Tuesday morning, residents of the student apartments received a wonderful surprise if they left the building between 7:00 and 9:30 a.m. Nestled in the corner behind the northwest staircase, the Apartments Community Council (ACC) waited, handing out coffee and Rise ‘n Roll donuts to every unsuspecting person who walked down the stairs.“It was a nice way to get started on a rainy morning,” Grace Weaver, a junior, said.
The four current members of the ACC, which started just last year, are Katie Dwyer-Zeman, assistant director of residence life and student activities; Lucas Harnish, a junior; Seth Krabill, a senior; and Emily Miller, a senior. As members of the ACC, they are responsible for facilitating community between the residents of the Student Apartments.
“There had been comments about students not feeling connected to the other people living in the apartments,” Dwyer-Zeman said. “We obviously weren’t going to have RAs to facilitate interactions, but it’s nice to have a few student liaisons between the residents and me.”
Students who were residents in the Student Apartments last year may remember the many potlucks organized by the ACC. This year, the ACC plans to continue the apartment potlucks, starting with a Thanksgiving edition. In addition, they have organized a trick-or-treat event this Saturday during which the apartment residents will leave their doors open and await trick-or-treaters from all over campus, hand out candy and potentially provide a few good scares.
Also in the works is a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” program, where apartments would randomly host the residents of another apartment for dinner. The ACC even distributed a resident directory near the beginning of the school year to better familiarize everyone with their neighbors in the apartments.
“The goal is really getting people out of their apartments and getting to know each other,” Dwyer-Zeman said.
Harnish continued, “We want to make people proud to be in the apartments.”
Harnish was eager to join and have an impact on the community feel of the apartments.
“I want to have a more direct voice in the creative ideas and planning events,” Harnish said. “The apartments are a little more secluded, and… they’re not conducive to a lot of interaction. It would be cool if we got a hot tub in the basement. That would bring people together.”
For Krabill, the ACC is a chance to continue building community like he did as an RA.
“I’d like to push for more a of a dorm feel, where you know every person on your floor,” Krabill said. “Because we don’t have lounges anywhere to hang out, it makes it harder, and you have to be more intentional. It seems like everybody wants to have more community, but they’re waiting on someone else to start it.”
Last year, a rumor spread around that one of the first-floor apartments would be converted into a lounge for apartment residents to share as a common space.
“We really do have a lack of community space [in the apartments],” Dwyer-Zeman said.
This year, she brought up the idea to the Residence Life staff, but there are still no plans to move forward with it.
So far, though, the efforts of the ACC have been received well, and they hope to keep encouraging community throughout the year.
“People have been positive about it,” Harnish said.
Miller added, “It’s going really well, and I really like the ideas we have planned for this semester.”
To participate in the upcoming trick-or-treat event, apartment residents need only email a member of the ACC agreeing to hand out candy, and they will be reimbursed for seven dollars of that candy. The rest of the campus is asked to come to the apartments in costume and trick-or-treat at the open doors.