StewVille community combats stereotypes

This year, the Stewart and Village residence halls became an all-freshman community. The dorm community has faced many judgments, which get passed on to underclassmen and pre-frosh long before they enter the housing lottery. For the record, the issue matters to me because I traditiated in Stewart my freshman year and currently serve as a resident assistant in the Village. StewVille plays an important role in the Whitworth community. Both Stewart and the Village have integral history on this campus. They also both take a lot of flack for student beliefs that do not hold water.

For example, freshman MacKenzie Klapp remembers feeling bummed when she found out she would be living in the Village, she said.

“[I was] not that excited because I thought that it would be another BJ, and that we’d be up all night,“ Klapp said,  “Not that that’s not a ton of fun.”

On the other hand, freshman Eric Zimmerman felt excited about an all freshmen community.

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“I felt like it’d be easier to make friends with a whole bunch of really awkward people than just a small group of awkward people,” Zimmerman said.

StewVille Resident Director Sarah Washam described the change as complicated and cited the large incoming class size as a factor in the switch.

Washam believes that the switch has been a success so far.

“It’s new, it’s fresh,” Washam said. “The energy is contagious and I think it’s because of the freshmen class that is here this year. They’re a really swell group.”

Regarding the comparison to Baldwin-Jenkins, Washam thinks both communities have their own merits. Just because both are all freshmen does not mean they are the same. She mentions the differences in basic structure as the Village is mostly single rooms and Stewart provides something more similar to a traditional dorm experience. They are two totally different communities, each with their own aspects that appeal to different types of students.

“Together they make a really inviting home,” Washam said, “Being that we are in four different buildings, we’re already a little different because we’re spread out more.”

I love the switch. The freshmen that live in StewVille have embraced their collective community. They make it fun to live in StewVille and to interact with them.

Klapp has changed her mind about the StewVille community.

“We love our house, the Akili house. It’s like a sorority house. We’re like sisters in there,” Klapp said.

Klapp cited the StewVille men’s Mock Rock win and their routines at Yell-Off as evidence of the tight community. “Did you see us at Mock Rock or Yell-Off? Because that was awesome and that just shows how united we are,” Klapp said. “I just think ‘come over to StewVille, and then try and say it’s lame.’”

As with any community, it becomes what you make it. This year, StewVille is filled with a tight community and people that enjoy being around each other. To me, that is what living in a community is all about.

Whitney Carter Columnist

Contact Whitney Carter at wcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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