Everyone knows Notre Dame has a long history of tradition, but few besides alumni and students are familiar with the traditions of its residence halls. The university does not allow fraternities or sororities, but the dorm culture functions similarly — without the toxicity. Dorm culture fosters sisterhood and brotherhood among students, promotes giving back to the community, and provides a safe space for students to establish themselves on campus. Read on for a brief introduction to some of their time-honored events, from the charitable to the bizarre.
Home to the Whirlwinds, Welsh Fam recently celebrated their 25th anniversary in Sept. of 2022. Each fall, the hall sponsors a campus-wide event, Hoedown Throwdown, that raises money for Unity Gardens.
The Kangaroos host an annual Keough Chariot Race where they have all dorms build their own chariots to win fame, “Ben-Hur” style. At the end of Chariot Week, the men of Keough hold their Toga SYR, donning bedsheets in traditional college fashion. The Kangaroos won “Hall of the Year” for 2021-2022.
The Shamrocks of McGlinn are best known for hosting Casino Night, an evening of gambling and card games. Students can buy raffle tickets, place bets with fake money or display their moves on the dance floor. All proceeds benefit St. Adalbert School. This dorm is also known for its athletic prowess, and has won the Kelly Cup, the women’s interhall champion trophy, multiple times.
Built as the first male residence hall on West Quad in 1996, O’Neill has been home to some of the most active and rowdy men of campus. Known as the Angry Mob, the men of O’Neill show their dorm pride at signature events, including the Miss ND Pageant. O’Neill won “Hall of the Year” for 2022-2023.
The Highlanders were the new kids on the block in 2008. In the spring of 2013, they started a new tradition — the Duncan Classic, a campus-wide golf tournament — which they hold on the neighboring Burke Golf Course. They also host a winter formal called the Highlander Highrise in Chicago’s Willis Tower. In 2013, Highlanders purchased green blazers that have become their signature uniform at dorm and campus events.
Ryan Hall opened in fall 2009 and can house 254 women, featuring a variety of room types. The dorm’s priest-in-residence, the Rev. Joe Carey, C.S.C., frequently bakes cookies for the dorm. The Wildcats host the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament to raise money for Whirlwind Wheelchair International. They also host a waffle Mass every Wednesday.
Sorin College is the oldest residence hall on campus. It became a “college” in 1969 when the Otters seceded from the university to protest Notre Dame’s stance on the Vietnam War. Sorin hosts a kickball tournament each year. Superstition holds that rubbing the right foot on the statue of Father Sorin at the main entrance brings good luck. The Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C., former university president, lives in this men’s dorm. Past residents of Sorin College include Knute Rockne, George Gipp and Moose Krause.
Walsh was named after Notre Dame’s sixth president, who is credited with instituting the university’s first intercollegiate football team. To kick off the school year, this women's hall hosts a back to school pool party. The WILD (Wise in Life Decisions) Women also host Walsh WILD Week in the fall, culminating in the Mr. ND Pageant.
The Lewis Chicks host their signature dance, the Lewis Crush, which is preceded by their spirited Crush Week each year. The dorm also hosts LHOP (Lewis Hall of Pancakes), an all-you-can-eat event with different breakfast food on each floor. The building served as housing for nuns until 1975, and it is famous for its patio and accompanying covered walkway.
St. Ed’s is the oldest building currently functioning as a dorm on campus. Converted to a residence hall in 1929, it is the only residence hall listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Gentlemen of St. Edward’s Hall, or the Stedsmen, began the tradition of "floating," which includes running through the Hesburgh Library reflecting pool on the morning of every home football game. St. Ed’s holds an annual event called Founder's Week, which includes a Shuttlecock Showdown and a celebratory dinner in the Oak Room above South Dining Hall. On the last day of classes, St. Ed’s has an end-of-the-year dance on a yacht in Chicago.
Cavanaugh is near the LaFortune Student Center and home to the Chaos. Every fall, they put on a spirit week, Naughfest, leading up to their SYR. The Chaos host events such as CAVaret and Colors of Chaos to raise money for St. Margaret’s. They also host a dad’s weekend and mom’s weekend on alternating years.
Connected to Stanford Hall by the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Keenan Knights distinguish themselves with their signature event, the Keenan Revue. The Revue is a three-night sketch comedy show that the Knights put on every February. A sellout crowd attends this collection of original student comedy skits and musical performances. Keenan also hosts a huge mud volleyball tournament in the spring called Muddy Sunday.
The men of Stanford live directly across the quad from North Dining Hall. The Griffins were once known as the Studs, but changed their mascot in tribute to their former rector, the Rev. Robert Griffin, C.S.C. They host an annual Pirate Dance in the fall.
Farley Hall, located next to North Dining Hall, became a women’s dorm in 1972, shortly after Notre Dame went coed in 1972. Pop Farley week, which culminates in a dance, features a trek to Pop Farley’s grave, as well as a birthday party to celebrate Pop Farley. Their signature events are Fall Fest in October and a Fish Fry in the spring.
The Babes of BP raise money each year for Meals on Wheels with their Meal Auction. Students and faculty members bid to eat with campus celebrities. BP also hosts Think Pink Week to raise money for breast cancer research.
Siegfried opened as a women’s dorm in 1988 but became home to the Ramblers in 1997. Each year, the Ramblers celebrate the Day of Man to raise money for the Center for the Homeless by wearing only shorts and a T-shirt in the middle of winter. This year they set the record for most money raised during Day of Man, raising over $38,000.
In 1988, Knott became the first residence hall named after a woman — Marion Burk Knott. The men of Knott annually lead the Aidan Project, a cancer awareness initiative in which students make fleece blankets and write personal notes of encouragement for children undergoing cancer treatment. Next year, Knott Hall will be looking to start the “Knott Dog Eating Contest,” a campus-wide hot dog eating contest for charity. Juggerknotts can easily be spotted in their orange and blue attire, always making their presence known at campus-wide events.
Nicknamed PW or P-Dub, this dorm is home to the Purple Weasels. In 1981, Pasquerilla West was the first dorm built specifically for women at the University of Notre Dame. In the spring, Queen Week, an intradorm event, fosters inter-section competitions and ends in a dance. One girl from the winning section is crowned queen. The Purple Weasels won Women’s Hall of the Year for 2022-2023.
PE is the home of the fiery Pyros! They proudly wear red and host signature events like Silent Night Silent Auction, an auction to support St. Margaret's House in South Bend, and Can You Take the Heat?, a hot wing eating contest. They are the sister dorm to Pasquerilla West Hall and will be hosting a Pasquerilla Birthday Party this fall!
Located at the intersection of God Quad and South Quad and known to its residents as “The Center of the Universe,” Alumni is home to the Dawgs. Each spring, the Dawgs host Wake Week, which is shrouded in mystery. Alumni’s biggest rival is its neighbor, Dillon. The rivalry is reignited each year with Rivalry Week, during which Alumni and Dillon compete in different sports competitions.
Dillon is annually voted Hall of the Year (by Dillon Hall). Dillon’s signature event is its Stache Bash in the spring, during which the men of Dillon grow mustaches, bowl and raise money for charity. The Big Red also hosts Opening Day in April, a dorm-wide wiffle ball tournament with food and entertainment for the entire campus community.
You’ll know Fisher by the gigantic green ‘F’ on the building. In the fall, Fisher hosts their signature Fisher Funk SYR at the local Strikes and Spares bowling alley. Additionally, every spring, Fisher hosts the Fisher Regatta, a campus-wide boat race on St. Mary’s Lake. Money raised benefits St. Adalbert Elementary School and recently helped refinish the gym floor.
Pangborn sits on the far west end of South Quad. Five years ago, the Pangborn Phoxes moved to the new women’s hall, Flaherty, and Pangborn became a swing dorm while various halls were renovated. In 2018-2019, Pangborn was home to the men of Morrissey. Beginning in fall 2021, however, Pangborn became a men’s dorm community, offering a chance to forge new hall traditions.
Easily recognized by its famous arch overlooking St. Mary’s Lake, this women’s dorm is called “the classiest dorm on campus.” Lyons is also the only dorm featured in the movie Rudy. Lyons hosts Recess on South Quad, along with Lyons Love, an event where students can buy candy grams and get them delivered to other students on campus.
The building isn’t just its residents’ home, it’s also their mascot: the Manor. In the fall, Morrissey puts on a game watch on South Quad for all students to enjoy the first away game of the season. Each spring, Morrissey hosts an annual campus-wide scavenger hunt for a medallion.
The ladies of Howard put on their signature event Totter for Water each year, along with Howard Holiday and the Tunnel of Love. Every fall they host the Howard Hoedown, a country western-themed dance to kick off the school year. The Ducks won Hall of the Year in 2021-2022.
In November, the women of Badin host one of their new signature events, the annual Badin Bake-Off, which is a campus-wide baking competition between dorms that raises money for St. Margaret's House in South Bend. Badin was home to former university presidents, the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C, and the Rev. Edward Monk Malloy, C.S.C., before becoming the first women's dorm in 1972.
Overlooking St. Mary’s Lake from the west edge of campus, the dorm offers a beautiful view. The Vermin enjoy a close-knit community because Carroll has the fewest residents of any dorm. “A Carroll Christmas” features a tree-lighting ceremony and performances by university choirs. If you’ve been assigned to Carroll, a bike is a must, unless you want to be late to class every day; this dorm is located farthest from the rest of campus. Carroll won “Men’s Hall of the Year” in 2022-2023.
One of the newest additions to campus, Baumer Hall, opened in summer 2019. Baumer is located near Ryan and Keough and can house 251 men. The 2020-2021 school year marked the first time the hall was inhabited by authentic Baumer Buccaneers — as men of Dillon were housed there in 2019-2020 while Dillon underwent renovation. Each year they host Baumer Bay Week, a weeklong celebration combining charity and community building, along with Baumer Boo, a charitable haunted house throughout the dorm.
Located on the northeastern edge of the campus, Dunne, established in 2016, prides itself on its strong sense of community. The Sentinels cultivate the competence to see and the courage to act to stand guard over their corner of campus. Dunne’s signature events include the Dunne Funne Runne, a three-person relay race and carnival extravaganza whose proceeds are donated to charity, as well as Castles for a Cause, a night when the Sentinels create a cardboard village and host an outdoor mass to raise funds and awareness for the South Bend homeless.
Flaherty can be found northeast of the Hesburgh Library and just south of its male counterpart, Dunne Hall. Like Dunne, Flaherty opened in 2016, moving communities from Pangborn. The Bears, sporting navy and lavender, retained some Pangborn events such as Project Pumpkin Pie, and created some new events, such as Flaherty Food Fights, a campus-wide cooking competition. Flaherty Hall is the first dorm to win back-to-back Women’s Hall of the Year titles, for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.
Located east of Dunne, Johnson Family is the newest dorm on campus and opened in fall of 2020. The dorm can house 225 women, and a small number of women elected to spend the 2019-2020 year living in Pangborn to build up the Valkyrie community. JFam’s most notable event is their annual Johnson Family Feud, which is hosted each fall.