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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Record number of students to partake in Senior Week events

Senior Week for the class of 2022 begins Sunday, May 8, and a record number of students have signed up for this year’s events, senior class council president Timmy Gallagher said. 

Because the class of 2022 missed out on many traditions throughout the past few years due to the pandemic, Gallagher said the senior class council (SCC) and the senior week committee wanted to update events and improve the student experience.

“We kind of doubled down on the really big traditional ones and then kind of went a newer route with the other ones that weren't as popular,” Gallagher said. 

The week will kick off with a class Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by food, music and games on Library Lawn. This is the first year a Senior Week event has been planned for a Sunday, Gallagher said.  

Seniors will then have the opportunity to spend Monday in Chicago for the “Roars and Scores” event. The afternoon will be spent at Lincoln Park where students can access the Lincoln Park Zoo and then spend the night at the Chicago Sports Museum. About 700 students will spend the day in Chicago said Adam Bisignani, a member of the senior week committee.

Seniors usually spend the Tuesday of Senior Week at a Chicago Cubs game. Last year, however, the class of 2021 was unable to travel to Chicago because of COVID-19 restrictions, so they went to a South Bend Cubs game instead. Gallagher said this event was a great success, so the committee and the SCC decided to stay in South Bend for the baseball game again this year. Not only is a South Bend Cubs game closer and cheaper than a Chicago Cubs game, but it is more accessible to students, Gallagher said. The game will also be more Notre Dame-centric. 

“They kind of customize the stadium with Notre Dame logos, they play the fight song. I think they’re going to do the alma mater at the end,” Gallagher said. “They’re going to bring down like Notre Dame students for the in-between games, so we really do VIP stuff.”

The Commencement Ball will take place Wednesday at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. The ball is the most highly anticipated and talked about event among students, Bisignani said. 

Because many seniors were unable to attend the 86 days dance due to capacity limits of the Dahnke Ballroom, Gallagher said he wanted to make the Commencement Ball a memorable experience. 

“We really want to make it really special, really good, really hype it up, get people excited, and I think it worked,” Gallagher said. “Talking to SAO workers and advisors ... I think we’re expecting like 2,000 people to be there.”

Thursday includes a class picnic and then a Grotto trip. For many seniors, Gallagher said, the class trip to the Grotto is a very full-circle moment, as many students reflect on their first class trip to the Grotto during Welcome Weekend their first year. 

“You go to the Grotto one last time with your class, with your friends and everyone,” Gallagher said. “Fr. Pete will be there to say some words, say a prayer, stuff like that. And it’s kind of like a final send off.”

This Grotto trip marks the end of Senior Week as the University commencement weekend begins Friday, Gallagher said. 

Because planning the week is an elaborate process, the committee began planning at the beginning of the school year. Each member of the committee planned one day, and the SCC took on an advisory role, Gallagher said. For bigger events like the Commencement Ball, multiple members of the committee were assigned to plan the event. Bisignani, who helped plan the events on Monday and Tuesday, said he is not only looking forward to the events, but also to the student response.

“It’s been very gratifying just to see that people are excited, that people are talking about it and looking forward to the events that we’ve planned just because it is a whole year’s work that’s gone into it,” Bisignani said. “It will be exciting to see people enjoying the events and being a part of it.”