Life in the Lodge
“This place looks like a hotel!”
“It’s nothing like the dorm I lived in when I went to college!”
“Wow, you guys are spoiled!”
Hang around the lobby of Bethel’s newest residential facility long enough, and you are bound to hear these kinds of statements expressed by visiting students, friends, and family members. While an official name is still in the works, many know the building simply as “The Lodge.” Considering the balconies surrounding the common area, its rugged stone pillars, forest-inspired décor, and couches grouped around the gas fireplace, it is easy to see where the nickname came from. Lately, the constant snowfall drifting past the floor-to-ceiling front windows serves to heighten the “ski lodge” impression.
Built to accommodate 94 residents, the Lodge is home to 68 upperclassmen female students in its opening semester. The three-story Lodge features 21 student suites. Nineteen of them house four students in two bedrooms, with an additional 6-person/3-bedroom suite on each floor. Each suite also has a bathroom, living room, and kitchenette equipped with sink, fridge, and built-in cabinets. The upper floors share open seating areas, enclosed study rooms, and tiny kitchenettes with stoves; while the main floor boasts a full kitchen and serving counter for entertaining, a large open seating area, and a separate conference room.
Nearly all of the Lodge’s current residents spent the fall semester in college-owned houses around the perimeter of Bethel’s campus, moving en masse into the new facility the weekend before December finals. Compared to living in Perimeter Housing, the return to dorm life has called for some adjustments. Students need to swipe their ID cards to enter at both the front doors and the stairways, for example, and they now have to share a stove with everyone on their floor. Still, there is no denying Lodge life comes with benefits. Besides the standard comforts that accompany a brand new building, residents enjoy new student and community furniture, three large flat-screen tvs, and access to free laundry facilities.
One of the central considerations in the Lodge’s design was the desire to promote community. Now in its third month of housing students, those hopes are gradually being realized. Typically quiet during the day, the Lodge comes alive at night. Whether it’s to play games at one of the large tables, bake lasagna in the kitchen, snuggle in front of the fireplace, or gather in one of the balcony lounges to watch a movie, students from all over campus are finding their way to the Lodge. Even when hanging out in their own suites, residents tend to prop their doors open, staying connected to whatever is happening in the rest of the building.
With more than half of the Lodge’s new residents set to graduate in May, savoring their last semester of 24-7 community living rates as a top priority. And as other students see what a unique experience Bethel’s newest residential community provides, little doubt remains that the Lodge will be filled to capacity next year!
~ Lindsey Weber, Lodge Resident Director