College Hall aims to create traditions
Long tables, high ceilings, colored banners and spirited traditions in a formal dining hall may sound more Harry Potter than Washington University, but this fall, students may find plenty of Hogwarts comparisons to make at College Hall.
The new College Hall is part of a made-over South 40 that will greet students as they return to campus this fall, in addition to the completed South 40 dining facilities. Brittany Roetzel, the assistant director for special facilities and programs at the Office of Residential Life (ResLife), hopes that the opening of College Hall will bring culture and vitality to the Residential College system.
“The biggest tradition we’re starting this fall is Residential College dinners,” Roetzel said. “We think it will be really neat to have a few hundred students all eating together, all eating the same family-style [meal]. It’s an interesting way to build community.”
With the capacity to seat 450 students, College Hall provides a potential venue for dances, speakers and acoustic concerts. Its mixture of round and rectangular tables can be arranged in a variety of ways for different functions.
“We’ve always had a desire to get a whole Residential College together in a space for an event, and College Hall fills that gap,” Roetzel said.
But according to Roetzel, members of ResLife are excited about College Hall as more than just a physical space.
“[College Hall] has added, especially for the RAs, a little more enthusiasm and excitement. So I think it’s for them…more of an idea and a concept, ” Roetzel said.
The building should eventually be LEED certified.
Additionally, College Hall will be home to Residential College banners. Each banner will feature the name and colors of its Residential College; the Congress of the South 40 (CS40) and Wash. U. will each hang a banner as well. According to Tim Lempfert, the associate director of ResLife, displaying the banners—and College Hall as a whole—will promote the Residential College model, which aims to enhance student experiences at the University.
“I definitely think [the purpose of College Hall is] to build upon the spirit and culture and community in each of the Residential Colleges,” Lempfert said.
According to Roetzel, so far students have reacted positively to College Hall. Joe Sutherman, the speaker of CS40, is excited about the space’s potential.
“I wouldn’t harp anything except positivity because [College Hall] is the bomb,” Sutherland said. “There’s something very special that happens when you come together and eat together.”