Life in Gallup B: How a once solitary residence hall is building community together

From waking up to the sounds of roof work and fire alarms to having broken air conditioners and ants crawling along the windowsills, life in Gallup B couldn’t be better.

The Gallup residence hall is split into four buildings, each with four floors. The first floor is apartments and the second two are suite style dorms. Historically, Gallup has been defined “as more of a private, not-as-community-based hall,” according to sophomore Hayley Fennimore, Gallup B’s resident assistant.

“Last year everyone had their doors closed and it wasn’t super inviting,” said junior Kerry Phillips, Gallup B’s student chaplain.

While Gallup has previously held the stereotypical closed door community, Fennimore and Phillips both have optimistic hopes for the 2020-2021 school year, as they aim to redefine the Gallup B community.

Freshman Abby Lapp, a resident in Gallup B, reciprocates the desire for a redefined community.

“I hope that we can form a close-knit community of girls who can trust each other and keep each other
accountable,” Lapp said.

While Fennimore has been encouraging Gallup B residents to keep their doors open, Phillips has initiated an activity called ‘secret sister’, where each Gallup B resident picks a name from a hat and that is their ‘secret sister’.

“The idea behind that is that you don’t want them to know you’re their secret sister, so you just want to meet everyone,” Phillips said.

As a secret sister you are supposed to get to know your sister and give them little notes and gifts (secretly of course) in an act of encouragement and building community. This activity encourages the Gallup B residents to get to know everyone in their building.

Additionally, Fennimore decorated the walls of Gallup B to resemble the television show “Friends” as she states that the “show encompasses a great community of friends” and that she “would love that in [Gallup B].”

Phillips also decorated a bulletin board on the second floor of Gallup B and titled it “You Grow Girl,” with little pockets that are labeled with each of the fruits of the spirit. She created this wall because she hopes it encourages the residents of Gallup B “to just keep on growing in the fruit.” She believes that “if God keeps on planting these fruits and these seeds in our lives and then we can embody Christ to other people.”

Phillips created little flower cards that are placed in each of the fruits of the spirit labels, with the idea that residents can pick a flower whenever they feel in need of that particular fruit. Each flower has an encouraging message on the inside, in hopes of brightening that person’s day.

As Gallup B aims to redefine their closed door community, the lurking policies of COVID-19 are still at hand.

“I think COVID has really hurt the community in Eastern,” Fennimore said. “We base our community on seeing people and hanging out with people.” Even with the policies of COVID-19 preventing some of the hopes and dreams of the Gallup community, Fennimore continues to have an optimistic outlook.

“I think Eastern as a whole can rise about that and still have the community even if it’s online,” said
Fennimore. So while living in Gallup may result in having a few early mornings due to roof work or even a hefty climb up the stairs, you can ultimately find a community that is being redefined through opening up doors and creating a space that is welcoming, encouraging and most importantly, grounded in Christ.

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