IT’S BEEN HAPPENING for 124 years – that declaration by Manchester
students to their parents and siblings after Christmas break: “I’m going
Back home to campus.
Back to their “other” family.
Such familial fondness is a tradition at Manchester, which was
established as a residential college. After all, “students spend over five
times as much time in the residence halls as they do in the classroom,”
notes Allen Machielson, associate dean of student development and
director of residential life for 846 Manchester students.
MU’s five residence halls are the core of campus life, where confabs and
conversations run the gamut of topics and where lifelong friendships and
study habits develop.
“We believe that their experiences in the residence halls are a very
important part of their college career,” says Machielson. “We encourage
all students to get involved in campus life, to balance class work with
activities, clubs and organizations. College is like anything else in life;
the more you put into it the more you get out of it.”
While Manchester alumni memories of Calvin Ulrey, Oakwood and
Ikenberry halls endure, so very much has changed.
Today, Calvin Ulrey is the hub of campus services and
activities with nary a bedroom. The building is home
to Health and Counseling Services, Volunteer
Services, Student Development and Residential Life,
Human Resources – and an entire basement dedicated
to Student Activities.
But the switchboard remains, reminiscent of
telephone calls from sweethearts and lonesome
parents of residents years ago. After 86 years,
Ikenberry Hall made way for the suites of Helman
Hall and a new Oakwood Hall in 1993. None of the
halls has a cafeteria today.
First-years begin their MU careers in Schwalm and
Garver, in friendly, enthusiastic surroundings with
resident assistants (RAs) especially trained for
newcomers to college life and sharing bedrooms.
“One of my most important roles is not just to
make community, but to foster it,” says Jeremiah
Sanders ’14. In his second year as an RA, the
gregarious music education major is well-known for
nurturing a positive atmosphere on his floor.
Programs are key to bonding success, say the RAs and residents alike. Helman first-floor RA Wes Heath ’14, sociology major from Anderson, Ind., has a knack for successful hall programs.
“I invited the K9 unit of Manchester’s Police Department,” Heath says. “They were only supposed to stay for half an hour, but the residents liked it so much that they ended up staying for two hours. They talked about the commands, how they do drug and alcohol searches, what they do in the car, how the dogs are trained to put their lives before their officer’s life, that sort of thing. It was really fascinating.”
Residence halls host tailgate parties, dances, cookouts, special programs, competitions and fundraisers for a wide variety of causes. Hall residents also come together to talk about safety, diversity, study habits, activities and, this spring, Discussion Day topics.
Each hall has or had its traditions, some grander or goofier than others. Legendary are the fall serenades of the women of Oakwood Hall by the “Ike” men, who also were famous for water fights that flowed down the steps. Rhiney Bowl ball games live on, often soggily, in the valley south of Schwalm.
Popular now is the All-Hall Trick-or-Treat for children of the North Manchester community. “My residents have taken it to a whole new level,” reports East Hall Director Jessie Hickerson ’11 with pride. “There are props and costumes and everything. That’s what the traditions in East are centered around: the community.”
Technology has uprooted some traditions. No more running down the hall to take a call from your parents on the one lone telephone. Cell phones rule. Students today bring their own TVs, with MU-provided cable service in each room and campus-wide wireless internet. Each residence hall has at least one computer lab with printers.
“It is especially helpful to have this equipment directly in the halls,” says Haley Hite ’14, an exercise science and fitness major from Goshen, Ind.
Schwalm actually can be quiet and the Spartan odors are long gone. “I always heard nightmare stories about the noise and smell of Schwalm, but I
haven’t experienced that at all,” says Betsy Varner ’14,
religion and Spanish major from Yorktown, Ind., who
often goes down to the comfy sofas in the lounge to
The annual operations budget for the five residence
halls tops $156,000, says Chris Garber ’77, associate
vice president of finance and director of operations.
Manchester has no plans to replace any of the
residence halls. “All of the residence halls are solidly
constructed. The structures themselves are not the
issue,” says Garber, adding that the heating and
cooling systems need updating.
CFO Jack Gochenaur ’70 estimates if MU were to
tackle all the repairs and upgrades at once, the bill
would reach $10 million. That would buy air
conditioning systems for three residence halls that still
use open windows and fans for cooling, new heating
systems for those same facilities, new energy-efficient
windows, modern bathrooms, and more.
A few years ago, Manchester spent $50,000 to repaint
all of Garver Hall, install doorways between the men’s
and women’s wings and buy furniture. Students helped
paint to keep costs down. The updates were
underwritten by a Vision Fund of donations from
alumni and friends. Schwalm already had received
$400,000 in repairs and furniture following a 2003
Technology has changed campus “home” life at Manchester with wireless connections, computer labs
and electronic games, but the foundations remain solid
for life-long friendships, study habits, community
service and good memories.
BY XUNANTUNICH HALEY ’14
with Jeri Kornegay
The Ballad of Ike
Sung to tunes of The House of the Rising Sun and Blowin’ in the Wind.
There is a dorm in Manchester,
they call it good old Ike.
Has been the house of many a poor guy.
I know cause I am one.
There is no love in Ike today,
there is no love at all.
Because the women of Manchester
have not gone there at all.
We wish that they would enter in,
into the halls of Ike.
And hope they would find love at last
with many a man of Ike.
How many years will it take till they know
that Ike is the best of them all?
Yes, and how many tears will eventually fall
when Ike will be closed to us all?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.