the event this past year is promising for the event, 2019 fall vice president Nicholas Spitzer said.
“We also had a lot more foreign film submissions from other dorms, so that’s showing how it’s growing,” Spritzer said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch all these people with all these creative ideas get thrown together and watch them all be presented.”
In a short time, Dunne has proved itself a rival to the more-established dorms, Spitzer said.
“Dunne’s really shown to have a group of outgoing people who are really passionate. … I really enjoy being in it because there’s so many different directions it could go.” Spitzer said.
Lyman said he appreciates the chance to build a community from the ground up in Dunne.
“I love being in Dunne — you can ask anyone in Dunne, I’ll tell them that,” Lyman said. “I think it’s really interesting to be in a place where traditions are still forming and you get to really make your mark on a community. … I wouldn’t give up the chance to establish our own traditions for anything. I think that’s really awesome.”