Ferris State University is located in a portion of Michigan
that is commonly under the influence of severely cold temperatures and
significant lake-effect snow which attribute to a commonly
overwhelming sense of dullness and lifelessness during the winter
months. This is especially the case in December as winter tends to
fully start and students are eager to end their semester and leave for
Winter Break. However, the overall Vandercook Hall residential
community during the month of December proved to be lively in an
otherwise draining and dull month. I cannot pin it down to a
particular floor or hallway as the actions and comradery displayed
this month seemed to permeate the entire building. It is impossible to
list everything but a few key things stand out among the others that
lead me to nominate the Vandercook Hall community this month. |
Firstly, several residents took it upon themselves to decorate
around their doorframes this month. It is important to note that at
Ferris State you cannot decorate your door itself due to fire code.
This means that these residents had to be strategic when decorating.
All decorations remained holiday generic on their own without any
prompts from the Resident Advisor staff or myself, which alone I
consider commendable. Every hallway on every floor had at least a few
residents take it upon themselves to decorate for the holidays.
Secondly, I witnessed residents turn our main lobby into a
massive study space on their own without any or at least very little
Resident Advisor influence. I mention very little influence as a
Resident Advisor or two would join these study sessions but never
claimed the idea to be theirs. These residents never hindered the
residential experience in the main lobby as during finals week the
building was subject to the 24-hour quiet hour’s policy anyway,
including the main lobby. They simply made strategic use of the space.
During relief hours, time designated during 24-hour quiet hours for
typical main lobby use (TV, games etc.) and vacuuming, these residents
would take a break from studying and use the gaming equipment with
each other still.
Thirdly, I witnessed numerous residents assisting one another
with packing and/or moving/checking out for break. Yes, some of these
residents helped their fellow roommates and/or suitemates but several
helped out other residents living on different floors or hallways.
Many of these residents seemed to come from different sub-groups that
I had noticed throughout the academic year. For example, there are a
group of residents that smoke (cigarettes) together (outside), the
“vandersmokers”, or a group of residents that play Magic: The
Gathering with residents from other residence halls. Nonetheless, the
overall community came together to help each other transition for
Winter Break in whatever capacity that might be.
Overall, these things individually might seem insignificant but in
culmination and in consideration that they happened organically, I
consider it to be fairly impressive and conducive of community. What
is community if not coming together in fellowship to share common
goals or interests? I believe Vandercook Hall showed even if in simple
terms what a warm residential community is in this otherwise cold
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