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A table of snacks for Afternoon Tea

“Come for the Community” – A Resident’s Reflection on Welcome Events

By Pres House resident Claire James.  Claire is a sophomore at UW-Madison studying International Studies, and a Community Engagement Opportunities scholarship member at PH Apartments.

Returning to campus as a sophomore this fall, I was both excited and apprehensive to get back into the swing of college life after summer. Besides my coursework and campus involvement, one of my other worries was housing. Last November, I signed a lease with some friends at Pres House Apartments, but at the time, September of our sophomore year had seemed very far away. All of a sudden, I found myself driving back to campus on move-in day, my car full of boxes, to pick up my key. By being greeted by staff at the doors, I saw from day one that Pres House Apartments wanted to facilitate connections between other residents. My roommates and I quickly realized that we had made the right choice. Although what first drew us to Pres House Apartments was the unbeatable location, it has become clear that the community is unlike that of other apartments around campus.

At Pres House, residents are more than just one tenant among many. Within the first week of classes, Pres House hosted a Welcome Pizza & Ice Cream Party to help neighbors meet one another and win raffle prizes. We enjoyed dinner and dessert while playing a get-to-know-you game which allowed us to connect with our neighbors beyond simply their year and major. (And hey, my apartment won a mini muffin pan so we were pretty happy!) Staff members Ginger and Becca were there to share information about life at PH Apartments. Transitioning from a dorm to an apartment setting, it can be easy to forget that there are other students behind closed doors. This event allowed my roommates and me to meet people on our floor who we may not otherwise see during the day. As a member of the CEO scholarship group, I participate in activities on campus beyond my studies that facilitate community, learning, service, and wellness enrichment. By providing these scholarships, PH Apartments encourages residents to develop their interests outside of the classroom. By participating in activities like the Welcome Party, I have the chance not only to make connections with others but also to work toward completing scholarship requirements.

In addition to the Welcome Event, Pres House hosts Wednesday Afternoon Tea and monthly Community Dinner. Afternoon Tea is a time to connect with other residents, eat some snacks, and take a break from schoolwork. This is yet another example of how PH Apartment strives to promote camaraderie among its tenants. One of my favorite events has been the Community Dinner. Once a month, residents have the opportunity to attend a free dinner in the basement of Pres House cooked by Laura Andrews, the Pres House chef. This event is great because besides receiving a hot meal — which no college student can turn down — it also provides an excellent opportunity to hear about things happening in the Pres House community; Ginger, Becca, and different residents give a “spotlight of the month” on upcoming events. My roommates and I also earned CEO points by helping with the clean-up from one of the dinners. Aside from getting important information and working on CEO requirements, the dinners allow residents to mingle with one another and de-stress from a long day of classes.

If the strong Pres House community is not obvious from the events I have described, stop by Pres House Apartments and see for yourself! I have truly enjoyed my first few months as a resident here; I came into this school year with some apprehension after hearing stories from friends and family about their own college apartment experiences. To any future residents: you have nothing to worry about. By choosing Pres House Apartments, you are choosing a campus home where management recognizes you in passing, residents greet one another in the hallway, and residential program staff create incredible opportunities to grow in friendship and learning while on campus. As a resident of Pres House, I have experienced nothing but welcome from other residents and staff. If not for the central location or awesome amenities, come to Pres House for the community, which you cannot help but see the moment you walk through the doors.

Claire J. (left) and Lexi K. at Community Dinner
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