SlipnSlide 1
Photo of Slip 'n Slide in the Rhiney Bowl by Jessie Bump

Thanks for the Schwalmeries: Schwalm Hall To Be Dormant 2020-2021; Former Residents Remember Good Times, Part 1

Carly Greaves

With the recent announcement that Manchester University’s Schwalm Hall would close just for the 2020-2021 school year, former residents have been looking back fondly on the times that they spent in the dorm in the far northeast corner of campus.

Named after former University President Vernon F. Schwalm, the hall was an all-boys dormitory for many years, though it was remodeled into an all-genders residence hall about 20 years ago. But next year it will take a breather. “Taking Schwalm Hall offline for the year helps Manchester conserve its resources, which in turn keeps [students’] education affordable,” said Jordan McIntyre, assistant director of residential life, in an email to all current students.

This news has led many former Schwalm Hall residents to reminisce about the times they spent there, looking back on fun activities and memories. “We had a slip-and-slide once when we decided to just tack a bunch of garbage bags together and slide down the hall,” said Ryan Pohrte, 2015 alumnus. “Fortunately, our RA never found out about it, which was nice, but it was pretty fun.”

Jessica (Hickerson) Bump, 2011 alumna and former Oak Leaves editor remembers chasing stories—and being part of the chase herself. “My personal favorite [activity] was Highlighter Assassins,” said “We had to hit an assigned target with a highlighter mark. One night, my assassin found me in a room across campus and chased me all the way back to Schwalm, where I narrowly avoided him by taking refuge in the off-limits computer lab.”

Allyson Collins, 2001 alumna, had a different take. “They weren’t fun or interesting memories,” she said. “But we had more than our fair share of smoke alarms going off in the middle of the night.”

One thing that made Schwalm Hall unique was the Rhiney Bowl, a depression surrounded by small hills situated right by the building. This area was used by Schwalm residents for the Winter Bowl football games during the snow and softball tournaments and slip-and-slides in the spring. “It was each wing and floor against each other,” said Jamie Branyan, 1999 alumnus, about the softball tournament.

“Third South won four straight years, and we even all chipped in to buy T-shirts to celebrate our dominance. Students would go around town and grab junky couches and chairs that people left out as trash and line them up along the road. That’s where the fans would sit to watch the softball games.”

Bump, who was both an RA and then a hall director, enjoyed the Rhiney Bowl view, too. “I loved watching people go out there to study on a sunny day on a blanket, or try to sled on things from their room when it was snowy—my favorite being a laundry basket that failed miserably but amused onlookers,” she said.

With all of these fond recollections, many former Schwalm residents are sad to see the hall close its doors—even temporarily. “I was heartbroken because that community can't be replicated anywhere else on campus,” Bump said.

Collins agreed. “It made me sad because there is so much history and I have fond memories of living there, but I also realize that the building was old when I lived there,” she said. “Change is inevitable.”

Pohrte said that the closing—even a temporary one—wasn’t really a surprise. “But Schwalm was a great place,” he said. “It was very lively and there was always something to do. It was a very positive environment where people were always checking in to talk and see how everybody was doing. There were a lot of great memories made there.”