The University of Notre Dame is a special place for countless people on campus and around the world! Beyond the beautiful golden dome and other amazing sites around the campus, Notre Dame students find their place here in many ways. This series shares their stories and illustrates the many ways that people find their home under the dome! This week, admissions intern Nicole shares how she found her place in her dorm!
When asked, everybody at the University of Notre Dame will confidently boast that their residence hall is surely the best on campus. Every first year at Notre Dame is randomly assigned to one of 32 residence halls, with each coming with its own colors, mascot, traditions, and unique communities. Throughout a student’s time at Notre Dame, they often remain in this dorm for at least their first three years. I am beyond grateful to have been placed in the incredible Cavanaugh Hall, home of the Chaos (and Women’s Hall of the Year 2022! #womenofthemillenium), my first year. Much of my Notre Dame experience has been shaped by the chaotically wonderful community nested inside my home under the dome.
Like many other residence halls on campus, Cavanaugh Hall is home to many amazing traditions that have been monumental throughout my time at Notre Dame. One such tradition is our participation in the first pep rally of the football season. Every year for the first pep rally, all of the residence halls on campus don their colors, wave their flags, and populate South Quad, eager to celebrate the coming of a new football season. Cavanaugh Hall in particular takes the task of holding down the barricade incredibly seriously. As a hall, we congregate in the parking lot in front of our hall, covering ourselves in green and purple everything, including clothing, paint, and copious amounts of glitter. (Seriously, the glitter after a pep rally sparkles in front of Cav for WEEKS following the first pep rally. It’s glorious.) After we are prepared, we proceed to South Quad, speakers and hall flag in hand, chanting our many Cavanaugh Hall battle cries. As we typically do all of this over an hour before the pep rally even begins, we are consistently the first hall to arrive at the pep rally, and our party continues as we wait, holding the barricade. The first pep rally has consistently been one of my most cherished memories at Notre Dame, as it is a time for our community to continue to grow closer. My first year at Notre Dame, the pep rally was a time for me to realize the amount of love and spirit housed inside my hall, learning the new cheers and being far too excited to cover myself in glitter. This year’s pep rally was my last as a Cavanaugh resident, and even though I live off campus this year, it was an amazing opportunity for me to meet and get to know the new first years in Cavanaugh, watching them celebrate the amazing community I have had the privilege of calling home.
Aside from the egregiously chaotic (and did I mention glitter-filled?) pep rally, it is the small moments within Cavanaugh Hall that really help make it my home under the dome. Some of my best college memories have come from the silly antics that have occurred just from being in the right place at the right time in my hall. This past week, I was visiting Cavanaugh Hall while on campus, and as I walked through the halls, I was asked by a friend if I was a runner. Upon answering yes, I was recruited to join the very elite Cavanaugh Hall Interhall 5k racing team (for reference, I do not have any sort of cross-country experience other than my own sporadic self-motivated running). The following day, the group of us put on our Cavanaugh Hall pinnies and lined up at the start line of the Burke Cross Country route, along with runners from other residence halls on campus. Even with my limited experience, the support that I received from my fellow Cav runners was astounding, and even after the race we were laughing and celebrating together (and I even nearly got a personal best!). There are certain moments that I personally label as “peak college,” encompassed by the silliness and spontaneity that comes from this unique stage in my life. The interhall 5k race definitely fell into being a “peak college” moment, absolutely random but so fulfilling and, as always, filled with love.
Cavanaugh Hall has an incredible sense of interconnectedness, and there is a constant reassurance that anybody in the hall would do anything for another Cavanaugh resident. As a hall, our open door policy literally means that our doors are nearly always open when we are home, ready for conversation. On a deeper level, this open door policy means that no matter what it is, big or small, we are always there for each other. Even now that I live off campus, I feel deeply integrated into the Cav community, and many of my closest relationships from my time at Notre Dame have come from being a part of Cavanaugh Hall. As it is for most at Notre Dame, my residence hall has been my most cherished home under the dome, and I am incredibly grateful to have found a profound and deep sense of community and acceptance as a member of the Chaos.