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Third annual ND 110 stair-climbing event asks community to ‘Never forget 9/11’

| Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Highlanders of Duncan Hall are honoring the victims of 9/11 and helping those currently in need across our nation by hosting the third annual ND 110, a 9/11 memorial stair climb, from 5 to 9 p.m. on September 27 in Notre Dame Stadium. Those who wish to take part can register online in advance. Duncan’s signature 110 flight stair climb honors the climb the first responders made in the Twin Towers 20 years ago.

Courtesy of Nhat Nguyen
Students make the 110-flight climb in honor of victims and first responders of 9/11 in the 2020 ND 110 memorial event.

Now seniors, Patrick Creaven and Connor Milligan began the event during their sophomore year in 2019. While the climb itself can help call to mind the bravery demonstrated and sacrifices made by so many on 9/11, the event also raises funds for Heart 9/11. According to the organization’s website, its mission is to “Respond immediately to natural and man-made disasters,” “Rebuild hard-hit areas to fulfill fundamental needs,” and “Recover resiliency for impacted community members.” 

In its inaugural year, 2019, the stair climb took place in Jordan Hall of Science. By the next fall, large, indoor events were a thing of the past. With the assistance of SAO director Karen Kennedy, the event took place in Notre Dame Stadium, where it will remain for this year. Duncan Hall’s president Cameron Taylor said the location of the climb will hopefully attract more people to participate, noting that just from the first year to the second attendance had improved greatly. 

“I think it started getting into the Notre Dame family a lot more the second year,” Taylor, a junior studying chemical engineering, said. 

The communal support the event has already received is apparent in the attendance seen in years past. Taylor said that athletic teams have completed the climb together with the support of their coaches, as well as faculty and administration. ND 110 holds a special place in the hearts of local first responders, too, Taylor said.

“I think the most meaningful time for me was when the firefighters dressed up in their gear were doing it. That really, really brought it to a whole new reality,” Taylor said. 

Previously, firefighters from the South Bend, Mishawaka and Clay County fire departments have come to the climb. This is a community the residents of Duncan hope to welcome back in the future, but for this year, registration remains open only to students, faculty and staff. 

Sophomore and junior residents of Duncan have been playing major roles in planning this year’s ND 110. Duncan Hall rector Nhat Nguyen has watched this event grow from the very beginning.

Nguyen reflected on the past and future ND 110, speaking specifically of the climb’s planning process being passed down to younger Duncan residents.

“The guys who take it over build on the foundation that has been laid, and then they too can go on and know that it’s in good hands,” Nguyen said. “There’s a sense of liberation in that, knowing that this is part of the process.”

As one of the younger dorms on campus, Duncan Highlanders have already seen one of their service-based signature events expand far beyond their hall. Now run through a separate club, The Bald and the Beautiful had its origin in Duncan when the community lost one of its own to cancer. Nguyen said he can see ND 110 taking a similar path, becoming too large for it to remain in the hands of Duncan Hall alone.

It has potential to be a very significant event because an event surrounding 9/11 is tough. Everyone’s affected personally,” Nguyen said. 

While the tragedy struck when current college students were very young, the organizers said they want to make sure that there is a sense of community and support through ND 110. Junior finance and ACMS student Peter Cavanaugh said they hope to promote unity and that participants continue to remember all the victims of the attacks on 9/11. 

“A bunch of people on campus from different places can come together and rally around this one event,” Cavanaugh said. 

As the stair climb takes place 10 days after the 20th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, the Highlanders are sending the message that remembering the victims, first responders and all those who gave their all on that day and for long after is not something that should happen just once each year.

“We’re doing it 10 days later, so hopefully that symbolizes the saying ‘Never forget 9/11,’” Taylor said. “That kind of shows that the spirit of 9/11 lives on.”

Courtesy of Nhat Nguyen
Residents of Duncan Hall gather in the stands of the Notre Dame Stadium after the 2020 ND 110 memorial.

Editor’s Note: This report was updated September 22 at 12:49 p.m. to reflect a date change in the event.

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About Siobhan Loughney

Siobhan is a freshman majoring in Economics. She comes from Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, but lives in Welsh Family Hall at Notre Dame.

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