Huntington University residence halls have personalities that may not fit with everyone’s ideal college experience. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
By Augustia DeWitt
“It’s kind of legendary all around campus,” said Brent Rocheleau, the current resident assistant on Baker second, when asked to elaborate on the origin story of “The Womb.” “A way, way long time ago we had someone come in, and they had this huge, huge beanbag … When he was getting ready to leave college, he said, ‘You know what, I don’t want to take this with me. It’s huge, and I can’t fit it in my car. But also, it’s become part of this floor, and I can’t take that away.’ It’s just kind of integrated itself into who we are as a floor.”
For an inanimate object, The Womb is treated with an incredible level of respect by Baker residents. It’s at the center of life on Baker second and is a symbol of the floor’s simultaneously quirky and close-knit community.
Each of Huntington University’s residence halls has a reputation of its own, with varying degrees of truth behind the stereotypes. HU has seven dormitories. Two are male-only (Miller and Wright), three are female-only (Hardy, Meadows, and Roush), and two are split (Baker and Livingston). Their reputations were crafted over many years by alumni and maintained by current residents.
RETIREMENT HOMES? Miller and Meadows Halls are junior and senior dorms on campus that have coined the term “retirement homes.” (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
Miller and Meadows Halls are typically thought of as a cohesive unit. Although they are two separate buildings, they are very similar. According to an informal survey of around 30 students on campus, Miller/Meadows is considered the “retirement home.” To live in either of these dorms, a student must have junior standing.
Individuals who chose to move to Miller/Meadows are typically thought of as very studious and perhaps occasionally overly committed to their education. Though the ability to have a quiet workspace with minimal interruption is an obvious advantage, Miller/Meadows does have its downsides.
“I want to be in a position where I get to know new students each year,” said Jonathan Dunston, a four-year resident of Wright Hall, when asked why he chose not to move to Miller. “If I live on a floor where everyone is my class or the one right next to it, I probably already know them all.”
Residents of the “retirement community” do not often leave their buildings and thus have a low level of campus life involvement. This is not to say, however, that they lack community. Students who live in Miller/Meadows grow very close with those who live on their floor, in their building and in their companion dorm, according to students who were interviewed.
HOME OF THE ATHELETES: Livingston Hall is the furthest from the academic buildings, but closest to the sports complex. (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
Livingston Hall is the newest and largest residence hall on HU’s campus. It is also the closest to the Merillat Complex, or “the Plex,” as it is known on campus. Because of its proximity to the athletic building and various athletic fields, Livingston is known as the athlete dorm.
This reputation has much evidence to back it. Many athletes choose to live in Livingston because it is most convenient for making it to practices and games on time.
Livingston is also unique in that the floor lounges are open every day. This means that men can be on women’s floors and women can be on the men’s floor until one or two in the morning, depending on the day, said Victor Fink, a freshman from Livingston third. This difference in lounge rules makes for a distinctive type of community in Livingston.
Fink also commented that he appreciated the ability to have close relationships with members of the opposite gender and more opportunities to spend time with female residents of his building.
NERDS: Baker Hall is the typical home of the hardcore gamers. (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
Baker Hall is also a mixed-gender dorm. In Baker, the first floor is reserved for female students, and the second and third floors are for male residents. Baker, according to the survey, is known on campus for being home to some of the more “nerdy” students but also for having a strong community, especially on Baker second.
“If I lived on Baker second, I would never get anything done,” said Andrew Bower, a junior who currently lives on Wright third. “It is like, T-posing, dank meme city. You walk in there, and you’re like, ‘What the heck?’ It’s nuts!”
LOUD AND PROUD: Hardy Hall residents are known for their spirit. (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
Hardy Hall is widely-known for being the only dorm without air conditioning. The women who live in Hardy are stereotypically the loudest and most outgoing women on campus, said most students interviewed.
The residents of Hardy Hall consistently show up to campus events, from Olympiad to SGA candidate speeches. Their high level of involvement helps contribute to their image of being an outgoing group.
Hardy also stands out for its plethora of traditions. Their shenanigans with “Manny” the mannequin, the first date shirt, a “haunted” room on second, building-wide games, the ring-down, and floor Christmas all contribute to Hardy’s strong connection.
“I need to get out of my comfort zone. I need to be more outgoing,” said Christine Niccum, a freshman who lives on Hardy second, about why she chose to live in what is known to be the loudest and busiest dorm on campus.
SECLUSION: Roush Hall is known on campus for being home to the more quiet and reserved women. (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
The other female-only residence hall at HU is Roush Hall. Most people think Roush is quiet and that the people who live there tend to keep to themselves.
That doesn’t mean Roush is boring or disconnected.
“If I had to sum up, I guess, Roush itself, I would say nonstop sleepover,” said Jazlyn Rust, a three-year resident of Roush first. “I was extremely worried when I first came to college about finding that community and finding that group of people where I could, like, obviously be an individual but still feel connected, and Roush really allows me to do that.”
FRAT HOUSE? Residents of Wright Hall might come off a little strong, but there’s more to the campus “frat house” than meets the eye. (Photo by Augustia Dewitt, aerial view by Coby Solms)
Aside than Miller Hall, Wright Hall is the one men-only residence hall at HU. The students who live there are known for being rambunctious and even a little obnoxious.
“We’re definitely the loudest, I won’t argue with that,” said James Newton, a four-year resident, one-year CMC and two-year RA in Wright.
Although he agreed with part of the stereotype, Newton also had many positive things to say about living in Wright.
“The people there are just very intentional, and they care about one another,” he said. “I think the whole reason I love Wright is just because of the brotherhood that it is, and it’s got a long history of brotherhood. There are some physical inconveniences for the sake of spiritual and emotional benefits.”
Every night, a good portion of the residents of Wright third go to the Dining Commons to eat dinner together. It’s a simple practice, but one that other people on campus notice.
“Wright Hall is definitely the rambunctious, rowdy guys who have a party going on 24/7,” said Victor Fink, “but also continue to foster community and are truly united.”
The overarching theme of community at HU is not just felt by residential students.
“Though I am a commuter, I am always on campus,” said Jacob Osborn, a junior broadcasting major, when he was asked about his favorite part about being a student at HU. “Eighty percent of the day I’m on campus, the other twenty percent I’m at home, sleeping. I like the community.”
Huntington University is not the only school with dorms that have reputations. Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., is one of many other schools where students place personality on their buildings.
According to Aaron Crabtree, dean of students at Grace College, dorm reputations come from two main sources: the people and their personalities, and a love of tradition.
“The students themselves tend to create a culture that tends to perpetuate itself as a portion of the same students sign up for the same res halls over and over,” Crabtree wrote in an email interview.
He also said that students tend to reproduce the leadership style and culture they experienced in previous years. The similarity within the college demographic makes small differences amplified.
Crabtree went on to say, “In a relatively insular community like a college — where 90 percent of the membership is in the same generation and life-stage — people look for differentiators.”