By Emily Johnson
I have been lucky enough in my final year at Roanoke to get a room in the new dorm on campus. I almost feel like it’s my due after three years in older dorms. Not that the older rooms didn’t have their perks. Crawford had huge rooms and nice showers separated by real walls. Fox’s location meant I could roll out of bed ten minutes before class and make it in ample time. Elizabeth gave me the freedom of life off campus and “grown-up” responsibilities, like cooking for myself and commuting to class every day. But in new hall I have found something totally new, an experience I’ve never fully felt in my previous dorms: the feeling of community. I know the new dorm was touted as a “learning community” where students and faculty would come together to live and learn in a familial atmosphere, but like many people I laughed at those lofty aspirations. But then I moved in and holy crap, it is a community! I can call almost everyone on my hall a friend. We put our accomplishments such as good grades or honor society induction certificates on the fridge to show off. We sit in the common area and talk about our days, venting frustration and getting to know each other as more than just fellow students. The study room is always full of studious residents, helping each other through accounting homework and editing papers. It is the most included I have ever felt in my three years at Roanoke.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to the new hall. I didn’t know anyone on the hall and I wasn’t excited about that flight of stairs between me and campus. I knew I’d have nice accommodations, but I was chafing at returning to the main campus after a year at EC. About a day after moving back I knew my doubts were unfounded. I think the realization that this dorm might provide me my best college experiences yet hit as I was sitting in the common area with my new friends watching “Community” and “Sherlock”. We had barely known each other for twenty-four hours and we were already close. Three weeks in we still hang out almost every night, whether we’re watching shows in the common room or attempting to study in the relative quiet of Eli and Corey’s room (that’s Eli Harrison and Corey Perhac. They’re single, ladies).
Part of what allows the new hall to work as a community is the set up. I can’t speak for the apartment or suite dwellers, but for those of us in the pods, we see each other a lot. It’s impossible to get to your room without passing the common room. There’s always an exchange, whether it’s a simple hello or a full blown conversation. Often people get drawn into the activity in the common room, especially when something good is on the television. There are impromptu dance parties, marathon sessions of shows, movies lasting late into the night, and even a few instances of fort building. My personal favorite thing is the fact that so many people like to bake. Fresh cookies almost every night? I am so there.
Now that the fire alarms have been fixed, it’s hard to find fault in the new dorm. Sure, the elevators are a bit slow and the cell phone service sucks, but seriously, can my problems get any