The numbers advantage

Creating bonds in suite style dorm compared to traditional dorms

Isabella Tranello, Staff Reporter

In suite style dorms adjacent rooms share a bathroom space between them. (Micky Floes-Nieves)

Not all students decided to live on campus this fall, but there are many people who did make that decision despite the dangers of COVID-19.

For those students who decided to live on campus, making connections with their fellow students has been more of a struggle than it has been in previous years.

These connections may be even harder to make depending on what kind of dorm you live in. This year students are mandated to social distance, which makes it hard to be able to meet someone, especially if those people do not live with you or live nearby.

In the suite style dorms, Emerson Hall and Arnett Hall, the residents get two extra people besides their roommate to create a bond with while in traditional dorms they are all alone. 

Junior elementary education major Josie Cuprynski is a transfer student who lives in Arnett Hall. She feels she only has been able to connect to those within her own suite. 

“It’s easier to be in a suite because you have more than just one person with you who you can build a connection with,” Cuprynski said through a Facetime call. “When you’re online or trying to briefly communicate with someone in passing, you don’t really get to connect with them as much as we usually would.”

Students living in suite style halls are allowed to have roommates even with King County’s regulations on community housing. (Micky Floes-Nieves)

In previous years, it may have been seen as acceptable to go out with a big group of people, but now it is frowned upon and rules are set in place to limit how students can interact on campus.

SPU is going as far as controlling who students can and cannot eat within the dining hall, which is mostly limited to those within your connected suite, dorm, or the rooms around you. This can limit the time students get to spend with others outside their room.

Cuprynski was fortunate enough to get suite-mates who she enjoys spending most of her time with at SPU and sympathizes for those who only have one roommate or are completely alone.

“I got lucky with my suite-mates because we all share similar interests and vibe together easily. I don’t know how I would have created bonds during this time if I didn’t have them. I think if I was alone or only knew one person on campus, it would have made my experience much more difficult.” said Cuprynski.

This quarter at SPU students living in traditional style dorms, like Ashton Hall pictured here, are not allowed to have roommates. (Kyle Morrison)

In contrast to Cuprynski’s experience, there are others who are having a much rougher time finding people to connect with because of the strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Sophomore visual communications major Arianna Kern lives in a single dorm at Ashton Hall and has found it harder to make new friends this year than it was her freshman year. 

“It has been somewhat difficult to make friends this year because of the lack of locations to see and connect with others on campus. You must be proactive in going out and seeing others, especially in a single dorm.” Kern said through an email. 

Kern finds it especially difficult because she is not allowed to have people in her dorm and it forces her to really seek out those connections and friendships more than she has before. 

“You can’t hang out in your dorm,” Kern said. “You don’t really build true connections within your hall unless your RA goes out of the way. It makes it very extremely difficult.” said Kern. 

Kern is not the only one having a hard time meeting new people. Other students at SPU are sharing the same emotions about this sense of isolation, but one has found ways to make it work. 

Sophomore visual communications major, Ubaldina Alcaraz, also lives in a single dorm at Ashton Hall and is a student ministry coordinator. Being a SMC is what has helped her find new connections this year despite all the rules and regulations. 

Four students are allowed inside the bathrooms at a time in the traditional style halls. (Kyle Morrison)

“My experience has been interesting but I have made it work and since I am a SMC it has made it easier to meet new people. I intentionally have gone out of my way to do this and have had several meetings over zoom where I have met new people this year,” said Alcaraz through a phone call.

Even though Alcaraz hasn’t fully experienced the struggle of finding friends on campus this year, she acknowledges that it must be rough for many people. 

“I wouldn’t say it has been too rough for me, but I can understand how it may be hard. Especially for freshmen who don’t really know anybody and are put into a dorm by themselves,” said Alcaraz. “I would believe it to be hard to find people with how strict guidelines are and how no one is allowed to enter another person’s dorm.” 

According to SPU students, being placed in a suite-style dorm gives students at SPU a start or an advantage of numbers when it comes to building friends during the pandemic. 

While it is not impossible to make friendships during this time, it is much more difficult than it has been in the past especially when starting the journey of college without a roommate or anyone to connect with. 

“You can’t even socialize because of social distancing so your suite-mates really become your family. Compared to a traditional dorm where there is only one person, I get three people to build a bond with and talk to regularly. “ Cuprynski said.