Dorms host open door challenge to build community

Several dorms on Waynesburg University’s campus participated in the Open-Door Challenge to promote communication and socialization among students. 

Matthew Pioch, director of Housing, said that an objective was the push students to leave their doors open throughout the day. “Essentially, we challenged students to leave their doors open to facilitate a sense of community,” said Pioch. 

Among the dorms that participated in the challenge were Thayer, South, West, East and Pollock halls. Each dorm offered a reward to the winning room of the contest. 

“Each [resident assistant] would walk around at some point during the day, and if they noticed a room’s door was open they would sign off on the room,” said Pioch. 

In Thayer Hall, students received multiple signatures a day from their RA’s 

“Most days, our room got three to four signatures,” said freshman electronic media major Dylan Winters. “There was only one, maybe two days that we only got one signature.” 

Winters and his roommate, electronic media major Ben Ledbetter, were co-champions of Thayer, along with, sophomore accounting major Will Purbaugh and sophomore sports management major Owen Hughes. 

Pioch said students who left their doors open for longer periods of time were much more likely to get signatures, as opposed to those who only left their doors open for brief periods of time. 

Pioch said the Residents’ Life activity started last year when Liz Diviney, resident assistant in Burns and Ray halls, implemented it. 

The challenge went over well, and this year after discussing the idea at a weekly Residents’ Life meeting, other dorms decided to give it a shot. 

To get students to be more receptive to the Open-Door Challenge, RAs decided to entice them with cupcakes from Terra Café in Morgantown, West Virginia 

When Winters found out cupcakes were on the line, he and Ledbetter decided that they would do whatever it took to win the contest. 

“We decided that with cupcakes involved, we would leave the door open if either of us was in the room,” said Winters. 

Winters also said that leaving his door open had it’s benefits . He said that although not a ton of people would stop by, some people he hadn’t talked to before started conversations. 

“We still leave the door open so people feel free to come in and say hi,” said Winters. 

Pioch said that his RAs and Residents’ Life staff noticed that some people seemed to open up more and hang out with students who had left their doors open more regularly after the challenge. 

“Some rooms that were more quiet and had their doors shut we’ve seen have their doors open and have generally been out in the hall hanging out with people more often,” said Pioch. 

Pioch said Waynesburg is considering doing this activity again. 

The residence halls would maybe do it at the beginning of next semester when some new students would be transferring in and moving into the halls. The challenge would be offered twice a year at most