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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Welsh Family Hall focuses on community building, charity events

Founded in 1997, Welsh Family Hall serves as a West Quad home to around 267 women. The 2019 Women’s Hall of the Year features four floors, 132 rooms, and a chapel dedicated to St. Kateri Tekawitha. The Whirlwinds are known for what many of its residents call its strong community.

Hall president sophomore Maegan Rose Dolan said the dorm’s spirit makes its community a welcoming environment for all.

“I think we have a very strong dorm community,” Dolan said. “Everybody is really proud to be a Whirlwind and everybody tries to get involved in every way that they can, whether it’s through dorm sports, or service or faith ... There’s just so many aspects that they can choose from and get involved in their own way to make their own impact on the dorm.”

Sophomore Bridget Murphy, who serves as vice president, said Welsh Family Hall’s involvement in the greater Notre Dame community is also worth noting.

“A big part of Welsh Fam, too, is having the girls represent Welsh Fam outside of the dorm,” Murphy said. “I think that our really strong relationships have a presence outside of the dorm — whether it be at other dorm events or other sporting events — I think that there’s a network that’s always expanding to give girls the opportunity to be a part of that.”

Dolan said the dorm has close relationships with its namesakes, Robert Welsh Jr., who graduated from Notre Dame in ’56 and his wife Kathleen Welsh. Dolan said all Welsh were once invited to attend a formal dinner with the Welsh family.

“Our dorm is 21 years old now — last year was our 20th anniversary and we had the opportunity to have dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Welsh, which was a really awesome opportunity,” she said. “We got to have dinner with them in the Dhanke ballroom and it was open to all girls in our hall ... Everyone got to get dressed up and it was a great time.”

Dolan said Welsh Family boasted particularly successful signature events this year.

“We have DanceFest … dance groups from all over campus come and perform at Washington Hall, and all the proceeds from that go to Unity Gardens,” Dolan said. “This year, we had a new signature event, which actually won in HPC this year as best new signature event — the Hoedown Throwdown — earlier in the year in the fall. … That was a lot of fun, and a miniature pony came.”

Next year, Murphy said she and Dolan plan to include additional hall events, returning to old Welsh Family Hall traditions that had been abandoned in recent years. 

“Something we used to do was a signature event called ‘Kiss the Pig,’ she said. “We’re really hoping to bring that back — it would just be another fundraiser for women’s education in Bangladesh. But we’re hoping that, again, we’re ... trying to create a bigger presence on campus.”