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Respect committed residents, include off-campus seniors

| Friday, February 14, 2020

In realizing that I am very heavily leaning towards moving off campus next year, I’m going to take this Inside Column space to dig up the ‘Senior Exclusion Policy’ again. Although many talks, panels and surveys have been arranged since the initial announcement of what is formally known as the “policy differentiating on- and off-campus experience,” I’m not so concerned with the details of the plan itself, but more the mentality behind it. Plus, last time I checked, on- and off-campus living are already pretty different and separate without the addition of rules that would divide the demographics even further.

As one of the last remaining people who had the option to move off-campus as a junior, I chose to stay. I had definitely debated moving off junior year for many reasons, but the one that kept me in Ryan Hall was the women I live with. I understand not everyone holds such fond feelings for their dorm communities, but I do believe that no matter their level of involvement in the dorm, every person contributes in some way to the atmosphere of their residence hall. Leadership and role models come in all forms, and they are needed beyond the residence hall communities.

I personally chose to get very involved in Ryan with our Spiritual Life Committee and then our Hall Council Executive Board. The connections I have made through both of these activities will last me beyond my four years at Notre Dame, so what difference does one year of living off-campus, but still maintaining these relationships make? If anything, restricting my attendance of dorm dances or involvement with other residence hall would hinder those relationships more than a separate living situation would.

The real world comes at Notre Dame graduates fast, and that is a compliment to the community that thrives on this campus. Due to my incessant need for as much time as possible to prepare for any uncomfortable adjustment I may make in the future, I need the cushion of living off-campus and experiencing a more adult form of life supported by my familiar network at Notre Dame next year. I simply don’t see the need to attempt to isolate the off-campus community prematurely when they will feel just as far away after graduation.

“The Notre Dame Family” is a phrase constantly thrown around on Welcome Weekend, in Development and in many other areas that structure the rhetoric of Notre Dame. Excluding seniors from some of the lasts they deserve to experience after working so hard at this school does not invoke a sense of the Notre Dame Family.

As someone working for Development, The Observer, my major and my dorm, I feel that I still have so much to contribute to this campus, and I hope to stay immersed in these activities in my final year here. I wouldn’t want my living situation to heavily impact my participation in the things that I love. As someone who has planned Ryan Hall Spiritual Life events, made Belgian waffles every Wednesday for the whole of my sophomore year and makes weekly-Hall Council PowerPoints, Stall Notes that feature a Cat in the Corner and features about Cats Abroad and Graduated Cats, I am asking administration: Please don’t cut me off from my first real foundation at Notre Dame and the place where my Home Under the Dome took root.

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

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