Landers Hall is comprised of three floors and four pods per floor that are open to residents. Traditionally, pods were organized by pairs with one RA overlooking each pair per floor. In the new system, beginning in Fall 2019, each pod is overlooked by their own RA. Jaqcueline Cach Briceno, the RA of Pods 3 and 4 on the second floor this past academic year, characterizes the Landers community as social with a positive atmosphere. “Everyone knows each other,” Jaqcueline stated, “Right now, a lot of residents are mixing with each other and hanging out with each other.” Because individual pods are comprised of a smaller population than other residence halls, there is a greater focus on community and interaction. Hallmates tend to see and socialize with each other whenever they traverse out of their rooms, and it is easy to mingle with residents of other pods, as the overarching community is close in proximity.
Jaqcueline said that the greatest benefits of living in Landers are the big rooms, the privacy of a small hall, the huge bathroom mirrors, and the location of the building. Landers is the closest resident hall to the Residential Service Center, where students can pick up their mail and print out homework, and the building is connected to Valsetz by roofed catwalks. Students can quickly and easily reach the dining hall and C-Store no matter the weather. Additionally, the residence hall is close to the residential parking lot.
Although each pair of pods includes a community room for hall events, social gatherings, and study sessions, there is also a general Landers Lounge. The lounge is comprised of couches and a television, and residents can rent game consoles to use. Furthermore, many events and programs are held in the lounge, due to the large and easily accessible communal space. Upstairs, as Jaqcueline said, “[Residents] interact with people who are there studying,” and students can even access the Landers kitchen to cook together. Many first year residents may focus on their immediate hallmates, as those are the peers they encounter most. However, RA’s often create collaborative gatherings, uniting residents who may not otherwise interact much through fun and informative activities. The RA’s have a good sense of how spaces can be utilized, and in turn, the extroverted and welcoming staff work to bring members of the larger Landers community together.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, Jaqcueline and her fellow Landers RA’s conducted many collaborative programs to encourage interaction between their residents, uniting halls of different floors so people could mingle with and get to know their neighbors. They later planned events with Hall Government, and some Landers staff even collaborated with professor CM Hall to host an LGBTQ Bingo event. Of all the programs Jaqcueline put on, she said her favorites were those she organized with her hall’s peer mentor. Additionally, she and her residents especially enjoyed the Jeopardy-themed program she put on with a Heritage RA called Your Hall is in Jeopardy, in which the two halls competed to gain the most points and win WOU stickers.
Overall, Landers is an intimate, conveniently located, and community-based space geared toward first years. RA staff are always available to help students, and halls have peer mentors to provide good advice and school-related counsel. Hall and community programs are focused on engagement, inclusivity, and education, and RA’s like Jaqcueline are dedicated to providing an optimal on-campus residential experience for students.