Whether raising money for Haiti, like Maple Hall, or taking bids for a night out with one of the guys, like Pembroke Hall did with a date auction, it seems every freshman dorm has a personality of its own, whether it has been around for decades or for months.
Heron Hall, the only all-female freshman dorm, has three floors and the little known basement, affectionately referred to as “the cave” by the lucky residents whose rooms are down there.
Sitting in a tight circle in the main lobby, the dorm’s residents talked about their freshman home.
“We are all like sisters here. I love every single girl in this dorm, even the girls that I don’t know,” resident Charlotte Emm said.
She said Heron, the oldest hall on campus, has a feel that is missing in the newer residence halls.
“It’s not hospital-like compared to the new dorms. I feel at home here,” she said.
Belmont’s newest freshman housing, Patton Hall and Bear House, opened in Fall 2010. The connecting buildings house more students than any other dorm.
The size of the Patton/Bear House residence is a plus, and so is the fact that it’s co-ed, resident Jenna Wagner said.
“I definitely like living in a bigger dorm,” she said. “That is why I was so excited to come to college. To meet more people, just live in a bigger setting.”
A major concern about Patton/Bear House for her was its tile flooring.
“It’s really, really, really uncomfortable. That is a big thing,” she said.
Wagner also said the gender mix within the dorm adds to the community, and even raised a sentiment among the residents that the guy’s and girl’s floors were separated.
The building also backs up to the only all-male freshman dorm, Pembroke, which was built in 1913 and is known for its vintage character and annual date auction.
Many current and former Pembroke residents say the residents there are a special breed. They’re proud of the hall, and there’s always a group of residents hanging out together in the lobby playing Nintendo 64.
Christian St. Clair said he wasn’t happy to live in Pembroke at first. After two weeks, his opinion changed.
“I really don’t want to live anywhere else,” he said. “ It just has more personality I think than any of the other dorms. It is way easier to meet people.”
Pembroke is known for crazy antics and successful programs like dressing up for volleyball games or holding the date auction that draws hundreds annually.
These traditions make Pembroke unique on campus, RA Cameron Newby said.
“We have some of the best guys on campus, and it helps that we have traditions. Really the only thing that the RAs do is pass the tradition on,” he said.
Next to Pembroke is the dorm many see as its closest rival, Hail Hall, a three-story co-ed dorm built in 1923. Men live on the first and third floors, and women live on the second.
Hail, the smallest dorm on campus, has always been tight-knit because of its size.
“We’re just kind of like one big family because we are so small,” resident Shelby Cude said.
She also feels that her dorm being co-ed balances things out. “If I was just with a bunch of girls there would be a lot of emotional tension,” she said.
Maple Hall, in the southeastern corner of the North Lawn, completes the freshman residential community – for now. It opened three years ago and has the institutional amenities of Patton/Bear House, but it is smaller, which provides it with its own unique feel.
“I’ve loved living in Maple Hall cause it is kind of small, and we have really good lobby life,” Ansley McAlister said. “It is never really super busy down here, so you can chat with people and get to know people,”
“Even though there are over 200 residents living here,” said junior Daniel Warner, an RA at Maple, “we still keep a small dorm feel.”