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Women of Pangborn Hall begin to establish traditions regardless of next year’s change of location

| Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Meet the Valkyries, Notre Dame’s newest female community, currently residing in Pangborn Hall.

Rector Amanda Springstead said the community has “a spirit of ‘we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this together.’”

Pangborn is unique in its student composition. The sophomores, juniors and seniors of Pangborn chose to move to the dorm this fall in order to launch the new community.

Next year, the Valkyries will move to a new home that is currently under construction near Dunne Hall on the east side of campus. The women who opted to join this community last spring received a blank page: no dorm colors, mascot or traditions already in place.

Springstead said building these elements comes with its challenges, but the residents of this hall have stepped up.

“The great thing about the spirit of the women in Pangborn Hall is that they really want to be involved,” she said. “We’re all really excited about the creativity that comes from starting a new hall.”

Springstead made the same choice her residents did, leaving her five-year post as rector at Howard Hall to participate in this new venture. She said she believed in the importance of a “really good start” when founding a new community such as this one.

“Hearing the women and their stories about why they chose to come to Pangborn, it strikes me that they are running to something. They’re excited about creating something,” she said.

Though these women will not remain in Pangborn, moving one year early helped alleviate a campus-wide need for housing for transfer students, according to Springstead. Despite the temporary nature of their current home, the Valkyries have flourished.

“Our community isn’t the building, it’s the group of people,” Springstead said.

Signature events are a typical part of Notre Dame dorm culture, and Springstead said Pangborn will be no exception. She said Notre Dame can expect to see a signature event from the Valkyries next semester. Dorm leadership and the residents will make this decision, like all others, together.

“Similar to how we voted for our mascot, I think we’ll be voting on what ideas people like,” she said.

These votes will help establish parts of the new dorm’s culture while continuing the growth of the community that has already begun forming.

“We’re pretty feedback driven,” Springstead said. “People want to be involved in creating these traditions.”

While all returning students chose their spot in Pangborn, incoming first-years and transfers were randomly assigned, just as occurs for other dorms. The building currently houses the fewest women of any female dorm on campus.

Next year, capacity for the Valkyries will increase from its current 130 residents to 225. Springstead says she looks forward to that transition.

“I’m excited to meet who else will be joining us there,” she said. “When I think about next year, I’m really excited that our community will have another year to grow on what we started.”

Springstead said she hopes and believes the spirit of ambition and unity will remain with them next year and many years to come.

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