Exploring Residence Life: How the Architecture of a Hall Shapes Community

      The “best” is something that is quite difficult to gauge and is usually a resultant of a myriad of factors. Residence life is a pivotal aspect of college life and is something that will make or break one’s experience in college. Choosing carefully whether to be in a community, suite/apartment, or single room is an important part of residence life. Let’s break down the differences between each hall style.

      Most community style halls have a larger number of people which creates more opportunities to meet a greater number of people and to make new friends. Bathrooms are cleaned by staff usually per day. There are a large number of showers and stalls usually and conversation frequents the bathroom. Just by leaving your door open, you are most likely going to be given the opportunity to meet a large multitude of people. A community hall is by far one of the easiest ways to make new friends. A community hall room also allows you to save a healthy chunk of money.

      In suite style dorms, suites typically connect to each other and share a bathroom. There is more privacy and seclusion. You may have more of an intimate atmosphere with your suite-mates. It is most likely easier to get along with them in a smaller setting. A more closed-off atmosphere may also create a more private and domestic lifestyle. Rather than feeling like a dorm, a suite paves the way for a dorm to feel like a home. Megan, a sophomore in Eagle Hall, says “, When I was in a community style bathroom, I really got to know everyone on my hall since I would see them all the time. Since my hall is now private, I’m very close to my suite-mates, but I have no clue about anyone else on my hall.”

      Then there are some halls that are entirely comprised of single rooms. These halls have a small community bathroom and fewer rooms. There are four halls just like this in Hainer which are connected by two lounges. Gaelan, a senior and RA in Hainer’s singles, explains how these halls provide a more “cozy atmosphere.” He states, “I spent most of my time at Eastern with roommates and suite-mates, but this more private environment is fitting for life as an upperclassman. As an RA, I try to keep my door open when I do homework to make sure my residents know that our hall is still welcome to community.”

      Furthermore,  new developments, such as the close-door  policy in Eagle hall  provide even more variables to the mix. How that affects community at Eastern in the long run remains to be seen.

      Each experience carries with it different advantages and disadvantages, and that’s not even getting into apartments or off-campus options like commuting. When looking towards whether the community hall, or the suite style calls to you, it really depends on your personal preference. The choice of housing is a blessing and one should think about how much privacy they’d like, as well as their own sociability. While it is highly likely that a community hall shall bring about a more robust hall experience, it can lead to a dorm feeling more like a summer camp rather than a home.

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