Resident life in John Brown’s oldest dorm looks a lot different this year. While one half of J. Alvin Brown Hall is under construction, the other half is occupied by more than a hundred students, mostly freshmen and sophomores. Other students, mostly upperclassmen, have been moved to the all-male townhouses.
Eric Gingerich, resident director of J. Alvin Hall and the Townhouses, said that he believes interaction between students from both J. Alvin and the Townhouses is beneficial.
“The J. Alvin community will be a little more tightly knit, but interaction between the upper- and underclassmen is still vital,” Gingerich said.
Gingerich extends invites to the Townhouse men to the “Redeeming Manhood” events that take place in J. Alvin each month.
Nick Eshnaur, a junior graphic and web design major and the resident assistant for Townhouse 257, said that he and the “brother” RA he has been paired with from J. Alvin plan to have dinners and other events in the townhouse.
“It will be an easier way to integrate the two different yet same communities,” Eshnaur said.
Junior Chase Poage, an RA at J. Alvin, said he thought that trying to get the townhouse men involved with the J. Alvin suites would be a challenge.
“To break the age barrier, events need to be held off campus,” he said. “That way the guys are out of the JBU bubble and are able to break the invisible tension has dispersed between the age gap.”
Poage said he wasn’t sure how the tension formed but that he first noticed it when he was a freshman.
To solve this, Poage has been putting together a cookout at his house so that his residents can spread out, play games, swim, fish and let loose.
“I would like to do a service project with my guys and my brother townhouse,” Poage said. “Events off campus will have a bigger impact than ones on campus.”
As for construction in J. Alvin, the current residents will move to the other newly renovated half of the dorm around Thanksgiving. Following this, demolition will begin on the other half and will be completed before students come back for the spring semester.
“As a part of a thank you, to the guys living in J. Alvin during construction, we are trying to have events such as providing doughnuts or pancakes in the mornings, and possibly renting out the local bowling alley,” Gingerich said.
Poage believes that the construction has brought J. Alvin closer together as a dorm.
“Because there is only half of the dorm, the guys that are here are forced into a closer environment and have to develop that sense of community faster than previous years,” he said.
Poage said he thought this helped residents get to know one another other more easily.
“All in all, I think the construction has brought us closer as a community and accelerated the process in which we become J. Alvin men,” he said.
This year the theme for J. Alvin is “Committed,” with a focus on the power behind keeping one’s word to another person.
“We make promises we can’t keep, all in the name of puffing ourselves up and looking good in other peoples’ eyes,”, Poage said.
The residence life staff hopes to help the residents know when to say yes and when to say no, so that they will commit only to things that they will give 100 percent of their energy and efforts, making their word mean something again.
“Having this mentality will carry on to our jobs, our future, and whatever else God has planned for us,” said Poage.
Gingerich plans to have various dinners in the atrium with speakers, suite gatherings, and one-on-one conversation. He said he hopes the Townhouse men will use the atrium for their own events, as well.