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McGlinn Hall named 2018-2019 ‘Hall of the Year’

| Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Hall Presidents Council (HPC) awarded the overall “Hall of the Year” title to McGlinn Hall during the Notre Dame Student Leadership Awards Banquet in Duncan Student Center on Tuesday. Duncan Hall and Welsh Family Hall were named Men’s and Women’s Hall of the Year, respectively.

Outgoing co-chairs of HPC seniors Joe Trzaska and Brendan Watts said encouraging community between dorms contributes to a better experience for Notre Dame students.

“We try and foster collaboration and communication between the halls because we think the halls are stronger together than on their own,” Trzaska said.

Charlotte Edmonds | The Observer

Representatives from hall government of McGlinn Hall, Duncan Hall and Welsh Family Hall gather at the awards banquet Tuesday. McGlinn Hall won Hall of the Year, while Duncan and Welsh Family Hall won Men and Women’s Hall of the Year, respectively.

Editor’s note: Evelyn Stein, third from left, is the Viewpoint Editor of The Observer.

Trazka said HPC tried to promote this inter-hall partnership in many ways, but considered getting more students GreeNDot trained their greatest success.

“Each hall has its own goals, we try to facilitate their reaching of those goals,” he said. “Our goals as chairs of the Hall Presidents Council were more meta-goals about the function of the council — like trying to improve collaboration and communication between the halls — but we did also aim to really boost those GreeNDot critical mass numbers, which [we] were happy that so many halls were so successful in doing.”

Watts said Hall of the Year scores are based on four categories — Rocknes, final hall presentation, HPC’s visit to the dorm’s hall council and GreeNDot participation.

“Rocknes are our monthly slideshow, videos [and] presentations of the events that went on in the hall that month in addition to a description of the events — a description of the challenges that they faced and goals for the upcoming months,” Watts said. “So each hall fills these out each month and the scores on those Rocknes comprise 50% of the Hall of the Year score. Another 40% comes from their final presentation at the end of the year. Each hall gives a 15-minute final presentation to the executive board and various other members of the student union essentially outlining how they improved throughout the year and accomplished the goals they set out at the beginning of the year. So that’s 40% of the score. Another 5% comes from the hall council visit. Each member of the executive board goes in to multiple hall councils to kind of evaluate how presidents and vice presidents were engaging their dorm communities through the hall councils. And the final 5%, which we instituted this year, was from GreeNDot participation.”

Junior Clare Pierret, McGlinn Hall’s vice president, said the dorm community’s support of their rector, Sr. Mary Lynch, in light of her cancer diagnosis, was one of hall’s most transformative moments this year.

“I think one of our most important things that we did was our entire community kind of came around, came together to support Sr. Mary when she was diagnosed with colon cancer over the summer … different people that usually don’t get involved in our dorm started to get involved. We kind of realized this is an entire community of women who are interested and excited and want to participate and want to lend a hand in creating a better community, not only in McGlinn but also in all of Notre Dame.”

Pierret said the dorm’s focus on sustainability as well as welcoming all residents of the dorm — regardless of participation record — also contributed to the win.

“We also did a lot with our sustainability, and we were the first group on campus to do Terracycling, which was a big initiative for us, and our sustainability commissioner was really excited when we went through with that,’ she said. “We also really tried to focus on trying to make every McGlinn resident feel like they were welcome even if they didn’t want to participate in our events. So we kind of tried to do small little things that reminded everybody that in McGlinn, everyone is welcome, everyone is loved and even though they might not participate in everything — all the events we do — we still obviously appreciate them and care for them.”

Duncan Hall president junior Kyle Tomshack said he was excited for the hall to be recognized.

“I think it’s definitely gratifying and Duncan Hall is ecstatic to get it,” he said. “Our main goal for the whole year was to serve the community and try to build that community in any way we can, and we’re happy that our efforts in doing that were recognized.”

Tomshack said towards the end of the year, the Duncan community started to realize Hall of the Year was a possibility and worked towards earning the title.

“We knew that we definitely had a shot, because we really had a push at the end of the year,” Tomshack said. “We knew that we had gotten the percent for GreeNDot, which was huge for us. We made a really big push at the end of the year for it … we knew we had some pretty good scores for Rocknes and we thought we gave a really good Hall of the Year presentation, helped out with some great testimonials from some of our residents here.”

Welsh Family Hall president junior Abby Smith said one of the priorities of the hall government was to engage residents of the dorm who are not as involved with the hall community.

“We really tried at the beginning of the year to focus on building the identity and the community and belonging within every girl in Welsh Fam, so that’s something that we focused on as a hall government and I think for us, it really means that we set goals that were not only accomplishable, but very meaningful to our hall too,” she said. “So we saw that reflected in the events we put on, but also people showing interest in the hall community and really getting … that 7% of people that don’t necessarily always go to events, really trying to reach out to them and making sure that they feel comfortable and welcome in the community.”

Smith said even though winning Hall of the Year wasn’t a priority for the hall, the dorm is still excited and proud to have received the award.

“It wasn’t a complete shocker, but we were excited to win for sure. I think it’s something that it wasn’t necessarily a goal of ours at the beginning,” she said. “I think our main goal was really to do something to help the residents, but as the year progressed, we saw that we were inching closer and closer to being a qualified candidate and being one of the top candidates for that award, so that was exciting for us to know that we had actually made it to that stage.”

Watts said despite the fact these three halls stood out, every dorm at Notre Dame contributed to building community this past year.

“They were many deserving halls this year, these three stood out amongst their peers as exemplary at building and fostering community, overcoming challenges within their halls and greatly improving upon past years within their halls,” Watts said. “And again, each and every hall and hall president has a lot to be proud of.”  

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About Claire Rafford

Claire is a junior from Tempe, Arizona who is majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and Business-Economics. She peaked when her team won the Battle of the Books state championship in 2011.

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