Students build community over shared meals

What do pancakes, Taco Bell, and spaghetti have in common? These may seem like simple foods, but each plays a part in creating community, especially in Woolman Hall. Sharing a meal or even a late night snack are simple ways Woolman residents foster fellowship with others.

Creating community through pancakes

Naomi Bosler, a junior youth and educational ministries major and resident advisor of Woolman 2 North, creates community over pancakes.

The women on Woolman promote community by making pancakes every Monday morning. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

It started last year with a friend of Bosler’s love for pancakes and continued into a tradition where community is experienced every Monday morning.

Music is played while pancakes are made and women fellowship. It’s not a formal floor event. It just happens, and that is what Bosler loves about it. She’ll pass others in the hallway and say, “Hey, you guys coming tomorrow morning?”

Monday morning pancakes are a way Bosler seeks to build community and include the women on her floor.

“It’s really about inclusion,” Bosler said. “It’s a way to include everyone.”

Late night Taco Bell runs

Rachel Dawson, resident advisor of Woolman One South, says that food plays a significant part in creating community. As a resident advisor, she has found community is created on her floor through floor dinners and going to late night.

Floor dinners in the cafeteria are an easy and convenient way for the resident advisors to foster community with the women on their floor. Everyone has to eat at some point, so why not go with a group?

Dawson said, “[Residents are] more likely to attend events if there is food involved, especially if it’s free.”

Community also grows through dinners that are not on campus. Taco Bell runs are a regular occurrence on Dawson’s floor. She said the women bond while eating and even more so on the car rides to and from Taco Bell or wherever their destination may be.

Going off campus to hang out or to eat encourages strong bonds of friendship to grow even more. It allows the women to take a step back from school and simply enjoy the company of other women on their floor while treating themselves to something other than cafeteria food.

Spaghetti fosters friendship

Salad and spaghetti foster friendships as well. Junior nursing major Rebecca Everhart and junior psychology and business double major Diedre Haupt are the resident advisors of Woolman Three. They encourage community with both the North and South sides of the floor.

Before the homecoming dance, Everhart and Haupt made Caesar salad, spaghetti with marinara sauce, and garlic bread for the women to enjoy before the dance. Over a meal in the third floor lounge, women from both sides were able to bond with others they may not know very well. Conversations about dresses, homework, and the upcoming Over the Rhine concert united these women as spaghetti swirled on their forks.

Eve Smalley, sophomore psychology major, and Lindsay Lehman, sophomore early childhood education major, are part of floor leadership on Woolman three south. Both attended this floor event and said the family-style meal was a good way to encourage community, perhaps even more effective than a floor dinner that night.

It provided a more intimate setting rather than heading to the cafeteria, where they said it is easy to get distracted by other friends on the way back to the table.

“Ten different people stop and talk to me on my way to get food and by the time I get back to my table, some of the women are already done eating,” Lehman said.

Nikki Engel freshman early childhood education and intervention specialist also attended this floor event. Engel enjoyed the food and said, “It was really nice of Rebecca and Diedre to do that for us.”

As a freshman, community is important to Engel.

“You’re with these women for two semesters—you’ve got to have a good community,” Engel said.

Hannah Rainieri is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.

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