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Howard wins Hall of the Year; Keough, Cavanaugh awarded men’s, women’s titles

| Wednesday, April 13, 2022

A decade after winning Hall of the Year in 2012, the Howard Hall Ducks won the 2021-2022 Hall President’s Council Hall of the Year contest. Keough Hall won the Men’s Hall of the Year award this year, and Cavanaugh Hall won Women’s Hall of the Year award. The three winners will all celebrate by holding Dome Dances in the Main Building in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Clare Brown, a junior and the 2021-2022 Howard Hall president, said her dorm specifically tried to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts this year. She said Howard hosted 15 events of various sizes that focused on these efforts, including a performative allyship panel and the Howard Tunnel of Love event in March.

Howard Hall 2021-2022 vice presidents Cassie Van Etten (left) and Lauryn Pugh and president Clare Brown celebrate winning the 2021-2022 Hall of the Year contest.Courtesy of Howard Hall
Howard Hall 2021-2022 vice presidents Cassie Van Etten (left) and Lauryn Pugh and president Clare Brown celebrate winning the 2021-2022 Hall of the Year contest.

“Basically, we turned the Howard arches into a tunnel of love and inclusion,” Brown said, describing Tunnel of Love. “We put a bunch of quotes, poems, reflection prompts, flags … up inside of the arches and had it up all day.”

She said the event also displayed timeline of Notre Dame’s successes and failures in becoming more inclusive. In organizing Tunnel of Love, Howard partnered with many diverse campus groups including the Gender Relations Center, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, PrismND, the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy, Access-ABLE, the Black Student Association and the Latinx Student Alliance.

Howard previously held Tunnel of Love, Brown said, but the event had not taken place in a few years. Another successful event that returned after a multi-year hiatus was Howard Hall Family Reunion, a Howard-wide weekend retreat at a camp in Michigan the weekend after Welcome Weekend.

“We hung out and bonded and talked about what our values are as a community,” Brown said. “Sixty people went out of the 140 Howard residents, so it was really, really fun.”

She said the dorm’s strong sense of community was “really solidified” after the retreat. That same community spirit empowered this year’s residents to plan and host their own dorm events, including an album release party for Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version),” organized in November by two first-year students. Brown said the event attracted “probably over 100 people,” the most she has ever seen in Howard’s main lounge, nicknamed “the Pond” at one time.

Brown said she is also proud of two other accomplishments this year: Howard’s greenNDot training numbers — over 44% of residents completed training this year — and the dorm’s annual Totter for Water event which raised $10,000 for Engineers Without Borders in September.

“My heart is just filled with joy and love for everyone in the dorm,” Brown said. “I’m just so happy for everyone and proud to have been a part of it and to see the Howard community finally get the recognition that it deserves.”

Keough wins Men’s Hall of the Year

Patton Meacham, the 2021-2022 president of Keough Hall, said the Keough Kangaroos plan to celebrate their Men’s Hall of the Year win with a “huge cookout” featuring free food, yard games and karaoke when the weather improves.

He said the dorm’s main goals this year included maintaining existing traditions and strengthening Keough’s dorm identity and connections with other dorms. He feels they accomplished all of this and more.

“Our dorm typically has seven distinct, unique and amazing section cultures that each complement each other,” Meacham said. “We were able to get all of the sections of Keough to come together this year to create a vibrant community that was consistently excited to improve Keough throughout the year.”

The Kangaroos last won Men’s Hall of the Year in 2009 and were determined to win this year despite a new rector, two new assistant rectors and several RAs who had transferred into Keough. 

“We created a dorm culture that was excited about all things Keough and were able to get heavy attendance at a variety of different events,” Meacham said. “This includes getting over 70 residents greeNDot trained, having our largest signature event ever and having hall government meetings with over 50 people.”

Meacham said Keough’s popular chariot race signature event and following toga party had an “incredible turnout.”

“We had over 19 dorms come out in the freezing rain to race in wooden chariots for charity and had over 350 people attend a toga-themed dance in the middle of winter,” he said. “That’s dedication to the dorm if I’ve ever seen it!”

He added that “The Marilyn, ”a mini-golf tournament where each section builds a hole, and “Keough Kitch,” the dorm’s food sale business which donates a portion of its proceeds to mission work in Kitete, Tanzania, were also particularly successful this year. The dorm also piloted a new signature event in the fall called Marilyn’s Mansion — a week of Halloween-themed events that culminated in candy donations to local schools.

Meacham said that his favorite event was the elaborate funeral Keough held for its fourth-floor fish.

“Eighty-plus people attended with full formal attire, and it featured a bagpiper, prayers from our new rector, Deacon Gabe, and an opera singer to sing a song in the memory of the fish,” he said.

Cavanaugh wins Women’s Hall of the Year

Courtesy of Cavanaugh Hall
Cavanaugh Hall won the 2021 – 2022 Women’s Hall of the Year award. According to 2021 – 2022 hall president Molly Schroeder, this is the dorm’s first Hall of the Year win since 2009.

Although the Chaos of Cavanaugh Hall had not won a Hall of the Year award since 2009, junior and 2021-2022 hall president Molly Schroeder said the dorm has facilitated a strong community for many years.

“It’s been a very internal community, and it’s not one to usually seek outside validation,” she said. “Regardless, we have a really strong spirit of tradition and a wonderful community of both women who live in Cav currently and alumni who are always cheering us on.”

She said one of the dorm’s proudest moments this year was winning the interhall flag football championship after an undefeated season. Over 40 women played on the team, and over 100 people attended the championship game. 

“In addition to that, we would have a Cav spirit section that would come out to every football game to make sure we were cheering all these girls on,” Schroeder said.

The Chaos also introduced a new signature event this year, “Cavaret,” described by Schroeder as “dinner and a show courtesy of the Chaos.” Over 100 Cavanaugh women served food to students and community members at the campus-wide event featuring 12 students groups and performers sharing their talents on a stage set up outside on North Quad. At the end of the night, Cavanaugh residents enjoyed a hall dance. 

The women of Cav also further developed their internal community, creating first-year and international student commissioner positions on the dorm’s hall council and continuing their annual celebration of National “Chaos Never Dies Day,” a real national holiday that takes place every November 9. 

“It’s a celebration of chaos … we usually have breakfast for dinner and a whole celebration,” Schroeder said. “We made stickers this year which was awesome.”

She added she feels honored to have served as Cavanaugh’s president this year.

“The women here are just incredible and love each other every day, regardless of title,” she said. “I think it’s so special they get to show this next year with Dome Dance. I’m really grateful for this community and all the things it means to many, many people.”

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About Claire Reid

Claire Reid is an associate news editor at the Observer for the 2022 - 2023 term. She is a junior from Madison, Wisconsin in the Journalism, Ethics and Democracy program.

Contact Claire