The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



My scathingly brilliant ideas

| Wednesday, October 6, 2021

When I was younger, my favorite movie was “The Trouble With Angels. I loved watching the main characters’ hair-brained ideas go wrong, much to the chagrin of the nuns around them. I related so much to the main character Mary Clancy, always declaring, “I have the most scathingly brilliant idea!” only to be confused when her scheme turned to shambles. As a self-proclaimed “idea person,” I, too, am constantly hatching plans, and, like Mary, more often than not my brainstorm sessions need a little tweaking before they’re ready for implementation.

“Why would we host a bake sale to raise money for snacks?” “How will you and Eva road trip to Notre Dame when neither of you have a car?” I’ll be the first to admit, my plots have holes. Still, it doesn’t hurt to dream. Read on for my own scathingly, brilliant ideas for our very own Notre Dame.

  1. Roommate switcheroo night

Arguably the most controversial of my Big Ideas, the roommate switcheroo is either met with massive enthusiasm or complete horror. Inspired by an episode of That 70’s Show I watched in middle school, I propose there be a night where everyone in a dorm puts their room keys in a bowl and then, after an hour or so of all-dorm mixing and mingling, one person from each roommate duo pulls out a key and then sleeps in that person’s room for the night. Think of it as a return to freshman year random roommates, but only for a night. Or remember sharing a hotel room with girls you weren’t close to on the soccer team. A little awkward, a lot fun, a new person to smile at and make small talk with when you see them in the dining hall.

“But, Julianna, that’s weird,” they say. “No one wants a random person sleeping in their bed,” my roommate argues. “Why don’t they just hang out in the afternoon? Why is the overnight element necessary?” my friends ask. Because there is a bond formed by brushing your teeth in front of someone else that cannot be found anywhere else.

  1. GreeNDot Dome Dance

Yeah, yeah yeah. The dome dance is “sacred,” only available to winners of hall of the year. I’m not unreasonable, I’m willing to host this soiree in any high-end exclusive location on campus. The key is planning an exclusive event for GreeNDot certified students that people will actually want to attend. An increase in bystander intervention training and another opportunity to wear semiformal attire? A win for all. Plus, just imagine how much more fun will be had with the peace of mind knowing all attendees are committed to ending interpersonal violence.

  1. Observer advice column

Admittedly, the logistics of this are a little hazy. I suppose as a columnist, myself, I could speak this into existence. But if this list of dreams is any indication, my ideas are not to be trusted. Still, I think it’d be fun to open my favorite student newspaper and read about Hopelessly Heartbroken’s dating woes or debate with our friends how we would have responded to Blinded BP Girl’s naked roommate.

  1. Smart-ass College Democrats t-shirt

Technically, this is not one of my “great but unheard ideas.” It has been heard. It has just also been rejected. More than once. Alas, brilliant thinkers are never recognized for their genius in their own time.

For those unfamiliar with my perennial product pitch to the College Democrats club on campus, I propose their club apparel feature a long-sleeve that says “College Democrats” on the front, perhaps a donkey in a graduation hat on the pocket. Then, on the back, a larger shot of the donkey, but this time reading a book. Printed over the donkey read the words: “Smart-asses.”

  1. Anything but a backpack (ABP 2.0)

Similar to the Anything But a Cup parties, I propose that on the last day of classes, seniors carry their belongings in (you guessed it!) anything but a backpack. Toolbelts, briefcases, beach pails, rolling suitcases, aprons — the sky’s the limit! Think of it as a fun way to say goodbye to 17 years of schooling, while still remembering to keep a youthful whimsy as we move deeper into the Real World. Plus, there’s nothing Notre Dame loves more than creating traditions.

  1. Haunted hall

Not revolutionary, and I think this has been brought up at multiple Pasquerilla East Hall Council meetings, but it blows my mind that no dorm creates a haunted house around Halloween. The long hallways, dim lighting and general exterior of some dorms give off real spooky vibes. Sections could pitch together and decorate a few rooms (quads preferred). Think how fun it’d be to wander around a hall you don’t live in. It’d be just like LHOP, but pumpkins instead of pancakes.

  1. Numbered dining hall tables

Being perhaps the most logical idea on this list, this scheme is not my own, but rather that of a good friend. I’m simply using my platform to push their plan into the public consciousness.

While I won’t lie, roaming the dining hall while I look for my lunch date can be fun on occasion, I do know that some of my shyer buddies get stressed and my visually impaired pal has remarked that he has a really hard time finding friends once they’ve sat down. Numbering the dining hall tables would be a relatively simple fix.

  1. “Here Come the Irish” singers

I go back and forth on this take, so do with it what you will. Instead of hearing the silky smooth vocals of Leslie Richardson at every football game, different student singers or musical groups could audition to perform it. We’d still be able to sing along, and the song would still transition to Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up To Boston,” but it could be fun to have a taste of the talent sitting right under our noses.

On one hand, I’m a stickler for a tradition and a hater of change, so I’d be sad to hear anyone other than Richardson, but I do feel that the incredible musicians at this school are underutilized. It’d be exciting to appreciate the incredibly talented Notre Dame students and say we heard them when.

  1. Notre Dame carnival

The school has brought carnival rides in for us before, but I’m proposing the type of low-grade fair seen at elementary school harvest festivals. Each dorm could man a booth and students could buy tickets. Maybe the BP Babes would run the milk bottle toss in cow costumes. Howard Hall would lead squirt gun rubber duck races. Dillon would do something Big and Red. Clubs could sell concessions and campus musical groups would perform. Food and games would be purchased by tickets and at the end of the night the tickets would be turned into the school who would then distribute funds to the student groups. Kinda like ND Day, but something that’s actually like a celebration of Notre Dame.

Do you agree with any of my ideas? Have your own schemes to share? I’d love to hear them. My friends and I need something new to debate over dinner.


Julianna Conley is a senior studying sociology and pre-health studies with a minor Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Though she is forever loyal to Pasquerilla East B-team athletics, Julianna now lives off campus. She can be reached for comment at [email protected] or @JuliannaLConley on Twitter.

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

Tags: , ,

About Julianna Conley

Contact Julianna