Living and learning on campus


Photo credit: Kaitlyn Curry

Most students know the names of the basic residence halls; Trinity University is host to James Calvert Hall, South Hall, etc. It has halls on campus, such as the substance-free halls, HOPE Hall, the 360 Well-Being Hall, Entrepreneurial Hall and HUMA Hall. These are considered to be Trinity’s “special halls.”

But while students may have heard of these special halls, they may not exactly know what they entail — or even why they’re different from the rest.

Living and learning halls are floors or areas residence halls that are set aside for a group of students with a common interest. The hope is that by bringing students (especially first-years) together with similar goals, those students will have a group of people they feel comfortable around from the get-go.

For example, substance-free halls are ideal for students looking for a community of peers that have the same outlooks on drinking and drugs. These include the Swashbucklers (well known for their pirate theme) in Susanna Hall and another substance-free hall that’s located on McLean third.

Enrique Alcoreza, junior and the RA for the substance free hall on the third floor of McLean, recognized that party culture is a part of college life for many but also that he has a personal duty to respect the wishes of those who don’t partake.

“Substance-free housing is a great environment for those students who don’t want to be subjected to certain societal pressures that can be found on a college campus,” Alcoreza said. “The ability to willingly enter the sub-free hall grants its residents a certain type of freedom to grow and comfortably transition into college. Everyone in my hall chose to be here, and I aim to do their decision justice by providing them with the resources and support necessary to navigate campus in a sub-free manner.”

Equally likely to bring students closer together is the 360 Well-Being Hall. This hall is new this year and aims to help students prosper in their college careers. The 360 Well-Being Hall is situated in on the second floor of Calvert.

Sophomore Chen Wang, RA for the 360 Well-Being Hall, explained that health encompasses both physical and mental states. One cannot thrive without the other, according to Wang.

“[360 Well-Being Hall] is how to stay fit, no freshman fifteen — and then how to mentally be okay with school. I think we are going to do stuff with TUfit, it’s a lot of meditation and yoga,” Wang said.

Another hall focusing on student interests is HOPE Hall, which gives those with a love for volunteering the opportunity to participate in service events and give back to their community regularly.

There are two HOPE Hall RAs this year. Junior Breanna Brietske is the RA for the sophomore and upper divisions and senior Khaniya Russel is the RA for first-years.

When asked about her vision for HOPE Hall, Russel shared what she hopes her residents take away from the experience. Hope Hall is located in McLean.

“I hope each member of my hall will do their part to uphold each of the core values of Trinity through volunteering their time with members of our greater San Antonio community experiencing homelessness,” said Russel. “By applying, they’ve demonstrated they care about helping people who are less fortunate.”

These three aren’t the only special halls — also in the mix are the HUMA and Entrepreneurial Hall, located on the third floor of Alfred Herff-Beze Hall and the second floor of McLean, respectively.

HUMA Hall is geared toward students in the HUMA First-Year Experience course. Since these students will study the same books and face the same assignments, living in close quarters allows them to easily form study groups. The hall is overseen by RA and sophomore Maggie Lupo, who enrolled in HUMA her first year and enjoyed the course so much that she went on to become a peer tutor.

“The residents are all experiencing the intense, fascinating, enriching adventure that is HUMA at the same time and in close proximity,” Lupo said. “This allows them to ask each other for help, share the ideas brought up in their separate sections and — of course — commiserate about the workload.”

Finally, the Entrepreneurial Hall (E-Hall) aims to unite students with interests in entrepreneurship, startups and even in creating their own businesses. The hall is overseen by residential assistant and sophomore Gavin Buchanan. Buchanan explained that entrepreneurs are some of the most prevalent names in our society today, ranging from Jeff Bezos to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

“Trinity has the eighth best entrepreneurship department as ranked by Forbes and historically has had alumni who went on to found companies like Rackspace (which launched Youtube), Kind and Central Market so justifiably Trinity is both proud of its programs and wants to continue its legacy,” Buchanan said.

“My goal for E-Hall is to encourage each of my residents to discover their passions, talents and goals and how those may be used to create a positive impact in the world. Each resident is united through a one-hour course that teaches the basics of Entrepreneurship led by local San Antonio entrepreneurs allowing for a unique community of students to form around innovation and ingenuity,” Buchanan said.

For students who have an interest that that one of the special halls specialize in, they might be able to find a place where they can feel like they really fit in at Trinity University.