Meet Dr. Craig Rotter Dr. Craig Rotter serves as Assistant Director for Academic Support Initiatives for the Department of Residence Life. He is a former student of Texas A&M, earning a B.B.A. in business management, a B.S. in agricultural economics and a M.ED and Ph.D in agricultural leadership education.
Meet Lori Bumguardner Lori Bumguardner is a senior nutrition science and kinesiology major from Palacios, Texas. She has served as Legett Hall Council president and is currently the Residence Hall Association (RHA) executive vice president.
Meet Vivian LoDuca Vivian LoDuca is a graduate hall director for the FHK complex, currently in her sixth year of living on campus. She previously served as the treasurer of the Aston Hall Council, before spending two years as a Resident Advisor. Vivian received her B.S. in biology in May 2011 and will receive her master’s in human resources development in May 2013.
What would life be like on Texas A&M University’s campus if a large number of students did not live on the campus and experience the camaraderie and friendships built in our dorms (residence halls) first hand? Would we become just another large commuter student campus? As the Texas A&M University Residence Hall Association turns 40, “non-reg” Aggie Spirit is just as strong as ever.
On many campuses nationwide, there has been a push to steer away from the word “dorm” as it is claimed to refer to an old, dirty room where all there is to do sleep and maybe study. However, our on-campus students still affectionately use the term to describe where they live.
“At Texas A&M, the word dorm has a positive connotation,” said Vivian LoDuca, a human resources development master’s student and a graduate hall director. “Think about the rich military history of Texas A&M, where cadets then and now stayed in dorms, not residence halls. Using the word dorm is part of our Aggie culture, not a derogatory statement about on-campus living.”
Most of our students who live in the residence halls are freshmen, and it is that first year that is so critical in determining whether students will remain at Texas A&M and ultimately earn a degree. Where better to learn how to study and find study partners than a place that is walking distance to and from our classrooms and professors’ offices?
Also, Aggies hold on to the tradition of creating lifelong friendships from that first year of living on campus. Our former students hold these old historic buildings and the experiences they had in them in very high regard, not because of the physical aspects of the buildings, but because of who lived in them when they did and what they did together.
There is nothing better than seeing tradition maintained on the A&M campus. In times when people have so many options in where to live, what organizations to join and who to hang out with, online or in person, it can be a real fight to maintain one of our traditional strongholds, large numbers of our students living on campus.
Going to Midnight Yell Practice and Silver Taps as a cohesive unit, a “Dorm-Out,” is something that keeps the “non-reg” aspects of campus alive and well. Going to Sbisa for 5:30 dinner every night and being an identifiable collective is one of those experiences you have to live to truly appreciate.
So why would students still want to build strong ties by living on campus? Sure, convenience is a factor. While sometimes it may be noisy, boisterous and confining, there is always something happening. That’s what takes you out of your comfort zone. In a time when a generation is accused of being less social in face-to-face interaction, our Ags disprove what may be becoming the norm elsewhere.
“I have met many unbelievably close friends through living on campus,” said Lori Bumguardner, a senior nutrition science and kinesiology major and Residence Hall Association Executive Vice President. “There is such pride and camaraderie in the dorm that leads to relationships that can’t be broken. When you see people day after day walking down the hall to their room or the bathroom, you strike up a conversation and realize that you really do like these people you live with in such close quarters. It’s part of my Aggie experience that I would never want to lose or change.”
Lifelong friendships again, go back to that first day of moving into the building. Meeting your RA, meeting your Community Director and being urged by upperclassmen to join in a barbecue downstairs are rarely forgotten. Moving out for the winter break and moving out for the last time are sentimental moments. The question is: how many of these students continue to live with someone they met in the dorm? How many of them utilize each other after they graduate and become viable members of the Aggie Network?
“The many activities and programs happening in the halls have really enhanced my Aggie experience and made living on campus and staying on campus the best decision I have made at Texas A&M,” Bumguardner said. “I would not be who I am as a student leader, a person and a Fightin’ Texas Aggie without them!”