Students long for continuation of annual traditions

Hill Hall residents foster relationships despite lack of floor-wide events

Hannah Flores, Staff Reporter

two men holding foam lightsabers
5th Hill residents Pierce Papke and Benji Zou holding their foam lightsabers during the “Jedi” competition. (Photo Courtesy of Silas Newby)

Junior physiology major Issac Barnett is hit with the rush of adrenaline as he makes his way around Seattle Pacific University campus with other players, ready to strike at any moment, while playing fifth floor Hill Hall’s bi-annual game of “Jedi.” Well aware of his surroundings, he takes all precautions to avoid the defeating swing of his opponent’s foam lightsaber.

This spring, Hill Hall events, like many aspects of former life, were canceled. Since then, many residents have left campus and those who remain are left with limited social interaction.

Former Hill Hall residents miss the friendly rivalry between the students on the fifth floor, and miss not being able to carry on such an exciting tradition.

“Although this was my first year at SPU, I really enjoyed Jedi in fall quarter and I was really looking forward to it this quarter as well, so I’m sad that we aren’t on campus to play it,” Barnett said in an interview over Zoom.

Despite not being able to carry on the tradition, students are continuously making efforts to stay connected.

Barnett discussed apps that Hill residents are using to stay connected such as GroupMe and Discord where they can chat and play online games with each other.

Barnett emphasized the importance of continuing to foster these relationships despite living off campus for the remainder of the year.

“We are able to play online games through Discord, we’ve played Cards Against Humanity a few times and we’re also able to keep up with one another through talking in the GroupMe group chat which has been really nice,” Barnett said.

Barnett also uses — like many these days — platforms like Instagram where he can get a glimpse of how his friends are spending their time.

While Barnett is glad to have these alternate methods of communication, he misses the camaraderie and familiarity of staying on fifth Hill with his friends.

“I definitely think that online communication is what we need right now, but I don’t feel as connected with my friends just because we aren’t living in the same place and seeing each other every day like we used to,” he said.

Sophomore Silas Newby had similar feelings.

“I think it’s still hard to stay connected with one another because we all have our own things to be concerned with, whether it’s school or our personal lives. But we still have the GroupMe group chat to keep up with each other, it’s nice to know that people are still there,” Newby said in an interview over Zoom.

For both students, “Jedi” has been an interesting way to connect with other residents from Hill and build lasting friendships.

In Barnett’s case, as a transfer student, he felt the opportunity to play in Jedi was an easy ice-breaker.

“I think it was the best way to get acquainted with other people, since the teams were random, it kind of forced us to get to know one another, and it was nice to make new friends,” Barnett said.

Newby paralleled Barnett’s statement, adding why he enjoyed Hill’s tradition.

“I think when we did it in the fall, we were still getting to know each other so having an activity like that to interact with one another made things a lot easier,” Newby said.

As the school year begins to wind down, students eagerly look forward to what next year has to offer.

“I’m definitely looking forward to being around more people, many of my friends live far from here, and I’m not really close with any of my neighbors so I’m excited to be back in proximity with my friends,” Newby said.

Although Newby will no longer be a resident of Hill in the upcoming school year, he emphasized his excitement to be back on campus with his friends.

Barnett on the other hand, plans to continue living in Hill and explained his apprehensions about returning to campus.

“Things may be a bit awkward when we get back to campus just because we haven’t been able to be together as often as usual. I hope we’re able to pick back up where we left off, I’m really excited to see everyone again,” Barnett said.