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The final dorm rankings

| Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I sat in the back of a car with three of my best friends in the third hour of a six-hour trip in the summer of 2017. To pass the time, we decided to sit down and rank the dorms of Notre Dame. One letter to the editor later and our creation entered the mainstream. The aftermath was countless friends explaining to me why I was misguided or worthy of praise, emails from random Notre Dame alumni and even a response letter on why I was wrong about Morrissey’s low rank (spoiler: I wasn’t). I’ve heard arguments from why one dorm is better than another from this whole university since, possibly more so than any other person. If you disagree with my opinions then you are wrong. Just kidding. Kind of. I’m reranking the dorms based on my meticulous observations from the past two years and any personal vendettas I have against people (Previous ranking are in parentheses). Again, just kidding. Kind of.

  1. Keenan (1)
  2. Walsh (2)
  3. Dillon (5)

I’ll take this time to explain my methodology in my rankings. They include how I generally feel about the dorm, what other people have told me about the dorm and if the dorm has personally awarded me Mr. Walsh in the 2018 Mr. ND show. For the last one, Walsh did better than any other dorm. Overall though, I believe these three dorms contain the essence of Notre Dame. Strong traditions in all of them, with hall of the year wins boosting their resume. I have many friends in each that have strong pride in their dorm with many more friends on the outside that can’t find too much fault. I’m proud of you guys.

  1. Ryan (8)
  2. Fisher (6)
  3. Duncan (11)
  4. Lewis (3)
  5. Stanford (12)

Again, I’m very high on these dorms and not much separates them. In my last ranking, I did not do Stanford justice. I have since seen a tight community that may have been insular from my perspective at first, but that has more to do with communal bond than exclusivity. Ryan and Duncan come in strong with their facilities but have established ingrained traditions on top — not such an easy task. Got to give my boys in 822 a shout out as well as the whole Fisher community for carrying on the traditions, instilling one of the most immense senses of dorm pride. Lastly, Lewis runs what I think is the greatest dorm event in LHOP and are boosted further with a filthy (in a good way) Crush Week.

  1. Dunne (16)
  2. Alumni (10)
  3. Zahm (15)

This next cohort of dorms I believe are fantastic communities with some minor flaw that’s keeping them from the top. Let me preface by saying Dunne, my own dorm, is absolutely fantastic and I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to live there for the last three years. For it to push higher on the list, it needs a year or two of stability, entrenching the events we have worked so hard to build and giving it the legs to run on its own. So if you’re investing in dorms, Dunne would be the right one to pick as it is only going up. Alumni and Zahm have much more difficult traits to break out of. Alumni was easily the most controversial dorm when polling others, with some (shockingly) non-Alumni people declaring it definitively the best dorm while others (not so shockingly) wanting it at the bottom. I settled it at number 10, right where it was last time since there was not so much backlash. For Zahm, I have always had a soft spot as that was the dorm I wanted to be placed in as a freshman. Their cultish attitudes fit my vibe, but I understand how that is unappealing for many others, so I placed them slightly lower.

  1. PW (19)
  2. Welsh Fam (22)
  3. Keough (20)
  4. BP (7)
  5. O’Neill (4)

In my opinion, PW is criminally slept on. The lack of one signature event or hall of the year in recent memory does give credit to this view but I believe PW has demonstrated their chops in their Queen week, among other things, to justify a higher rank. I purposefully placed Keough over O’Neill in a tight race because they are virtually the same dorm but one feels safer than the other. Due to criticism from last year’s ranking, I felt I placed BP too high last time, but in good conscience, I put them top half due to a legendary egg party. If at this point in the ranking, you believe my opinions are garbage, and only from personal experience, then you have your best piece of evidence with Welsh Fam at 13. In my original mock rankings last year, I had the Whirlwinds very low and most agreed. Since then, I have coached their basketball and flag football teams, gone to their formal and could never disparage the fine group of women who played so hard on and off the field/court. Should Welsh Fam be lower? Possibly. Will you see me do it? Never.

  1. Badin (17)
  2. Howard (27)
  3. Sorin (9)

Howard was another dorm that I messed up with last ranking. The large scale criticism made me rethink their spot and move them up more so than any other dorm. When deciding between Badin and Howard though, I felt the two dorms were basically the same, but Badin has been renovated more recently. I had Sorin high last year but I’ve since come to learn many of them are actually psycho. Not the cool, enjoyable kind either. Yeah there are a ton of events which can be fun, but if you know the sandwich thing they have to do, then you understand what I’m getting at.

  1. PE (21)
  2. Siegfried (14)
  3. Flaherty (25)
  4. McGlinn (23)
  5. Farley (18)

Similar to last year, these dorms are all kind of the same block of mediocrity. If a friend of mine was placed into one, I wouldn’t show anger or enjoyment, I would be apathetic. I could say things like, “Yeah you’ll love Siegfried because they’re good at sports” or “Flaherty has beautiful rooms, it’s going to be great” but deep down I know it wouldn’t really matter, I really wouldn’t care.  I place PE at 20 to start because when I ranked them similar last time, no one complained in the slightest and many from PE actually told me it was a fair rank. Other than that, these are extremely flexible. If you’re in one of these dorms, just say you’re 20th and call it a day.

  1. Cav (30)
  2. Knott (26)
  3. Steds (24)
  4. Carroll (13)

I did Cavanaugh dirty last year, I’ll admit. Because of how adamant the girls I knew from this dorm were about their rank, I knew I had to move it up even a little. On the flip side, Carroll guys were surprised at how high I had them and were almost too flattered. Their distance from the rest of campus finally caught up to them and here we are. Nothing inherent about Steds makes them bad, I’m sure in 1882 they were hall of the year, but it’s the modern day and they just don’t care enough about their rankings for me to warrant ranking them higher. Oh, I forgot to mention Knott. Typical.

  1. Fifty Feet of Human Garbage (Unranked)
  2. Morrissey (28)
  3. Lyons (29)

A new player has come to the game. Garbage has not been the best living situation but it just nearly edges out these two south quad dorms. I lived in Morrissey, and the dozen or so cockroaches I had to kill in that year probably matches up well with how many I would have to kill in a heap of literal trash. Garbage at least knew it was trash instead of pretending it was more of a gentleman than the rest of campus. I told someone from Lyons I was ranking them last and they were originally upset but said that it was an ultimately fair for me to rank them bottom three. Never a good look to submit to being the worst so easily.

Usually I would end this column by making some jokes, but in all seriousness, the new housing policy threatens these kind of in-jest rankings. Student Affairs would prefer rankings like these do not exist because the goal appears to have every dorm be exactly the same. Limiting off-campus seniors makes events the like the Revue, Regatta, LHOP and many others a nightmare to plan to where all we are left with are simple dances and skeleton sports teams. The fragile community Dunne has built will suffer without all the on and off campus support it can get. The ability to rank dorms will diminish where instead of quirky differences, we will all have a community which is not made by the residents and rectors, but by whatever the next policy that comes out will be. Please repeal the housing rule that excludes off campus seniors. It does not build community, it isolates it.

Davis loves to rank people, places, things, ideas and sometimes even verbs. His current senior year places fourth among years, his neuroscience major places seventh, and his theology major ranks third among all majors. Contact him at [email protected] to be placed first in his heart.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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