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O’Neill Family Hall celebrates section unity, signature events

| Thursday, April 4, 2019

Proudly standing in the center of West Quad lies O’Neill Family Hall, home of the Angry Mob. Established in 1996, O’Neill stands out against other residence halls due to the traditions and unity shared between its 261 residents.

“The first thing that should come to your mind when you think of O’Neill is sections,” John Desler, junior and outgoing president of O’Neill, said. “You go in with like 14 or 15 freshmen from your class, live in the section and just become best friends with all of those guys.”

Anna Mason | The Observer

O’Neill Family Hall, founded in 1996, brings together its residences through section outings such as sporting events and dinners.

Desler said he enjoys such a heavy emphasis on section unity because it allows incoming freshmen to quickly become friends with sophomores, juniors and seniors willing to offer guidance and direction.

“It was nice coming into freshman year to a place where you’re immediately welcomed by guys who are willing to give you advice about professors or what classes to take next year,” Desler said. “Just being around older guys who know what to do is much better than just flailing around as a freshman.”

Desler said another instrumental part of O’Neill’s culture is section dinner. A large portion of the tables in South Dining Hall are unofficially claimed by the residence hall as a place for each section to bond by sharing a meal at their designated times.

When South Dining Hall food fails to cure the Angry Mob’s hunger, O’Neill’s own Spanky’s Pizzeria saves the day with late-night hours and dozens of slices.

“Their specialty is ‘pep sticks,’ which is are mini pieces of bread that have pepperoni and cheese on them,” Desler said. “It’s the best pizza place on campus right now. We like to say that we put Recker’s out of business.”

One of O’Neill Family Hall’s two signature events is the Ms. ND Pageant, held during the Spring semester each year. Many of the women’s residence halls compete against one another to be crowned “Miss ND,” with this year’s victor hailing from McGlinn Hall.

“Miss ND was a huge success,” Desler said. “We raised a lot of money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless and all the competitors had a lot of fun during the contest.”

Recess, another signature event, occurs on the last day of school before the end of second semester. Filled with bouncy slides, burgers and plenty of lawn games, Recess creates a fun, childlike atmosphere on South Quad just before summer brings the semester to a close.

Coming up after Easter weekend is Rivalry Week, the annual friendly competition between O’Neill and Keough Hall.

“Keough and O’Neill were originally part of Grace Hall but they split us up around twenty years ago,” Desler said. “We bought a shield trophy with half of our crest and half of their crest which we compete for in different competitions like trivia night, food eating contests and a section football all-star game.”

Whether O’Neill or Keough ends this week with a victory, Desler said O’Neill will always be one of the best spots on campus.

“It’s a terrific place to live and have fun hanging out,” he said. “It feels like home.”

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