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Community Grows on the Garden Level
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Community Grows on the Garden Level

By the end of August 2005, the construction in Providence Hall was complete. Building crews gave way to college students as the first residents of the new Garden Level moved into their rooms to begin a new era at Notre Dame College.

A newly constructed room on the garden level of Providence HallThe living spaces are built suite-style, and are identical to rooms in the other residence halls. However, there are unique features that give this arrangement a sense of character. First, as its name implies, it is the first subterranean living arrangement at Notre Dame. Secondly, it has a natural division in the center with Providence Hall Chapel. On either side are double doors that split the floor into two wings with twenty residents in each. According to Patty O’Toole, Dean of Students, “even though they could be considered one community, they are really two separate communities.”

Because of this division, the two Resident Assistants (R.A.s) are assigned to the floor with the task of building a sense of unity among the residents. “Usually there is one R.A. per floor,” said O’Toole. The residence halls have a ratio of one R.A. to 33 residents. On the Garden Level, there is a ratio of 1 to 20.”

According to one of the R.A.s, sophomore Bethany Elkins of Dayton, Ohio, “We hype up the fact that these students are the first to live here. Everything is new and they are setting the tone for what living on the Garden Level is all about.” The residents are responding to this message and are developing a sense of community on their own. “Almost every night, right around midnight, the doors seem to fly open and people start buzzing around. I see people hanging out together, having fun and enjoying each other’s company,” said Elkins.

While on one level the students are encouraged to build community on their floor, the Garden Level residents are also reaching out to the rest of the College to make them feel welcome in their wing. “I don’t think we’re as separated as some people think,” said Elkins. “In the end, the whole College really is just one community.”

Steve Ruic is the Writer and Editor for Notre Dame College.