At 2 a.m. one would expect peace, quiet and tranquility. At the residential towers, however, the hallways are usually buzzing with activity. While some do sleep, many leave their doors open, some listen to music or watch TV. The smell of popcorn fills the hallway, and people shuffle in and out of their rooms.
Ashley Cicconi, sophomore, and Kate Ligget, sophomore, first met when they became roommates their freshman year at Stanford Residential College.
“It was freshman year and we got a letter in the mail saying that we were going to be roommates,” Cicconi said.
The two tried to get to know each other before actually meeting in their dorm rooms by talking on the phone and online through instant messenger.
“We were completely different people,” Cicconi said. “We were both nervous about making that first impression.”
When they finally arrived on-campus, the two hit it off.
“We were both really excited to be there and so we made the most of things,” Ligget said. “We’re now the best of friends.”
They decided to room again this year in Eaton.
Part of the reason dorms serve as such good mixers is because people spend a lot of their down time in dorm rooms, where there are plenty of people around. When students are not in class or at club meetings they return to their dorm to study, sleep or relax.
“This is where you are living, this becomes your home,” Megan Grover, freshman, said. “So you want to meet people who share your home with you, and this creates a bond.”
The fact that students are in such close proximity to one another adds to the socialization factor.
“The towers are great mixers because you can’t avoid running into people,” David Braun, freshman, said.
Since UM requires that all incoming freshmen spend their first year living on-campus, many students are eager to meet new people and form friendships. Activities and events in the dorm are occasions to bring students together.
Resident Assistants organize activities to officially break the ice and help people interact with one another. Some of these include holding open door contests and inter-floor dinners.
“The faculty is committed to building a community and programs that help contribute to that,” Leyla Al-Mansoori, Residence Coordinator at Hecht Residential College, said.
Regular dorm-wide academic and social programs are carried out, such as the popular “Sexologist” program, which aims to create an open discussion between students and speakers about sex, and the yearly September socials in Hecht. Students can also join the community council to help plan these programs.
Building a community and creating friendships are often some of the most memorable aspects of the college experience.
“It would not have been the same if we had not lived in the dorms,” Ligget said.
Karunya Krishnan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.