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Flaherty Hall adds new annual events, strengthens community

| Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The women of Flaherty Hall are breaking in their new dorm as they add more signature events and grow closer as a community.

Catherine Dieckman, junior and newly elected hall president, said she feels this was the year that Flaherty became a name on campus.

“We want there to be an identity associated with what it means to be a Flaherty Bear,” Dieckman said. “So we’re just trying to have staples of events we plan and the things we do be with sisterhood and related to service and just having a very loving, open appearance and identity toward people all around campus — not just within Flaherty.”

After its construction in 2016, Flaherty Hall became the new home for previous residents of Pangborn Hall, female students who applied to transfer into the new dorm, as well as around 70 first-years, Flaherty rector Sr. Mary Donnelly said.

“It was difficult to move to a new hall and start a new community. Leaving Pangborn — a place I love and called home for eight years — was difficult. Leaving what was familiar and moving into an unknown was both terrifying and exhilarating,” Donnelly said in an email.

Caile Coughlin, junior and former hall president, said as a member of the first class to live in Flaherty, it was difficult to mesh the Pangborn community and the new dorm community at times.

“I think it was hard to mesh when people wanted to be a new community [while] preserving the Pangborn community,” Coughlin said.

Donnelly said one difficulty she faced as the first rector of Flaherty was figuring out how to help foster a new dorm community.

“There have been many challenges … [For example,] how to help the women, who came from several halls, understand and create a new community,” Donnelly said. “[And] questions such as, ‘How do we honor the richness of traditions that this new community now encompasses?’, ‘How to we let go of what was and enter into something new?’, ‘How is community created?’, ‘How [do we] manage the anxiety, fear, sense of loss as we moved from what was to what will be?’ The list goes on and on.”

To answer these questions, Donnelly said she made sure to have lots of conversations about what type of community the women wanted and how to get there — including things like what signature events to plan and what their mascot would be.

Flaherty has added numerous new events such as Flaherty Food Fights, a cooking competitionstyle event between different dorms on campus, Flaherty Fights, a fundraiser held during the fall to raise money for Kelly Cares, and “Bear-becues” where residents grill outside.

This semester, Flaherty opened “Bearly Baked,” where the dorm sells edible cookie dough and offers vegan and gluten free options, Coughlin said.

Maddie Heyn, junior and former hall vice-president, said she values the opportunity for Flaherty residents to leave their own legacies.

“Because we are so new, there are things that we can change and there are things that we can do,” she said. “We have these traditions that we are trying to start, and I think there is a lot of enthusiasm about, ‘This is my dorm and this can be what I want it to be,’ with girls starting new signature events, starting new food services and stuff. I feel like it’s a very entrepreneurial spirit.”

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