Abso-Ute-ly Exciting: Making the most of Ute's event space

Students play cards in Ute Hall

Abso-Ute-ly Exciting: Making the most of Ute's event space

Sep 18, 2017

Most, if not all, of the freshman student body in a state college are strangers in a strange land. But here at Western, where the class sizes are smaller and the dorms are even tighter, there's a sense of community that is fostered - at least in Ute - through games of ping-pong and dance parties.

That’s what Resident Advisor (RA) Amber Butler of Ute’s ground floor proudly states about her community: “It’s so cool walking by the lounge and seeing 18 people playing Cards Against Humanity, or walking by on a Sunday morning and seeing people playing Risk!”

Butler’s efforts, and those of a handful of students, have quickly fostered a feeling of community in the residence hall. The events hosted in the lounge have made the transition to college life more comfortable for the incoming freshman, through a sincere effort to get everyone in the Living-Learning Community (LLC) involved in the planning.

“I request that all of my RA’s plan two LLC programs—one for fun and one based around an educational experience,” Ute/Roubidoux Residence Life Advisor Joel Kaskinen said. “It’s to have fun, yes, but also to create community.”

“The dance party is a good place to start—it gets everyone in one place,” Butler said.

Said dance party was the first ever held in Ute. Late that Thursday night, the lights were dimmed, (non-alcoholic) drinks were served, and the music was cranked. The atmosphere was electric; people mingled and danced, drank Capri Sun, and played card games by the string lights. People came and went throughout the night: according to Butler’s final report, nearly 60 students were in attendance (compared to a predicted 10-20).

“It was so good! There were people playing games, eating snacks,” Butler said, “Now let’s get that formal mac n’ cheese party going!”

And this isn’t the only program the RAs are putting on.

“Our next program is a formal dinner party where we dress nicely, put all the tables in a line and get tablecloths, but we’re only going to eat macaroni and cheese,” she laughed, “It’s going to be so fun, so nice, and it’s going to be so exciting!”

Kaskinen said the ball was rolling on that one already.

“It’s always just a matter of learning who’s in your community,” he urged.

Story by Mason Albrechtson. Photos by Mason Albrechtson and Chris Wilson.