College Bound: Residential Life and Dorms

Author: Tajae Thompson


College Bound is the Notre Dame admissions podcast. Tajae Thompson ‘22 and Connor Patrick ‘23 join us for Episode 6: Residential Life and Dorms to share how residential life works at Notre Dame and their favorite traditions and events associated with their dorm communities.


Read the previous blogs: 

  1. Application Review and Deadlines
  2. Academic Criteria for Admission
  3. Activities and Recommendations on Your Application
  4. Financial Aid and Merit Aid
  5. Notre Dame Traditions


One of the unique aspects of the University of Notre Dame is its residential life. The system is comprised of 33 single-sex, mixed-year, residence halls. The oldest dorm, Sorin College, was constructed in 1888, and the newest dorm, Johnson Family Hall, was completed just a few months ago in 2020. The easiest way to explain our dorm system is to compare it to Greek life at other universities. Your dorm acts as your sorority/fraternity, there are signature events, dorm mascots, fundraisers, formals, hall apparel, and much more! Not to sound too cliché, but your dorm can be another family for you on campus, and your future best friend could be your next-door neighbor or the person you shared a study room with on a random Sunday. For me, dorm life has been my favorite part of campus life, and I want to share some of my favorite things about it with you!

This year I have been given the amazing opportunity to be the President of Johnson Family Hall, the newest women’s dorm on campus. Having this position during a pandemic has provided a whole new list of problems, but we have come up with some creative solutions with the help of our fantastic commissioners and wonderful residents! 

Traditions are a huge part of Notre Dame dorm culture. Many dorms have been around for decades, so they have established their dorm traditions, whether it is the Keough Hall Chariot Race or McGlinn’s Casino Night, there are so many fun and unique events! A challenge with living in a brand new dorm is that we do not have any traditions yet, but we have the unique opportunity of choosing and building traditions that will be a part of the University of Notre Dame for generations to come.

Recently, Johnson Family Hall has started a new tradition as of September 19, 2020. We wanted to do something fun to get everyone excited for game day against the University of South Florida, so at 7 a.m. on game day, we woke everyone in the dorm by running through the hall and went on the first-ever “Ride of the Valkyries.” The Johnson Family Hall mascot is the Valkyries, which are powerful warriors from Norse mythology. Once everyone who wanted to participate was awake and in the lobby, we embarked on our journey of running around campus, blasting music, doing some dorm chants, and just having some fun with some great people. We ended the ride by doing the iconic run through the Reflection Pool in front of Touchdown Jesus, and it was an unforgettable end to the beginning of a new tradition. Once we returned to JFAM, we had individually-wrapped bagels for everyone to enjoy! We can’t wait for the next game day so we can do it all again!

Seeing all of the unique events and traditions that are a part of dorm life at Notre Dame never ceases to amaze me. There is so much talent, ambition, and intelligence among our students. The Keenan Revue, a comedy show, is a huge three-day event that is put on completely by the residents of Keenan Hall. LHOP (Lewis House of Pancakes) is a night filled with breakfast food, all of which is prepared by the lovely residents of Lewis Hall. There is so much creativity all over this campus, and being involved in dorm life helps students find that creative outlet they may be looking for. 

I am from South Florida, so I am pretty far from home. Ever since I have joined the JFAM community, I feel at home at Notre Dame. Some of my closest friends live in my dorm, and I feel comfortable here. Dorm life can be a beautiful thing, and it has led to some of the best experiences that I have had on campus.