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‘Freezin’ for a reason’: Siegfried Hall’s Day of Man goes virtual

| Tuesday, February 23, 2021

For the men of Siegfried Hall, the Day of Man fundraiser normally serves as an opportunity to raise money for the South Bend Center for the Homeless (CFH) while decked out in beach attire on a cold February day. 

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the Ramblers will not be able to actively fundraise through in-person cash collections during the 15th annual Day of Man on Tuesday. Instead, the primary method for collecting donations is through the Day of Man SAO webpage, but the residents will still be decked out in the traditional cut off t-shirts to advertise the fundraiser. 

While senior commissioner Ethan Lipnicky was disappointed by the inability to gather outside of dining halls, roam around campus and draw lots attention to themselves in the name of fundraising, he said the absence of over-the-top advertising will provide a unique opportunity to focus solely on the needs of CFH. 

“Not being allowed to be as obnoxious and crazy as we [normally] are is giving us a chance to truly stand in solidarity with the homeless and kind of get back to the roots of the fundraiser,” Lipnicky said. 

According to Siegfried Hall lore, Day of Man started 15 years ago when a student forgot his coat on the way to class and realized just how cold South Bend winters are, junior commissioner Charlie Lemkuil said. The student then gathered a group of people to stand outside without jackets on to remind everyone how much people without shelter suffer during the winters and to raise money for the CFH. 

Courtesy of Charlie Lemkuil
Siegfried residents stand outside of South Dining Hall as part of last year’s Day of Man.

That story has resulted in a year-round partnership between Siegfried Hall and the CFH. In addition to the annual Day of Man fundraiser, a group of Siegfried residents travel to CFH every week to help out the staff and guests at the Center.

Lipnicky added this year’s Day of Man is more necessary than ever because the Center is facing a large deficit due to the pandemic. Although the restriction on fundraising via cash collections is a difficult obstacle, Lipnicky and Lemkuil are hopeful that a large social media presence, emails to family friends and involvement from Notre Dame clubs across the country will help make up for the losses. 

“Now, more than ever, we’re more connected by our phones and social media,” Lemkuil said. ”We actually do think that we can do a lot of good this year.”

Last year, Day of Man set a record with over $22,700 in donations for the CFH. This year, due to the uncertainty of virtual donations, Lipnicky said the focus is to help the Center however they can.

“We have no idea how it can all look this year, but we just know something has to be done,” he said. 

Residents of Siegfried Hall will still wear t-shirts, shorts and flip flops on Tuesday in order to passively advertise in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. However, they will not be doing dining hall shifts or hanging out outside of classes.

Even for a Florida native like Lipnicky, the sense of community that fundraising in the harsh winter weather fosters is special — regardless of the restrictions on fundraising.

“I’m from Florida, so simultaneously I won’t miss the 45-minute dining hall shift, but also there’s something beautiful about 40 or 50 of your closest friends all working together, dancing around, blasting music and talking to as many people as possible outside the dining halls with snow falling,” he said.

In an abnormal senior year, Lipnicky said the possibility of missing out on Day of Man was what worried him most when considering potential canceled opportunities the pandemic could cause. However, even in a limited format, he is excited to be able to participate in one last Day of Man.

“The opportunity to do anything this year has reminded me to be very grateful for the little things,” Lipnicky said. “[Day of Man] was something that has touched my heart in a way nothing else at Notre Dame has. Just the opportunity to get to do this one last time, that’s really special.”

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About Ryan Peters

Ryan is a sophomore in Knott Hall who hails from Lake Forest, Illinois. He is majoring in marketing and — temporarily — political science. He currently serves as an associate news editor for The Observer. Follow him on Twitter @peterrsryan.

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