Every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., the residents of Cavanaugh Hall gather in the basement together to hear about what is happening on campus, what is coming up within the hall, and to gather in community and chaos. Usually, Molly (our hall president) and myself (our vice president) are in some sort of ridiculous costume to encourage attendance (because who wouldn’t want to see us in conspiracy theory outfits?!). Everybody is excited to come together and see each other, and to work together to make Cavanaugh Hall a better place.
Every hall on campus has their own equivalent of a Hall Council, consisting of a hall president and vice president. The hall executive cabinet works with a team of commissioners throughout the hall, with roles ranging from spirit, to faith, to multicultural, to baking, and many more. Together, the team helps create events to satisfy the needs and desires of their hall, as well as to promote a sense of community throughout residential life on campus. In the past few weeks, my hall, Cavanaugh, has held a Salsa and Salsa dance lesson and salsa tasting night, movie nights with other halls, prayer groups together, and a spirit week full of lots of community-building activities, among others. Through the events that the hall executive team plans, the hall community is able to come together, get to know each other, and have a more fulfilling residential experience at Notre Dame.
This past month, our hall planned a new signature event. Every hall on campus has a charitable cause that they work with, and often accompany this with a large, campus-wide, signature event fundraiser. Cavanaugh created a new signature event this year: the CAVaret, a dinner and a show. We were able to bring together hundreds of people, both current students and campus visitors, to gather for dinner and watch a show of student performers, including a capella, comedy, and musical performances, dance groups, and even our jump rope club. Together, we raised money for the Visitation Maternity Ward in Nairobi, Kenya, a Holy Cross mission working to promote prenatal care and women’s health. Other hall councils also put on their own signature events, and while the events are a great time for the campus community to come together, they also promote the hall itself coming together in pursuit of a stellar event. I was personally able to get to know lots of Cavanaugh residents through the planning and execution of the Cavaret.
Getting involved in hall council has been one of the most rewarding experiences at Notre Dame for me: I have been able to get to know the other women in my hall, create engaging events to promote the interests of those in our community, and learned a great deal about how to plan an event and push through roadblocks. I look forward every week to my thirty minutes of pure Cavanaugh, and encourage everybody on campus (and hoping to come!) to get involved in their hall councils, and to make the spaces in which they live a better place.