From grunge to growth: Building community in Heights

Heights has historically been known as “ the ” residence hall that many students would call “gross” or “grungy.” The reputation of this residence hall goes back many years. It was a frequent flyer at the top of the dorm-damage list before Colby stopped charging students for common space damage. The historic reputation left Heights with a rowdy crowd and often deterred residents that were looking for an inclusive and safe place. Often dominated by a few athletic teams, Heights was known as a haven for loud weekend evenings. That all looks to change with the newest change to the housing process at Colby.

In a new change to the housing application process this year at Colby, suites in Heights are now no longer a part of the traditional room draw. Instead, groups of students must apply to live in Heights and fill out an application. The application includes questions about inclusivity and how the applicant will make the Heights community stronger. This process is targeted at making Heights a place of an inclusive community.

In the application description, it says: “It is the hope that residents in the Heights Suites will be engaged in positive role-modeling and demonstrate a desire to advance their personal leadership development and skill-building, with the potential for unique opportunities and programming to foster this development.”

Through chatting with other students, this had made a difference in whether or not they would consider living in Heights. The students that I have spoken with have been excited to see how this will change the attitude of students living in Heights. This new level of engagement and respect is exciting for the Colby campus as there will be a new standard of the community in Heights. Looking forward, Heights has the potential to foster a community for students of all different class years. 

The change in attitude has been seen this year across the board in the housing process. Along with changes to the applications for both sets of apartments, it seems like this will send the Colby community in a positive direction. The CAs and new the Director of Campus Life, Jess Manno, have shaken up the housing process at Colby and it looks to be for the better!