Academics Ambassadors Campus Life General Residence Life and Student Housing Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

Finding Community in Your Commons

Move-in day can be scary. While the air is filled with the excitement of new opportunities and experiences, moving to a new location at such a pivotal point in our lives can feel like walking on a high-beam without a safety net below. On move-in day, most college students are moving away from their friends, their family, and their home. But here at SMU, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A “dorm” is a place where students live away from home. At SMU, we don’t have dorms. Instead, we have Residential Commons Communities (each called a “Commons”), which are designed to become your new home.

In my experience, this works like magic. With one faculty member living with their family in a built-in apartment on the ground floor of each Commons, every student has access to a set of incredibly supportive parents-away-from-home. When I walked into my Commons for the first time, my Faculty in Residence (FiR) immediately knew my name and invited me to a home-cooked dinner. Through successes, failures, breakups, and job offers, I never stopped leaning on my FiR family for support and encouragement.

But even with a built-in family, making friends represents so much of what the college experience is about. Luckily, the Commons system has some fantastic ways to build lifelong friendships with your neighbors. I found community through Commons intramural sports teams, Commons Council, and even just hanging out in the building’s lounge spaces. Every Commons puts on dozens of fun events each semester to encourage their residents to spend time with one another. With so many opportunities to meet new people, the commons experience basically comes with automatic friendships.

Throughout my time as a first-year, orientation leader, stampede guide, and RA, I have seen hundreds of students enter this university and find their home. The commons system provides us students with community in an ingenious way: by recognizing that home is never a place, but instead a person.


I found my home on the Hilltop, and I hope you will too.

Jack Lucas

Ambassadors Campus Life General Life Around Dallas Residence Life and Student Housing

Where to Eat in Dallas (On & Off Campus)

One aspect of college that I never realized would be so pivotal and meaningful to me was food. As I made the trek from California to Texas, I mainly thought of the heat, the cowboy hats, and the southern accents that would truly affect my location experience. It wasn’t until I stepped into the Dallas foodie scene where I quickly realized my love for food needed to be added to the list.

Of my 2 years in Dallas, I have made a list of restaurants on & off campus that have caught my eye and wanted to share with the community. So here is my coveted Top 20 List of Restaurants based on cuisine, expense, and my personal experience… enjoy!

  1. Sixty Vines (Modern American, $$, Constant favorite!)
  2. The Henry (American, $$$, Lovely brunch place)
  3. Le Bibloquet (French, $$$, I feel very fancy when I eat here!)
  4. Honor Bar (Traditional American, $$$, No reservations but great when you get in)
  5. Shinsei (Asian Fusion, $$$, One of the best places to get sushi in Dallas)
  6. *Mac’s Place (Fast-Food American, $, Great quick food & have dorm room essentials too such as paper towels/soap/microwavable food)
  7. Taverna (Italian, $$, Right on Katy Trail & can walk from campus)
  8. La La Land Coffee (Coffee, $, Just coffee and small bites but great back story and even better coffee)
  9. Luckys Hot Chicken (Hot Chicken, $, Tastes like you are in Nashville)
  10. Penne Pomodoro (Italian, $, Great for all meals and can walk from campus)
  11. *Cinco Taco (Mexican, $, Easy lunch in between classes)
  12. Olivellas (Italian, $, Best. Pizza. In. Dallas.)
  13. Flower Child (Healthy, $$, Great food when you feel like you have been eating unhealthy lately)
  14. Velvet Taco (Tex-Mex, $, Arguably the best queso)
  15. Torchys Tacos (Mexican, $, Also arguably the best queso)
  16. Wabi House (Japanese, $$, Go here if you are ever craving ramen)
  17. Bistro 31 (European, $$$, Best service in Dallas & in Highland Park Village)
  18. Public School 214 (Gastropub, $$, My parents say they have great drinks for those parents that visit)
  19. rise (French, $$, Souffles are to die for)
  20. Jose (Mexican, $$, Brunch is great and aesthetic inside)

*(on campus in Hughes-Trigg)


Thank y’all for reading & I hope when you visit Dallas for however long you visit at least one of these amazing Dallas restaurants!

Thank you,

Camille Enes ‘23

Ambassadors Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing Uncategorized

Your Dream College Roommate

Hey y’all! We’re Laura Scott Cary (‘22) and Meredith Lloyd (‘22), and we were freshman year roommates and are still best friends! We didn’t know each other before we decided to become roommates, but we really lucked out and ended up having the best time living together. However, it wasn’t all luck: our almost-instant friendship came from good communication, shared interests, and similar living habits. So today we thought we’d share some tips with you on how to communicate with potential roommates in order to figure out if you’d be compatible living together! Or, if you’re going random, this can still be helpful to maintain a healthy relationship with whoever you end up with!

Don’t be afraid to reach out!

LS: I actually wasn’t looking for a roommate, because my sister lucked out with a random roommate when she was in college and I was nervous about the whole process of looking for one through Facebook. But when Meredith reached out, she seemed really interested in getting to know me even after I told her I wasn’t looking for a roommate. When I realized we had incredibly similar interests, I decided that Meredith was exactly the kind of roommate I was hoping to get through the random roommate process, and I knew I had to reach out again.

M: We met on the admitted students Facebook page, and I just DM’ed Laura Scott on Instagram asking her if she was looking for a roommate. She wasn’t, like she said, but I kept talking to her in hopes that we would become friends once we got onto campus! We ended up chatting for about a week and realized we were into a lot of the same things. She came crawling back and asked if I was still looking for a roommate (I was). We decided to room together, and the rest is history!

Find out what you have in common.

LS: One of the first things Meredith and I did when getting to know each other was ask a lot of questions. We started by talking about basic information, (“What’s your major?” “Do you have siblings?”) then dove into more specific interests and hobbies. I would recommend asking each other about things that really matter to you – I’m passionate about good food and music, so I was really curious to know what Meredith liked to eat and listen to. If religious or political beliefs are important to you, consider discussing those topics with your potential roommate. You don’t have to agree on everything, but having some common ground will make living together a lot easier.

Talk about your decorating styles.

M: To some people, having a matching room isn’t super important. To me, though, I really wanted something that felt cohesive and homey! LS and I agreed on a color scheme and a general layout, and she kind of gave me the reins from there. When I found something I liked, I would send it to her to see if she liked it, too. However, if you and your roommate have conflicting styles, it might be good to discuss doing your own things. We went for a light, cozy feel with lots of soft textures. We both decorated our own walls with pictures, posters, and tapestries that we chose on our own. The most important thing with coordinating room efforts, though, is creating a space that you can both feel comfortable in. Try to work with your roommate to make sure they feel heard and at home in your new shared space. Also! Check out how our room ended up:

Discuss living habits.

LS: Before Meredith and I fully committed to being roommates, we planned a FaceTime call where we would discuss our personal living preferences and boundaries. We talked about bedtimes, cleanliness, studying habits – even the temperature we would want the room to be at! Finding out if your living styles are compatible is really important to your future happiness as roommates, and if it seems like you have completely different priorities (for example if they love to stay out late and you go to bed really early), you might want to reconsider living with that person.

M: It’s also good to talk about how much you want to share. LS and I shared clothes, food, and basically anything in the room, but we always asked permission first. Also, talking about how clean you want the room is smart. While we both might have overexaggerated our levels of tidiness, we managed to find time to clean at least once a week. Having an honest conversation about what works best for you and finding a middle ground is best practice for a healthy relationship. 

What kind of dorm do you want to live in?

M: At SMU, there’s two different dorms types you can preference in the room selection process: community style and suite style. In a community style dorm, you and your roommate will share a bathroom with people on your hall. Those bathrooms get cleaned daily, and they’re a really good way to meet people. In a suite style bathroom, you and your roommate will share a bathroom adjacent to your room with another set of roommates. These bathrooms get cleaned once a week, and it’s a cool way to get really close with the other set of roommates you share with. Laura Scott and I preferenced a suite, and that’s what we ended up with. We liked the idea of having our own space to be responsible for, but our friends in community style swear they would never do anything different. Talk to your future roommate about what style you guys would want! Both are great options. 


M: It’s important to remember that living with someone is a challenge even for the most accommodating of people. The most important thing to remember is communication is key. Being honest with your likes and dislikes from the very beginning will ensure that you and your roommate are compatible. 

LS: We happened to be incredibly compatible as roommates and as friends, but know that it’s okay if you and your future roomie aren’t as close – college is all about individual experiences, and we each spent a lot of our freshman years cultivating our own separate interests in addition to spending time together. When we didn’t get to room together sophomore year because Meredith became an RA, we were both bummed. But since we both had friends and support systems outside of our roommate bubble, not living together didn’t put a strain on our SMU experiences! We encourage you to make friends and find hobbies separate from your roommate, even if you are close. Find the things that make you happy, and you’ll have an amazing time at SMU.

Ambassadors Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

SMU Res Life Survival Guide

Hi everyone! My name is Cristina Mauldin, and I’m a senior here at SMU! I’m on the Pre-law track with majors in Spanish and Education and minors in Philosophy and Religious Studies. I’m originally from Mansfield, TX (about 26 miles Southwest of SMU), and I currently serve as a Resident Assistant in Armstrong Commons! I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips for living in the Residential Commons; think of it as an SMU Res Life Survival Guide!


5. Bring supplies. SMU RLSH (Residence Life and Student Housing) has a website which lists all of necessary supplies for living in the commons. Some examples include Twin XL bedding, pillows, a mirror, shower caddy/shoes, surge protector, decorations, etc.




4. Pack seasonally. This means bring mostly summer/fall clothing (and maybe 1 or 2 winter coats) first semester and mostly winter/spring clothing spring semester. Your closet will thank you!



3. Use commons resources. Each commons has a leadership team which is the combination of your RCD, FIR, RA’s, and Commons Council with members who are extremely involved in the commons/on campus. Ask them every question you have! In addition, each building comes equipped with lounges, game rooms, and study rooms for you to use and even special rooms such as music studios, meditation rooms, or libraries for entertainment. We also get AWESOME swag (check out my Armstrong Commons hat and my roommate Anna’s Armstrong shirt).


2. Get involved. Every commons has this thing called “Commons Council” which is the governing council over your commons. As a member, you can help plan events, take on leadership positions, and help your commons compete for commons cup points! (The Commons Cup is SMU’s version of the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter).





1.BE YOURSELF! The commons are meant to be your home away from home! This is the place where you will make your first friend group that feels like family and possibly join a leadership team the works for the betterment of your commons community. Your authentic self is an asset to both of these things so 100% bring it!

Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

Movies Are Better With 100 of Your Best Friends

I am an RA in one of the Residential Commons on campus and one of my favorite events that my commons, Morrison McGinnis (Momac for short), puts on every semester is Momac at the Movies. For this event Momac rents a theater at the Angelika, an independent theater that is about a seven minute walk from campus, and selects a popular movie for a private screening. Most recently we chose to show “Get Out,” a movie that has generated a lot of talk in the media. The best part about watching this movie as a residential community was laughing and jumping at the scary parts of the movie with about 100 of my Momac friends. Trust me, there is no better way to watch a scary movie! This is an event that our Faculty in Residence started three years ago, and has quickly become a favorite tradition for many of our residents. Also, as if watching a new movie in a private theater with all your friends wasn’t enough, our Faculty in Residence, Mark Kerins, is a film professor. This means that after the movie we have a chance to hear him explain more about what went into making the movie and about some of the more subtle themes.

Although Momac at the Movies is one of my favorite events my commons puts on, there are a lot of great residential events. Every Residential Commons has its own signature event that they host for everyone on campus at least once a year. These events run the gamut from an arts festival, to a Halloween festival with student film contest, to a huge Mardi Gras Party and so much more. These events are run by students, for students and are one of my favorite parts about living on campus. They are a great way to get involved and meet people from all over SMU!

Ben Ovenshire

Campus Life General Residence Life and Student Housing

My Favorite Dining Hall Hacks

I have been on an SMU meal plan for the past three years and I can genuinely say there are some undeniable perks involved with eating on campus. First and foremost, there is absolutely no required cooking. SMU offers all the home cooked meals a student could want in both dining hall locations, Umphrey Lee and Arnold. Their convenient locations allow students to easily walk in and grab food to go or sit down and enjoy a meal with friends. The best part of eating in the dining halls is that you will never have to wash a single dish.

I love to eat, and over the years I have spent countless hours in the dining halls, picking up some skills and tricks that help me to make the most of SMU’s dining hall offerings, so here’s a list of my top three favorite Umph/Arnold hacks.

VEGGIE WRAP I love a good veggie wrap, and with a little initiative, you upgrade the typical sandwich station offerings to make your perfect veggie combo. Just take a bowl and grab whatever vegetables you enjoy from the salad bar. If you make your way over to the sandwich station and ask very nicely, SMU Dining staff will take the bowl of vegetables and wrap them up for you, adding whatever sandwich condiments you’d like. Bonus tip: add hummus.

SWEET POTATO BOWL Sweet potatoes are my favorite food and you can find them in the grill section at any time of the day. Grab a sweet potato and cut it open then head over to the salad and fruit stations. I like to put a little Greek yogurt and peanut butter into my sweet potatoes. Bonus tip: add granola, bananas, and cinnamon for a sweet and savory combo.

BROWNIE SUNDAE Take a brownie from the dessert section (stressed spelled backward is dessert) and pop it in the microwave. Heat it up for 45 secs. then take it straight to the frozen yogurt machine. Take as much frozen yogurt as you please and then enjoy! Bonus tip: sprinkles.

Susie Kim

Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

The Fourth Lasso

10-16-jacqui-jacoby-1Before school starts every semester, a program called “Mustang Corral” takes place. This program consists of programming on campus, an excursion in Dallas (touring Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium, taking a Dallas Trolley Tour, doing community service at Bonton Farms, and more), and an overnight program at an off-campus campsite. Every year, I’ve grown to appreciate Mustang Corral more and more. The bonds that are made between first-years are invaluable, of course, but the memories I’ve made as a Mustang Corral Guide are some that I will cherish forever.

As a senior, all Corral guides that participated in Corral for at least 3 summers get to give a “senior speech” at a special ceremony that concludes the camp portion of Mustang Corral. This year, I was incredibly nervous to get up and speak in front of almost 2000 students, faculty, and staff members. It took forever for me to figure out just the right advice to give, but I landed on advising the first-years to create an SMU bucket list.

Some sample items for their bucket lists were to jump in all 11 fountains we have on campus before graduation and to meet former President of the United States and frequent SMU visitor, George W. Bush. Being at SMU has afforded me many exciting opportunities like these and more.

Standing backstage, the few senior Corral guides and I were feeling nostalgic, nervous, excited, and bound together by the spirit of SMU. We nervously chattered about what we were going to talk about, joking about the craziness surrounding the fact that we were actually seniors, about to spend our last year on campus.10-16-jacqui-jacoby-2

When we all got on stage, I looked around and felt overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for SMU.

I was surrounded by some of SMU’s brightest, most involved, and most impactful leaders on campus. I was sharing the stage with people who would go on to be “world changers,” and we were all able to make a lasting impact on the class of 2020 with our speeches.

At SMU, I’ve found that although opportunities for greatness are present all over the nation, there seems to be a disproportionate amount at SMU (in a good way). Not only this, but being a mid-size university allowed myself and my classmates onstage at Corral to actually have access to the resources and opportunities, and to be able to talk about them to incoming first-years, prospective students, professors, friends, family members, and future employers.

Although we were all emotional after the speeches, we looked at each other knowing that this wasn’t the end of our collegiate journey, but the beginning of our lives that were now filled with connections, networks, and opportunities that only SMU could have ever given us.

-Jacqui Jacoby

Residence Life and Student Housing

What I love About Being an RA

09-16-vafaIt’s move-in day. You’ve prepared all week for 40 new residents to move into your hall. The anticipation awaits of what your floor dynamic will be this year. Will you have a quiet floor? A rowdy floor? Or, worst of all, a messy floor? No one knows, but the one thing I did know was that being responsible for the 40 people moving in on my floor during move-in day gave me a sense of joy and responsibility.

This is my third year being an RA, and I can solemnly say my favorite part is the relationships I get to build with my new residents. Each year it is an opportunity to make 40 new friendships that will last a life time. While my residents think they rely on me for a majority of their unknown thoughts and concerns regarding college, I equally rely on them for the experience and adventure they bring me. While at times you feel like you have cleaned up someone’s mess one too many times, you have to remember the perks of the job.

All in all, the RA experience has shaped my time at college. Over the course of the past three years, I have had countless stories and memories I can share; most of which people will doubted by people questioning if something that ridiculous could actually ever occur. But at the end of the day, I’ve made and developed over 120 friendships that I am forever thankful for.

-Vafa Behzadpour

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Residence Life and Student Housing Student Organizations Uncategorized

Raising the Bar from the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

06.16 Jessica Mitchell 4
Corral Guides preparing for Corral Kickoff Festivities

College is a magical time. Pretty much anyone you meet who has been will say that for a number of different reasons: the classes, the personal development, the freedom, etc. For me, what’s made SMU most magical is the people. When I put down my deposit in April, I knew that I would be attending a world-class institution with caring faculty and beautiful campus facilities. What I did not know was that I was about to join a community of the most amazing people I had ever met. From a Junior Olympic gold medalist in my Wellness class to a girl who had started her own non-profit that raised over $20,000 during her senior year of high school living next door in McElvaney, everywhere I looked there was another inspirational person to meet.

06.16 Jessica Mitchell 2
Just a normal day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center

But even beyond the accomplishments of our student body, there’s a certain quality to SMU students that makes them so enjoyable to be around, even doing the most mundane activities. My friends and I have spent countless nights chilling in someone’s room, playing cards and laughing ourselves to tears. We’ve started a brunch club (@thedallasbrunchclub on Instagram) and explored the Dallas food scene, one Sunday morning meal at a time. We’ve gone with residential commons on excursions to movie theaters and Mavericks games (even made it on to the Jumbotron during halftime). We’ve taken the DART into downtown for arts festivals and pretended to know the meaning of abstract art installations (some things aren’t meant to be understood). We’ve dressed up in crazy SMU spirit swag to greet new students at Mustang Corral and basically spend three days being as silly and spirited as possible (appreciate your Corral Guides; they work really hard to make the experience awesome). Some days we just sit around Hughes-Trigg and have intellectual discussions about politics, pop culture, and any other topic under the sun.

Through all these random adventures, I’ve laughed, cried, and made memories that will last a lifetime. But it wasn’t always the activities themselves that were so impactful, but the people I was doing them with. Every single person at SMU has something they bring to the table that brings an experience to life, makes it worthwhile. Once you get to the Hilltop, I encourage you to find the people that can help you take the ordinary to the extraordinary.

-Jessica Mitchell

Residence Life and Student Housing

Traditions at the Residential Commons

02.16 Evan GiacominiOn February 6, SMU had its own version of Mardi Gras in the form of Krewe de Ware. Each year the Residential Commons system has the unique opportunity to sponsor different events throughout the semesters on campus. With the new housing system in place, and thriving, Ware commons was able to throw an event that brought a little bit of New Orleans to our school here in Dallas that paralleled the celebrations going on one state over.

Flyers and posters had been circulating campus for a couple weeks now and the attendance was great. Complete with an array of green, yellow, and purple decorations, a live band playing upbeat music, free food, and an acrobatics team of giant hoola hoop dancing, unicycle juggling, and spitting fire, the event was something I’d never seen before. I even got to be pretty adventurous and try a meal I’d never even thought about eating before, crawfish. Seafood has been a huge part of my life since I grew up less than ten minutes away from a beach in California but I’d never had the opportunity to give crawfish a try before this weekend. To me, it just seemed like way too much work just for one measly bite of meat, but everyone around me had such a good time with it and I could see why it is so popular.

Events like Krewe de Ware are commonplace at SMU and I am so happy to go to a school where there is never a dull moment. I got to see many of my Ware friends enjoying the food, music, and atmosphere and many others enjoying the success of the event. After just two short years, the commons have created traditions I am confident will far outlive my time as a student. I’m so excited to see the future of the commons system and the heights that each can reach.

— Evan Giacomini

Ambassadors Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

Dogs of SMU

My family has had a dog for my entire life. Whenever we moved (which was 6 times), our dog, Coco the Chocolate Labrador came with. So when I came to SMU, I was very sad to leave my dog. However, I didn’t really dwell on it when I was packing up my bags.

I quickly found out that I really missed having a pet to play with! However, when I moved into Loyd Residential Commons this year, I found out that I could add a new addition to my pet family; Buster and Winston. Our FIR (Faculty in Residence) Professor Fontenot has two Shih Tzu puppies who happen to be brothers! Better yet, we have opportunities as Loyd Residents to play with the puppies every week at Professor Fontenot’s “Breakfast Crew” events every Sunday at 8:30, and can sign up to go walk the dogs around campus!

Buster wants to play!
Buster wants to play!

I have found out that it isn’t just my Residential Commons that has a dog, many of the SMU Commons’ FIR’s are following in Fontenot’s footsteps. Almost every Residential Commons has a Common Dog, and they are around for any SMU student to play with.

As I have attended more events in my Commons, I have found out how thankful I am that SMU Professors understand how much dogs mean to us! I am so excited to watch Buster and Winston grow, and I can’t wait to come back and see them when I’m an Alum!

(PS. The dogs in the Commons are hypoallergenic so everyone can join in on the puppy loving!)

Ambassadors Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As a student in high school, I could never imagine living somewhere other than my house in Alabama with my parents and siblings surrounding me. I had lived in the same house, even the same room, for my entire life. The idea of moving was foreign to me, especially the idea of moving away from my parents. I made a decision my first semester at SMU to never call my Residential Commons “home.” I believed that if I started calling SMU my home, then I would no longer be connected to my home and family in Alabama. Baoz Throughout the first semester, however, I caught myself referring to my Residential Commons as my home. I would try harder and harder to avoid doing so, but it kept happening more frequently as the semester went by. Now, as a sophomore, I gladly refer to my Residential Commons as my home. I have since realized that you can always have more than one “home.” I truly believe that home is where the heart is. A piece of me will always belong to my home in Alabama, but the love that I have developed for this University has made it my home as well. I have made friends that I truly love and support me. I have resources to help me surpass my own expectations. I have many different opportunities to explore my passions. SMU is my home.

By Caroline Gurley

Ambassadors Campus Life Residence Life and Student Housing

Changing The World, One RC At a Time

Sometimes on the Hilltop, we forget that there is a whole other world going on at the same time. People wake up, brush their teeth, go to work/school/back to bed, eat, and do it all over again. When SMU kicked off it’s “World Changers Shaped Here” campaign, I started to wonder what exactly qualified someone as a “World Changer.” In my opinion, A “World Changer” is someone who does what they can to better the world everyday. It doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant. One small gesture can really go a long way. Some of the biggest companies today started off as silly ideas. As Residential Commons kicks off, I believe that there will be an increase in small gestures that will propel SMU and it’s students towards being “World Changers.”
Residential Commons will allow more people to collaborate with each other. For example, one of our very own FiRS (Faculty in Residence), Beth Wheaton, combined her love of economics and helping others into a career catered towards helping others. She is the founder and CEO of Equip the Saints, a non-profit consultancy that works to strengthen nonprofit organizations worldwide and to equip world changers to fulfill their personal missions. FiR Wheaton is a “World Changer” who can provide serious advice for other students who want to collaborate with others and make the world a better place. SMU is a breeding ground for BIG ideas.
Simply put, SMU is the golden place to be at in the following years. We retired an old residential system and brought in a new experience that will be the start of so many new traditions and ideas! Forget about Hogwarts. SMU’s got everything you’ve been looking for.

By Tien Dang

Residence Life and Student Housing

The Residential Commons: Leading the Pack

By Tammy Winter

I’ll admit, when I joined the Residential Commons Leadership Corps last year in the hopes of getting to be involved in the creation and implementation of the Res Commons here at SMU, didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into, a feeling that I’m sure was shared by everyone in the Corps. The Corps consisted of eleven distinct groups, one for each of the Commons with three students, a Residential Community a Director (RCD) and a Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) and we were basically tasked with the assignment of making the Commons come to life. Each team selected Commons colors, designed a crest, and decided on traditions in the hopes that their Commons would carry them into SMU’s second century proudly. And while it’s been an adjustment and has certainly come with a bit of a learning curve, it’s hard to see the a Commons as angry thing but a success.

The objective of the Residential Commons was to create a sense of community for all students at SMU, and as I look around daily at all of the activity in my own hall, Armstrong Commons, I know it’s done just that. Conventional wisdom tells us that throwing literature majors with engineers and athletes with artists might not be the best recipe for cohesion, but what I’ve seen in my own hall is that people are loving getting to interact with and learn from people who think just a little bit differently from the way they do. As an RA it’s my job to be a “friend-plus” to my residents, and help them get to know each other. My residents haven’t really needed my help, though. It’s not uncommon to for me to come outside of my room and see a group of my freshman boys planning a trip to one of their houses, or playing video games. Other times I’ve walked out and seen my sophomore girls giving advice to my freshman girls, about rush or homework, or anything and everything in between. This is how I know the Commons system is doing what it’s supposed to; I’m right in the middle of it.

To the casual observer the Residential Commons system might seem silly or perhaps too expansive to actually accomplish properly, but I see it differently. I see it as SMU making good on its promise to ensure that our campus is a space where you can connect with people you might have never gotten to interact with otherwise, a space where truly ever mustang is valued. And for that, I’m grateful.

Residence Life and Student Housing

Leading the Charge on Commons Development

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.02.54 PMBy Kaleb Lee

This summer I did some research abroad with the Residential Commons Leadership Corps. In July of 2014, SMU flew me and six other members of the RCLC out to Oxford and Cambridge to conduct res earch on behalf of the new residential commons model. It was an amazing experience. We toured more than 8 different colleges at Oxford and really learned about their inclusion of faculty in the residence.Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.03.07 PM

We were able to meet up with the student studying abroad as a part of the SMU-in-Oxford program, which was absolutely incredible! We attended “High Table” lecture and dinners with them and were able examined their classroom and residential structure and see how it was both similar and dissimilar to SMU. We lived on campus at Oxford for about ten days. It was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to go back to London and see the city, away from the college campus.