Story by Emily Gregor
Photo by Luke Nankivell
On Drake University’s campus, students have the option of living in five residence halls as first-year students and four as sophomores or upperclassmen. Each hall provides its own unique social dynamics and overall experiences.
The smallest first-year residence hall, Crawford, can hold up to 163 residents while the largest, Stalnaker, can hold up to 245, which can make a huge difference.
“Living in the smaller residence halls allows you to meet everyone, not just on your floor,” first-year Crawford resident Aaron Harris said. “Since they’re always there, it’s easy to establish those relationships.”
Living in a larger hall has its benefits as well.
“I love Stalnaker’s location,” said first-year Stalnaker resident Elizabeth Johnson. “It’s close to the dining areas, Olmsted, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Underground Fitness.”
Additionally, there are negative aspects to living in such dramatically smaller and larger residence halls.
“At times, you can be cut off from other students,” Harris said.
For Johnson, the difficulty lies more in the sense of one not knowing as many fellow residents.
Either way, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives.
“You always have someone to eat with and hang out with,” Johnson said. “It’s always pretty easy to just walk down the hall and get help with homework.
For Harris, living in Crawford has given him a stronger sense of community he may have lacked had he lived in an alternative residence hall.
Students’ first-year experiences in residence hall life can easily affect his or her housing plans for the next years of college. For Johnson, being constantly surrounded by a multitude of people has encouraged her to want to continue her college years in a similar residence hall.
“I hope to live in Goodwin-Kirk where a lot of people live,” Johnson said. “I love being surrounded by the life that seems to emit from dorm life.”
Harris, on the other hand, has made his future plans based on where his classes are.
“Most of my classes are in the Fine Arts Center, so living in Jewett with my friends will be a good choice for me,” Harris said.
Other residence halls on Drake’s campus have numbers far less extreme than those of Crawford and Stalnaker.
On average, the first-year residence halls have the capacity to hold around 200 residents, while upperclassmen residence halls on average can hold around 235, excluding Goodwin-Kirk, which holds up to 492 residents.
No matter which residence hall student choose to live in, they will experience living on their own.
From having roommates to being surrounded by peers at all times, residence life is an important aspect of the college experience.