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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer


Sorin College hosts annual secession week

Sorin College hosted their annual secession week, featuring events to celebrate the dorm’s proclaimed independence from the University in 1969.

Jack Burke, Sorin College vice president, explained that he and dorm president Ivan Turcios had campainged to find a balance between keeping Sorin’s traditions while also bringing in new events. 

“It's trying to keep Sorin’s traditions as the oldest dorm on campus but also trying to bring in new things that we think everyone would like,” Burke said. 

Philip Hicks, a historian, Sorin College alumni and professor at Saint Mary’s College, said that Sorin was opened in 1889. It was the first facility declared a residence hall by University founder Fr. Edward Sorin. 

“Before Sorin Hall, undergraduates lived in mass dormitories, with several people in a room in the Main Building and other places. This was the first building that had single rooms for the students, the first Catholic university in the United States that had single rooms for its students," Hicks said.

Burke noted how Sorin College does not have section culture because the emphasis is on everyone together regardless of where you live in the building. 

“We don't have sections which means our real emphasis is on everyone together,” Burke said.  “It's not where you live or what floor you're on that matters. What's really important to us is that you're a part of something and that you want to be a part of it,” he said.

Kick-It for Kevin, an annual event during Sorin’s secession week is a fundraiser held in memory of Kevin Healey, then a sophomore in Sorin who passed away in 2009 from cancer. Kick-It for Kevin raised $1,550 for research on pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancers. 

“I would say that secession week is a big thing,” Burke said. “It’s not about seceding from the University, necessarily, but it’s about being in Sorin. It's about being with people who you wouldn't necessarily always be with on a day to day basis… but making it a point of emphasis to be together in community and really just embrace who we are.”

Hicks said one of the traditions when he lived in Sorin was having a ‘Bachelor Don’ live in the building.

“That tradition of the so-called Bachelor Don or these unmarried men living in the dorms, was quickly dying out in the 1950s to the point that there were just four left,” Hicks said. “My friend Paul Fenlon was one of these four…He was the last one of this tradition that goes all the way back to the beginning of the school of these laymen living with the students.”

Hicks said when he arrived at Sorin in 1976 there wasn’t an oral tradition about Sorin’s secession from the University. 

“I arrived in August of 1976. So that was about seven or eight years after the secession took place,” Hicks said. “There was no oral tradition that Sorinites were very proud of having seceded from the university.”

He added that the Sorin College sign was there when he arrived but said it was a novelty that wasn’t given much thought at the time. 

Sorin seceded from the University in protest of the Vietnam War. During this time, Sorin named itself a separate college, however, during Hicks time in Sorin, the building was not referred to as Sorin College.