Tags: Hall of the year, residence halls, Residence Life Hall of the Year presentations, which give hall presidents and vice presidents the chance to summarize the activities and condition of their dorm, begin next week. These presentations make up more than half the criteria for the Hall of the Year selection.Senior Michael Wajda, co-chair of Hall Presidents Council, said 65 percent of Hall of the Year deliberations are based on next week’s presentations, in which hall presidents recap their dorm’s activities over the last year with respect to three categories: heart, mind and body.“Over the course of the next week, all of the dorms are going to be giving their presentations, and they’ll be graded on the mind, heart and body categories, but they will also be graded on how they have worked to grow as a community holistically,” he said. “We’ll judge how they’ve worked to include all members of the community, and what sort of sustained unique impact they’ve had this year.”Wajda said 5 percent of the deliberations is based on the dorm’s signature event, which is hosted by the dorm and open to all of campus. The remaining 30 percent is based on monthly Rockne presentations.“These presentations are snapshots that the presidents provide each month, just a listing of what they’ve done which includes events and a couple of pictures,” Wadja said.“We really look for four things in the Rockne presentations,” he said. “We look for how they’ve advanced the mental aspect of dorm life, which can be anything from cultural events, academic events and sustainability events. We also look at how they advance the body of the dorm, so that includes inter-hall athletics and social events.“Finally, we look at how they advance the heart of dorm community that include the service and liturgical aspects,” he said. “There’s a reflection and goals aspect of the presentation where we ask them to see where they want to go from here in the next month.”Kathleen Clark, Hall Presidents Council co-chair, said it is impossible to judge each dorm in a vacuum.“Each of the 29 halls is Hall of the Year in some way,” she said. “So really what we’re looking for is to see that each residence hall has been the best possible version of itself.”Michael Wajda said the Hall of the Year selection is made by a group of nine judges.“These nine judges are the two Hall Presidents Council co-chairs, the council finance chair, the two HPC social chairs, the athletic chair, one senior member of judicial council and two senators.“The judges represent a really diverse group of people,” he said. “We have a good mix of all the quads, all the grades and both genders. It’s a really fun mix of people and we’ve really enjoyed working together.”Wajda said the senators do not have to judge their own dorms.“One of the things we’ve changed is the institution of a recusal process,” Wajda said. “If I felt like I couldn’t be fair in judging Duncan, I could recuse myself without hurting their overall grade.”Clark said Notre Dame residential life holds a special place in her heart.“I showed up for freshman orientation at 2011 and I knew I wanted to be a part of hall council,” Clark said. “I had the good fortune of being on hall presidents council last year and, while I really love and cherish the Farley community, I relished the opportunity to work with each of the 29 communities on campus.”Clark said the most rewarding aspect of her position as Hall Presidents Council co-chair is seeing the hard work the presidents and vice presidents put in to improve student life for those who live in their dorm.“As co-chair you get a glimpse into each community, and that has been a tremendous gift,” she said. “It has made me cherish my Notre Dame education even more because the quality of residential life here is so special.”Wajda said there are several concrete prizes for winning Hall of the Year, including a plaque for the winning dorms, a dome dance and a monetary prize. Two dome dances are given out, one to the overall Hall of the Year and one to either the Women’s Hall of the Year or the Men’s Hall of the Year — whichever is the opposite sex of the overall winner.Clark said the biggest and most meaningful prize for winning Hall of the Year is the title and recognition.“It’s something special to be able to put Hall of the Year on the banner outside your dorm,” Clark said. “It’s all about the bragging rights.”Clark said the selection process is difficult because every dorm is worthy of Hall of the Year.“We recognize there are 29 outstanding communities on campus that are lead by 29 outstanding presidents, vice presidents, and communities,” Clark said.“I think what is valuable in having Hall of the Year awards is that it continues to affirm the importance of residence life here at Notre Dame,” she said. “It is worth celebrating a good, strong community. That’s one of the things that makes Notre Dame different. You hear constantly that people come here for the residential structure, and we have a role in perpetuating that importance and strengthening our communities into families.”Wajda said Notre Dame residential life is unique in that students of all years are living and learning together.“You’re a senior living next to freshman and across from sophomores, and you’re all called Highlanders or Vermin, or Lions, or The Finest,” he said. “It’s a system that most other colleges don’t have, and having Hall of the Year lets us say that Notre Dame residential life is something special, something unique and something meaningful.”
This season, consistency has been the name of the game for the No. 1-ranked USC sand volleyball team. From top to bottom, all five Women of Troy pairs have produced quality wins in a steady fashion, and it was no different this weekend at the 2015 Pac-12 Invitational in Santa Monica. After beating Arizona State by a 4-1 score and sweeping No. 10-ranked Arizona 5-0 twice, the Women of Troy (24-0) claimed their second consecutive Pac-12 Invitational title and remained perfect on the season.In total, USC dropped just three sets over the course of the day, while their two 5-0 sweeps of Arizona upped their total to 16 sweeps on the year. Some milestones were met on the day as well, as the sophomore tandem of Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler won all three of their matches and recorded their 25th win, making them the fourth USC pair to do so this season. Furthermore, the No. 5 pair pair of senior Bria Russ and freshman Jenna Belton also won all three of their matches on Saturday and are now just one win away from also reaching that 25-win plateau. Russ herself finished the regular season with a perfect 24-0 mark in duals.USC welcomed four other up-and-coming conference teams to the Pac-12 Invitational this weekend, including No. 8 UCLA (9-4), No. 10 Arizona (15-3), Arizona State (6-11) and California (7-12). USC would start off against the winner of the “play-in” game between the No. 4-seed Arizona State Sun Devils and the No. 5-seed California Golden Bears. ASU prevailed in the earliest match of the day, pitting them against USC in the first round of the tournament. On the bottom of the bracket, No. 2-seed UCLA would face off against No. 3-seed Arizona, where the Wildcats came out victorious.In the first round of the double-elimination style bracket, the No. 1-seed Women of Troy started the morning off against the No. 4-seed Arizona State Sun Devils. USC struck first and got wins from their four and five pairs, as Belton and Russ at the five spot delivered an easy 21-5, 21-7 win over ASU’s Frances Giedraitis and Kwyn Johnson. Then, Martin and Wheeler at the four spot notched a 21-7, 21-13 win over Mia Rivera and McKenzie Willey. The sophomore pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes would clinch the dual match over on court one, handing Bianca Arellano and Macey Gardner a 21-12, 21-11 defeat. The No. 3 pair of seniors Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton added a fourth point to the team total with a 21-9, 21-19 beating of Whitney Follette and Halle Harker, while the last pair to finish was USC’s No. 2 tandem of junior Alexa Strange and sophomore Sophie Bukovec. ASU’s Jordy Checkal and Bethany Jorgensen squeaked out a close 25-23 win in the first set and rode that momentum into the second, handing Strange and Bukovec a rare 25-23, 21-17 loss on the day. Still, USC registered a 4-1 win against the Sun Devils and moved on to the semifinals of team play.The Women of Troy would then face off against a ranked team in the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats. Belton and Russ would score USC’s first point at the five spot once again, recording a 21-10, 21-12 win over Arizona’s Hailey Devlin and Sarah Seiber. The next team to score a point would be the No. 1 pair of Claes and Hughes, who beat Arizona twins Madison Witt and McKenna Witt by an identical 21-14, 21-14 score. It would be the upperclassmen of USC that clinched the dual, as the No. 3 pair of Ettinger and Norton handed Emily Kiser and Rachel Rhoades a 21-8, 21-12 loss. Strange and Bukovec at the two spot would record their first win of the day with a 21-18, 21-17 win over Kaitlyn Leary and Kendall Polan, while Martin and Wheeler at the four spot completed the 5-0 sweep with a 21-12, 26-24 nail biter win over Arizona’s Taylor Arizobal and Allie Cook. The win over the Wildcats propelled USC into the title match, but the Women of Troy would have to wait to see who their next opponent would be.The Arizona Wildcats had to face off against the ASU Sun Devils in the loser’s bracket in order to have a chance to advance to the finals and face USC. Ultimately, the Wildcats prevailed over the rival Sun Devils by a 3-2 score. An hour after the Women of Troy had beaten the Wildcats, the two teams would meet again in the championship match of the Pac-12 Invite. It would be déjà vu for the Women of Troy, as once again USC swept the Wildcats, 5-0. This time, USC got on the board first with a win on court three, as Ettinger and Norton handed Kiser and Rhoades a 21-5, 21-13 defeat. Belton and Russ at the five spot defeated Devlin and Seiber 23-21, 21-7, while the No. 1 pair of Claes and Hughes clinched the victory and the Pac-12 Invite crown with a 21-18, 21-14 win over the Witts. Bukovec and Strange handed Leary and Polan a 21-17, 21-19 loss on court two, and Martin and Wheeler clinched the sweep with an exciting three set win over Arizobal and Cook by a 21-16, 21-23, 15-11 score. By the end of the day, USC added three more wins to their total to remain perfect on the season, while handing No. 10-ranked Arizona just their second and third losses all year.The Women of Troy are hoping to carry the momentum into the postseason when they head off to the AVCA Championships held in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in early May.