After nearly a year of collaboration between the Student Association (SA) and the student life deans, today Harding students will experience the premiere of an entirely new open- dorm structure.
Dean of Students Zach Neal said the SA suggested they better utilize the resident halls and on-campus apartments, and after several meetings and conversations, the two decided to move open dorm from arbitrarily selected dates to the first Friday of every month with additional days added for apartment-style housing.
“I feel this gives students and residence life staff even more opportunity to experience community on campus,” Neal said. Neal said they are excited to make this transition, and the new policy has received a positive response.
All housing on campus will experience open dorm the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m. Apartment style housing — women’s residence halls Pryor Hall, Shores Hall and Searcy Hall and men’s residence hall Cone Hall — will each have an additional open dorm every month on a Friday chosen by the residence life coordinators.
Legacy Park, Village Apartments and other on-campus apartment housing will have open dorm every Friday.
Senior SA President Hallie Hite said she and the SA felt they could use open dorm to allow the students to interact with one another, and the new policy could possibly encourage older students to stay on campus more.
“I feel that a common space is really important for Harding students partially because of our really heavy emphasis on community at Harding,” Hite said. “That’s who we are. That’s what we believe in.”
Open dorm also gives students the opportunity to practice hospitality and prepare them for the future, according to Hite.
“I think part of the way that this kind of policy is successful is if people will participate and not just be excited about the idea but will also be participatory and will invite their friends over and have a good time,” Hite said. “That’s kind of what promotes the success of this kind of project.”
Junior Jorge Carlos is a resident assistant (RA) in men’s residence hall Armstrong Hall, and he sees the new open-dorm policy as a positive change.
“This policy shows that Harding is updating,” Carlos said. “The deans hear our pains, and thanks to President Hallie Hite and the SA, things are being done.”
The policy requires more effort from the RAs, according to Carlos, and he said RAs have both voiced frustration and gratitude as the change provides another work opportunity.
“I believe open dorm will be more appreciated, especially from those that have lived with what [seemed] like the randomly planned open dorm,” Carlos said. “Since it is on a consistent schedule, more students can plan for it.”
The first open dorm of the semester is tonight from 6 – 10 p.m.