Each point in the semester brings with it a different “small talk” question that folks on campus use to spark a conversation they may or may not actually wish to be involved in. Questions from semi-acquaintances range from the potentially fascinating, (what did you do over the summer?) to the borderline irrelevant (which meal plan you are on?). At the beginning of the school year, a frequently heard query is “where are you living this year?”
For the past two years, I’ve been #blessed enough to answer that question with an emphatic “Lodge Number 8.”
What follows is usually a mix of either apathy (reflecting how monotonous these small talk questions can be) or envy, which I hope is genuine, because living in the Lodges is dope.
The opportunity to live in the Lodge first arose at the end of my sophomore year, when a buddy of mine was selected to become the resident assistant for the Lodge Complex. To this day I thank the ghosts of their Royal Majesties King William and Queen Mary that Residence Life made that questionable decision.
For a rising upperclassman debating whether or not to stay on campus their junior year, living in a lodge was the perfect compromise. I get to live in a building that looks like a house, but without all the headaches that come with big kid problems like utilities, cooking and ineffective landlords.
Another draw is the location. After spending freshman year in the barracks of Botetourt, and sophomore year in the distant realm of Ludwell, living within a five minute walk of everything on campus was too good to pass up.
Not only is living in the Lodges unfairly convenient, but the buildings have a history behind them as well. Originally built in the late 1940s, the Lodges were the on-campus fraternity houses for two decades until they were replaced by the shining beacons of fraternity hijinks known as the Units.
If you look at the numbers that label each of the seven Lodges, you will notice that they are all even. In the early 1990s, the odd numbered Lodges were knocked down to make room for the building that currently sits across the street from my house, the Sadler Center. And in 2000, one of the Lodges was modified to better host its newest tenant, The Daily Grind.
It is bittersweet then that the Lodges have reached the final moment of their significant history on this campus. The buildings (with the exception of the Grind) will be removed to accommodate the new Integrative Wellness Center. The Wellness Center sounds like a fascinating project, one that will fit in with a progressive vision of campus life and planning. A modernized IWC is a better use of prime campus real estate than old housing for just 49 upperclassmen.
I look forward to seeing what becomes of the Integrative Wellness Center, and how it improves the approach to health and wellness on our campus. I might even be back for a yoga class during a homecoming visit. But when I stop by, I will be sure to pay my respects to the buildings that stood there before.