Dorm Life

Posted By Horizon Staff March 28th, 2013 in Features : 0 COMMENTS

Annmarie Rodriguez

Staff Writer

<<NOTE TO COPY EDITORS: This article ended up not being exactly what I wanted. (It’s more general info, when I was looking for more of a synthesis of student opinion) PLEASE feel free to edit it aggressively.>>

Westmont may be small, but it is also quaint. Its size has assisted in establishing the tightly knit, “transformative community,” that Westmont strives for (as stated in its mission statement). Whether you’re living with familiar friends or entirely new people, dorm life can be both a challenge and a blessing in the lessons that are learnt and in the memories that are created. “At any of the resident’s halls on-campus, whether you’re at Ocean View (OV) or off-campus…recognize that there’s beauty in community” stated Shannon Balram, the Resident’s Director (RD) of Page Hall, a freshman dorm.

This beautiful and “transformative community” is the product of both thoughtful leadership by and powerful prayer from the RDs, the Resident’s Assistants (RAs), and the residents themselves. “We do what we do because we seek community as a reflection of God’s image” stated Balram. But, how exactly is that community built? What’s the secret to forming a compatible room? As the RD of Page, Balram described the process. She first separates the stack of names by gender and then by those who are from California and those who are from out-of-state. Her intention is that each student has a place to go for the holidays. She thoroughly reads through every student’s application, praying to God for discernment and wisdom. Overall, sleeping patterns and cleanliness are the two main guidelines through which Balram matches roommates.

Although unified through the common goal of community, all of the dorms, whether it be Armington Halls, Clark Halls, Emerson Hall, the Ocean View Apartments, Page Hall, or Van Kampen Hall are very different in the ways which they were designed to facilitate social living and activities. This social aspect has been a major deciding factor for students deciding where to live. Location is also a key point of persuasion when choosing a dorm. One may prefer upper campus to lower, on-campus to off, or vice versa.

However, because there is only one off-campus dorm, many assume that living in the Ocean View apartments disconnects one from the thriving Westmont community on-campus. Currently living in OV, Amanda Diesen admitted to sometimes feeling this disconnect. However, one simply needs to be more intentional, “you have to make more of an effort with friendships and being social” stated Diesen. She went on to explain how much she has enjoyed cooking, driving, and the overall freedom that comes with living in OV.

Sophomore in the Clark Burbs, David Han described his fond memories from living in the dorms. They included: late night bro-time talks in Page, random dance parties with a minimal requirement of one person, and getting caught on the women’s side after hours for innocently attempting to make a bag of popcorn.

First years, Audrey Rittenhouse, Alicia Lewsadder, and Tess Seccombe who currently living in Page also explained their fond memories of late nights and lots of laughter. They described how Alicia once fell off of her lofted bed, how Audrey would sometimes laugh and talk in her sleep, and how one time at three in the morning, Tess tried to kill a “fatty” moth and instead broke a massive bulb over Audrey’s face and pillow.

As College is an adventure, so are the dorms.  People who may have otherwise never met become close friends, share unique laughs, overcome troubles, and hopefully learn from the arguments and miscommunication that consequentially occurs from so many students living together in one building. With this in mind, don’t forget to register for housing this April. For more information please visit: http://www.westmont.edu/_offices/housing/timelinesanddeadlines.html.

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