Chair, Iota Student Self-Governance Council
It's a success - the "collaborative design process" of which Dean Annarelli spoke passed the truest of all tests - this space has facilitated the building of a community among its inaugural residents.
The residents of Iota came from many complexes on campus and each sought a distinct residential experience. Most complexes on campus have cultures that are well-known among students: one is well-known for attracting a community of art students, another intramural athletes and EC-SAR participants, and another individuals focused on community service. Iota, as an amalgamation of many individuals, representing all four classes and over ------- majors, faced an identity crisis.
The residents of Iota stepped up to meet that challenge and worked to create community. For Halloween two residents of House C took the initiative to decorate the entire house for the holiday, investing their own time and money. A resident of House A worked with student affairs to secure canvas for the annual mural competition between the dorms so that, despite the prohibition of panting on the walls in Iota, the complex could compete among the other dorms.
Almost from the very beginning of the complex's history, its students revived the strong tradition of self-governance at Eckerd and forged it anew in the creation of the Iota Self-Governance Counsel to provide a forum for resident dialog and a way to address resident concerns.
With great support from ECOS, Dean Annarelli and the student affairs staff, and Dave Pawlowski and Eckerd ITS, through the Counsel students have given an active hand in the configuration and deployment of technology and furnishings. This freedom has allowed the students to configure the lounge spaces, to the point of of having an air hockey table in the lounge of House B and the pool table in House C and to place televisions in the downstairs lounges of each house.
Small groups frequently form. I have seen groups gather in the downstairs lounges watching movies, or having the football game on as they shoot a game of pool. Videogamers also frequently employ the TVs within the complex.
In fixing amenities, the counsel sought to build upon the facility determinations that were made ahead of it. In the same manner in which kitchen facilities are in two houses and laundry facilities in the other two houses; so, was the determination made to put two 42" TVs in two houses and game tables in the other two houses. This has encouraged students to interact between the houses, and I think it has created an even stronger unity among the complex residents than that found between the residents of a traditional dorm.
In this ongoing story of the development of an identity, I am proud to mark the milestone we reach today in which the houses, now homes, are given permanent names. It means much to a community to be able to attach a name to its home. And that same mysticism/curiosity, which greeted me with the name Iota at room draw almost one year ago, I find anew now in these new house names. One of the major fascinations of the West is Where are you from? Among the students on campus, this question is often translated into where to you live on campus? It has been difficult to direct students to my room given the temporary names of the house. I am proud to say now I live in Wren House, Iota Complex, Room 116.