Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014: was another move-in day at Goshen College
As always, a parade of jam-packed minivans heralded the arrival of a new school year. The incoming frosh, however, were unaware that something was notably wrong with this year’s procession.
Nestled neatly between Java Junction and the train tracks, a legend stood silent. Miller dorm, a faithful stalwart of the GC Residence Life fleet, is closed. This year, the halls of Miller dorm will remain empty, akin to Blockbuster movie stores and every Long John Silver’s restaurant ever.
Miller dormitory was built in 1966, and it was immediately declared the best GC Residence Hall built during that year.
To put things in perspective, during the year 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States, gas was 32 cents per gallon, The Sound of Music won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and it was a mere 58 years since the Chicago Cubs had won their last World Series.
Miller’s Residence Life twin, Kratz (constructed in 1964 – the older twin), is now left alone, yearning to fill the dorm-shaped hole in his heart.
According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, their namesakes, Orie O. Miller and Clayton Kratz, served together on one of the first Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) relief teams, until Kratz’s untimely and mysterious disappearance in Ukraine in 1920.
Today, however, it is Kratz dorm that must press onwards in solitude, much like peanut butter without jelly, Simon without Garfunkel or Identity and Culture without Community.
Admittedly, closing a dorm does enable GC to be a better steward of its resources, while simultaneously fostering community in the other, fuller, Residence Halls. However, this progress in the GC Core Value of Global Citizenship is offset by the decline in the not-yet-added Core Value of Impassioned Millership.
Fond memories of Miller dorm permeate the collective unconscious of the GC student body, while many questions about the future still hang in the air.
Questions such as: “What will the building be used for?”, “Will the bathrooms still get dirty right after they’ve been cleaned?”, and “Will I still be assessed room check-out charges?” remain on the minds of many GC students.
Although no new plans for the building’s use have been released, rumors suggest that “Swimming Pool” and “Underpass” are high on the list of possibilities. Others have expressed hope for Miller dorm to be added as a possible SST location for the 2015-16 academic year.
Those who remember the quiet magnificence of Miller dorm now pass by in disappointment, much like freshmen who go to the Rott at 10:30 a.m. on a weekend expecting hot food.
As the adjustment to life without Miller begins, many students have found comfort in the old saying, “You can take the student out of Miller, but you can never take the Miller out of the student.”
The lessons learned in its halls will continue to shape us far beyond our days at GC.
Miller dorm, you will reside in our hearts forever.