Navigating the dorms

By: Erika Fisher ‘17, Staff Writer

Nearly every dorm room on every college campus shares a similar struggle — sufficient space.

A challenge each freshman will face is that of turning his or her dorm room into a home away from home.

One useful accessory for the space-challenged student is bed risers or small plastic blocks that can be put under the legs of a bed, raising it higher and providing more space underneath the bed.

Organization is key for students who want to make the most of their dorm rooms. Stores like Target and Walmart offer cheap containers often for less than $5. These work well with storing smaller items like clothes and accessories that might not be needed daily.

Decorating a dorm room can be a challenge, especially on a budget. Lebanon Valley hosts a poster fair several weeks after the start of the fall semester to help. Box stores such as Walmart and Hobby Lobby have cheap wall decorations and posters. As tempting as command hooks can be, the threat of wall damage and a fine at the end of the year remains remain. Poster putty, made by Scotch, offers a safer alternative that still allows for hanging decorations.

Other stores like Amazon offers offer students with an .edu email a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime, a service that provides free two-day shipping along with other deals.

The college store, located in Mund, is stocked with a variety of school and dorm supplies.

“We offer 3M hooks and adhesives for hanging posters and pictures, TV and stereo cables for entertainment needs, and of course, LVC gear for displaying Dutchmen pride in the dorms,” Heather Sherman, Director of the LVC College Store, said.

If a run to the LVC College Store won’t suffice, Wal-Mart is located less than ten minutes away from campus. More likely than not, someone in the dorm will be going on a Wal-Mart run that day.

Dorm Resources

Lebanon Valley College offers resources to on-campus residents as well. Residential Life is always open for students who have questions regarding their room situations or questions in general. The Residential Life staff can be found in the Center for Student Engagement in Mund.

Resident assistants host socials throughout the semester, typically located in the lounges of the dorms. These get-togethers serve as a chance for students to get to know the others living in their dorm and often offer prizes or food for their attendance.

“Resident Assistants are required to put on one community development event each month as well as host monthly programs related to wellness and Inclusive Excellence,” Michael Diesner, Director of Residential Life, said.  “Attendance at residence hall programs was at a four year high in 2015-2016 with an average program attendance of over 15 residents.”

Navigating the dorms doesn’t just mean decorating one’s space; it means coexisting with your one’s roommate. Roommate contracts allow for easier communication and help to set up the expectations of both roommates from the beginning lowering the risk of miscommunication further down the road.

“Roommates are asked to develop a contract with one another about the agreed upon use of items in the room, sleep schedules, cleanliness and any other dynamics that are important to them as individuals,” Diesner said.  “Roommate contracts are a great starting point for negotiating the living space with one another and can be amended at any time.”

Honesty in the best policy when it comes to roommates, and in times of trouble, RAs are available and ready to help.

College is a new frontier for freshmen, and learning to navigate the classroom is only one challenge. Navigating the dorms can perhaps be the most daunting but can also be the most rewarding.