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Walla Walla, WA
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Friday, December 8, 2023

A Guide to the Dorms

September 28, 2023
Ashley Herber

What New Students Need to Know About Residence Life

Ashley Herber

Almost every student who goes to Walla Walla University lives in the dorm at some point, but adjusting to residence life can be difficult. Roommates, communal showers, and curfews are all things dorm students must navigate. Luckily, the residence life team is committed to helping students conquer these challenges.  

Residence Life Team 

There are essentially five groups of people who work for the dorms.  

The first group is solely comprised of the Director of Residential Life and Housing, Jon Nickell. Nickell oversees the four dormitories, Conard, Foreman, Sittner, and Meske, as well as village housing.   

Nickell works closely with the associate deans who are each in charge of a different core area for all the residence halls. This group is comprised of Paul Starkebaum, Victoria Stagg, Katherine Gonzales, and Anthony Handal. The associate deans do more of the day-to-day work for the dorms. 

The resident deans are a group of 10 students, 5 women and 5 men, who do hands-on work with projects in the dorms. These students are chosen carefully because they are leaders in the dorms and work with the associate deans to bring a student perspective to residence life. 

Resident Assistants, or RAs, have the most contact with students and live in the halls of the dorms. Although one of their main responsibilities is to do night check, the RAs’ main job is to be helpful to residents. RAs receive 40 hours of training prior to the start of school in areas such as mental health and emergency procedures. They are also available from 9-11 p.m. during night check and the hall hours that immediately follow for students to ask questions such as how to get involved in small groups, where to find study spaces, issues they are having with roommates or their own mental health, and more. 

The fifth group is the front desk workers. This position is filled by students who man the front desks of Foreman and Sittner in shifts 24/7. These students are the front lines of the dorms as they field questions, answer calls, and greet people. 

It is important to note that, although the residence halls are separated by sex, residence life works together as one team. This is why it is not uncommon to see male associate deans working in the Foreman office, or to have female front desk workers in the Sittner lobby, and why all residence life employees meet every Wednesday for one hour. Creating a cohesive team is one of the top priorities of residence life. 

Amenities 

Other things residents need to be aware of are the various amenities available to them. Each dorm has many different lounges, kitchens, and study spots open to students at all times. Each dorm has a fitness area: Muscles in Motion for the women's dorms (which just received upgraded equipment) and the Fitness Factory for the men's dorms. There are also communal washing machines and dryers which are free of charge in each dorm. 

Starkebaum emphasized that if something is broken in a student’s room or in a communal area, they should discuss it with their RA and submit a work order at https://workorder.wallawalla.edu/. 

Mini Refrigerators are for sale in the dorms and students should contact a dean to learn more. 

Curfew, Lock Outs, and Visits 

Curfew is tied to students’ ages. If a student is 18 or younger, their curfew is 1 a.m. If a student is 19-20, their curfew is 2 a.m. If a student is 21 or older, their curfew is 5 a.m.  

If a student gets locked out of their room for some reason, they should go to the front desk of the dorms where they will receive a temporary key to their room and pay a $5 lock out fee.  

The lobbies of Sittner and Foreman are open to all students until 10 p.m. Village students are allowed beyond the lobbies of the dorm past 10 p.m. but must show their ID to residence hall staff if asked.  

Most Importantly  

The residence life team, especially the RAs and front desk workers, are trained to help students, so students should remember that if they have any questions about life on the WWU campus, they are encouraged to reach out to a member of the residence life team. 

Starkebaum said of his goal for this school year, “I’m looking forward to working with students for the best possible experience. Walla Walla University is a great place, a unique place, that I hope students are coming here to embrace and we’re hoping to be a part of that. We’re here to problem solve with students.” [1] 

 

References 

  1. Interview with Paul Starkebaum, 8/23/2023. 

 

Photos 

  1. Picture1 Issue 1 dorms. The Resident Life Team strives to navigate the challenges of dorm life and support the students who live on campus. Photo by Residence Halls.  

 

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