Hello reader, Lehigh, and the residence world of South Mountain Campus. My name is Xandra Yantzi, but you may know me as X. I simply cannot believe that this will be my fifth year on campus. Moving in to Dravo freshmen year is a memory still very fresh in my mind and my Lehigh adventure has been nothing short of spectacular; albeit, it has been challenging. But what’s life without a little challenge?
I graduated with a double major, English and French, with the Class of 2014 (woop woop) this past spring. I am currently working toward my Masters of Secondary English Education.
Without a little orange ball and a ten foot hoop, I never would have been given the opportunity to come to Lehigh. I started playing basketball when I was 8 years old, and if Michael Jordan was the best to play, my skill level was quite possibly at the other end of the spectrum. However, I loved the game and still do to this day. As years flew by, I worked hard, learned, and got a lot better, and the fall of my senior year, I decided to take my talents to South Mountain.
Ball may be life, but I am no Lebron. I came to Lehigh excited to belong to a team and family.
This year I will be on the Lehigh Rowing team! I am very excited. I have never been in a row boat before, and I couldn’t tell you about the first thing on maneuvering an oar, but I can’t wait to experience the meaning of teamwork in a completely new form. I know my love for basketball has always stemmed from teamwork and the beauty of some dishes and dimes to a bucket. That beauty would never come to fruition, if I didn’t have my teammates and friends.
I love people. I love Lehigh because it gave me the opportunity to meet many amazing people, and be more than a basketball player. I was an Orientation Leader for two years. I have taken part in some spoken word groups and events. I love helping out in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and I’m always down to try something or meet someone that I never have before. Lehigh has opened so many doors for me and granted me the ability to consider new perspectives, and I am a better person for it. Of course, I am still learning about myself and the world around me. And that is also a beautiful thing.
Some of my proudest and humbling moments at Lehigh have been during Student Life Leadership Award ceremonies. My junior year, I was awarded the Ujima Award, and my senior year, the Debbie Pearsall Award. Both times I was in awe with the love I felt from my Lehigh community. These awards were so important for me, because I saw them as a reflection of the people that stand beside me on this campus. We are all not perfect, but I know for a fact that I never could have won those awards had I not been supported and loved by faculty, coaches, staff, my peers, and friends.
I use the word love a lot, and I think it will be a lifelong thing for me to seriously understand all that the word entails. But I do know that love is everywhere, and this campus will only continue to grow and find success the more we open ourselves to the idea of loving each other.
One day, I hope to pass on my love to a classroom, as I would love to be a teacher. I plan to coach one day, and give back the gift of basketball and its opportunities to younger players. But above all, I hope to always learn, love and grow, and keep those around me happy, be it with a smile, a hug, or support.
But anyway, If you see me around campus, say hi! I may beat you to it, but I’m not hard to miss. I’m the 6’5 girl dancing around campus. Literally. Dancing. Headphones on and all. I don’t bite, and I’d love to talk about anything from music, to sports, to the Lehigh Squirrels, to the color green, to what Rathbone served for dinner. Whatever.
I hope everyone has an awesome year, and I hope everyone in their own individual way learns, loves and grows. I’m sure I’ll see you around.
The Office of Residence Life plays a huge role in your first year experience! The ORL is responsible for fostering a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive residential environment. Gryphons, known as Resident Assistants at many colleges, live in the residence halls and serve as an immediate source of support and assistance. Gryphons are concerned with the growth and development of each individual in their building, and they are a wonderful resource that you should fully take advantage of! You can look forward to getting to know your Gryphon in G-chats, which will happen twice each semester.
There are many activities and opportunities that you can look forward to this year in your residence hall!
The Office of Residence Life and the Center for Academic Success sponsor the Residential Studying & Tutoring program (RST), which helps promote effective study habits and brings academic support for some of the University’s most challenging and demanding courses into the residence halls. RST study sessions are held on a weekly basis Sunday-Wednesday from 8 PM-10 PM in the study lounge of each residence hall for all Calculus courses, Physics 11, and Chem 30.
Gryphon staffs will plan Community Development Experiences throughout the semester that will enable you to meet residents and Gryphons in your area, enjoy delicious food from local vendors within the South Bethlehem community, and learn more about a particular topic from a faculty or staff member. You will also have the opportunity to form connections with your floormates by attending campus events with your hall and Gryphon.
Additionally, every Thursday, the Office of Residence Life, along with Lehigh After Dark and Student Auxiliary Services, hosts Trivia Night in Hawks Nest from 10 PM-12 AM! Stop in for an evening of fun, food and prizes!
If you are looking to get involved, consider running for your building’s Residence Hall Council. RHCs serve as the primary means of communication between residents and the administration, and provide programming to meet the needs and interests of residence hall students. RHC is a wonderful way to meet other students in your area and gain valuable leadership skills.
Meet Samantha Tomaszewski, a rising sophomore majoring in journalism who lived in Dravo on B4 her first year at Lehigh, and will be a Gryphon on B3 this year. Samantha is a class officer, writer for the Brown and White, and co-host of Lehigh’s radio station.
People say the freshman fifteen doesn’t exist at Lehigh, and it especially doesn’t exist if you live in Dravo. I remember being shocked when I heard that the building didn’t have an elevator and I was going to be living on the fourth floor.
So how did I survive all the stairs? And more importantly, how could I be crazy enough to want to live there again as a Gryphon next year? It certainly was tough… My best strategy was to walk up to my dorm with a friend, I would spend so much time focusing on our conversation that the climb would seem to fly by. It can get hot – especially on the higher floors – so make sure to bring a fan!
It’s important to keep busy – more than half the time I was outside my dorm, studying in the library or hanging out around campus. If I knew that I had a few classes and then a meeting, I’d pack up all of my things for the day and save myself a few trips back to my room.
I liked it because it forced me to not always run back and isolate myself in my dorm. I found cool places on campus to hang out between classes and even got some work done in my downtime. I also made a lot of use of the bus – download the Lehigh Live app, it’s really helpful for checking what stop the bus is at.
But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved my dorm. It’s a great size – my hall was made up of 18 girls. I was surprised when my friend who lived in M&M told me there were 50 girls on her hall. I lived in a CHOICE community, which I will be a Gryphon for this coming year, which put me in touch with a lot of like-minded people who I probably never would have met otherwise. It made for an extremely positive living experience.
Even though the halls are divided into small groups, the building itself is pretty large. There are some people who lived in my building that I never even met. So my advice would be to go to any and all events to help meet people who may not live near your hall. I ended up meeting one of my best friends halfway through the year and found out that he’d been living two floors below me the whole time.
Dravo is in a great location too – it’s close to Hawk’s Nest and it’s close to Taylor Gym, for when you regret those late night junk food runs. It’s close to both Cort and Rathbone.
So even if all the stairs intimidate you, stay strong. I loved living there and I can’t wait to live there again this year! No matter the season, the view is always worth it.
Dravo House, the “Castle on the Hill”, is home to 266 first-year students. This residence hall is a co-ed five-story building comprised of single-gender halls of double and single rooms, with a few triples. There is a Gryphon on each hall and one Head Gryphon for the building. Check out building floor plans and room layouts here!
All the rooms contain movable furniture and provide a bed, desk with desktop bookshelf, and desk chair for each student. Single and double rooms have one closet with drawers and shelves. Triples have an additional closet, dresser, and/or wardrobe.
Above From Left to Right: Single, Double; Below: Triple
Students can find a TV lounge, game room, vending machines and laundry facility on the first floor. A large programming lounge equipped with a TV and kitchen as well as study facilities are on the ground floor.
Moving into a college dorm room for the first time is very exciting, but figuring out what to pack and what to leave at home can be stressful. For more information about what to bring to Lehigh, check out this packing list!
While you are allowed to bring your own refrigerator as long as it is less than 4.6 cubic feet, you are NOT allowed to bring a microwave. However, students are able to rent or purchase a Microfridge for their room. Each Microfridge contains a microwave oven, refrigerator, and freezer. Many students order Microfridges and find them useful; when the cost is split with a roommate, they are very affordable. More information about the Microfridge appliance and instructions on how to order can be found here.
Students are also allowed to bring their own printers; however each student is allotted a yearly printing budget of $75 that can be used at any on-campus location. Grace Hall, Drown Hall, and Rauch Business Center, which are all within a five minute walk of the first year residence halls, each have computer labs and printers that students can use. Many students who bring printers find that it is more convenient to print at the library and end up taking printers home since they take up a lot of space.
Please remember to leave anything with a heating element at home. Prohibited items include hot pots, portable heaters, air conditioners, halogen lamps/bulbs, candles, electric blankets, and lava lamps.
Keurigs are allowed!
If you have any questions about what you are allowed to bring to Lehigh, please contact Residential Services at email@example.com or by calling (610) 758-3500.
Living in Richards was one of the best things that has happened to me since getting into Lehigh.
Richards is in a relatively central location. It is higher up than the centennials, but lower on the mountain than Dravo. I personally believe that Richards has one of the best locations of dorms on campus. We are one staircase away from the Rathbone dining hall, a two minute walk from Hawks Nest (a popular place to get food and milkshakes late at night) and a five minute walk from our other dining hall, Cort, so food is never far away. Getting to classes is easy as well. You will always have to walk down to class and back up the mountain to get home, but after a few weeks, you get used to the up and down of Lehigh. Me and my friends joked that at school there is really no left or right, but just up and down at Lehigh.
Richards House consists of four floors with A and B sides or wings. Three of the floors are houses boys and one of the floors houses girls. This was definitely something that I had to get used to right after moving in. The benefit of having each floor split into A and B halls is that you have an opportunity to get close with the girls and guys you are living with. Another benefit is that you can also get to know your gryphon better. My hall was around 24 girls and our gryphon did a great job getting to know each of us. She even left us little gift bags for holidays and always made herself available to talk when we had a question or a problem. She became one of my close friends during the year and having her as a friend definitely helped make my first year so much better.
I had the pleasure of living in both a single and a double during my year in Richards. Both the singles and doubles are spacious and offer plenty of room for storing anything from extra plastic drawers to a few sleds for when it snows. Me and my roommate had two sleds in our double and still had room for all the carloads of other things we brought to school.
An organization I got involved with on campus was Residence Hall Council, or RHC. Throughout the year, the RHC met and planned events for the residents. We had great success with all of our events and I would like to believe that they helped bring together our already close knit building. Some examples of events that we have done include Mr. Richards (a “man pageant” in which guys signed up to compete to win the show through a talent portion, Q&A and text to vote rounds), the Richies Award Show (an award show where we gave out superlatives and awards to residents after nominations and votes were cast), Belated Spring Equinox Cactus Decorating Party. When you get to school, I would urge you to get involved with RHC by either running for a position on the board or by attending the weekly meetings.
To close out this blog post, I want to talk pros and cons of living in Richards. I asked some of my friends who I lived with and this is what they had to say:
Chris Watson: Pros- You get a solid ball court and two lounges. Cons- Showers get cold when toilets are flushed and the death stairs
Brandon Fuerst: Pro- One connected community area
Kari Moffat: Pro- The living space was always clean and spacious. The location next to hawks nest was also a huge pro. I felt safe in Richards. The basketball court/parking lot was also a pro. Con- No AC and you can hear everything through the walls.
Carine Leslie: Pro- Because it’s not a huge dorm you really get to know the people you’re living with and become really close with them over the year.
Freddy Coleman: Pros- Small enough to know most residents, has basketball court, grill out front, has two lounges for studying or recreation, Logan hodges is head gryphon next year, bigger rooms than most dorms, not too far from classes, close to hawks nest, the gym isn’t to far. Cons- No air conditioning, Lacey Quinn is not the head gryphon anymore, it’s the second highest freshmen dorm.
Alex Brint: Pro- the way the halls work helps everyone become close. Cons- Can’t think of any
Cassie Gakos: Pro- Big rooms, everyone shared the same two lounges and that was great. (made it easy to meet everyone in the building). Cons- Not too many girls, less socializing than M&M. I don’t have many cons honestly we had like the best dorm ever
Josh Finklestein: Pros: Not too big not too small, facilitates a close and diverse community.
Mike Di Martino: Pros- The lounges provided a great sense of community if you chose to take advantage of them. Con- It’s kinda hike to get there
Lexi Zargar: Pros- Really big rooms and good sized bathrooms, there’s not too many people living there so you get really close to people in your hall and building. Con- The only con I can think of is we don’t have lounges on every floor
Hilbert Chen: Pros- you really get close with your hall. Cons- some people take the term “work hard, play hard” and completely ignore the work hard part
Rachel Keller: Pro- The community type living. I feel like we all grew really close from the set up of the building, and all of the celebrations we had were awesome! Con- Since there was only one study lounge, it could get pretty rowdy at times!
Also here are some links to YouTube videos that you can check out to get more of a feel of Richards is like!
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3KWPw56SG0 (Video tour of a double)
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BlhtQsZ9xM (Video tour of a single)
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXU7yrwNQgc (Opening video for RHC’s Mr. Richards)
4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1mSGVLuY2c (Opening video for RHC’s Richies Awards)
Thanks for reading and can’t way to see you all on campus!
Meet Yazata Bhote, a former resident of Richards House who will be a Gryphon in Upper Centennials this year!
Hi Class of 2018! I’m here to help you prepare for what will be one of the most fun experiences of your life – freshman year of college! If you have any worries about the transition to college, just know that in my experience, everyone finds their niche in the Lehigh community by the end of freshman year. Your gryphon (or RA) will be very helpful in this transition. My gryphon, Lacey, became one of my friends and someone I could go to for just about anything!
So first of all, you’re living in Richards – Congrats!!! Richards is a beautiful dorm on the outside (just Google image search “Richards House Lehigh” and you’ll see what I’m talking about) and it has, by college standards, HUGE rooms. Each room is very spacious, and there is a good mix of doubles and singles in the building. Richards is a co-ed building with 4 floors. When I lived there, there was 1 floor of girls and 3 floors of boys. Each hall is divided into an A and B side and each side of the hall becomes very close.
In terms of location, Richards is close to pretty much everything. It is very close to the library and about equidistant from both dining halls. An added perk of Richards is that it is right across from Hawk’s Nest, a delicious late night fast food joint that serves food until 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., depending on the day. The only downside to Richards’ location is that it is situated very high on the Lehigh hill (higher than almost all classes, both dining halls, and the libraries), so be prepared to tone your leg muscles climbing the “death stairs” everyday.
There are a lot of ways to enjoy yourself in Richards, whether it’s playing basketball right outside Richards or playing pool in the game room. Richards has two lounges, a TV lounge and a study lounge. Both are air conditioned which is a life saver in the August heat of orientation week. Richards is also equipped with a full kitchen, so you can cook and bake to your heart’s content!
There are some cons of living in Richards…besides having to take the death stairs every day. The showers in the bathrooms have curtains instead of doors, which can make you feel very unprotected at first, but you get used to it. The laundry room is located in the basement, which can be inconvenient if you have to lug clothes up and down from one of the higher floors in Richards. It can also be very loud inside and outside of Richards due to the sheer amount of people living in the dorm, so I would recommend packing earplugs.
Here a few tips to keep in mind before you start your freshman dorm experience. If you can, snag a bathroom cubby close to the sink when you move in. It makes it so much easier to have your toiletries at arm’s reach. Brighten up your room with Christmas lights and posters – you would be surprised how they can transform a room! Pack comfortable shoes because you will be making the daily trek up to Richards. Lastly, pack light. I know how hard this can be, but trust me; it will make your life much easier at the end of the school year.
Welcome class of 2018!
Meet Eden Weinflash, a rising sophomore who is pursuing a Psychology major and Business minor in the 5-year BA/MA Education Program. As a Richards House resident, Eden was involved with Residence Hall Council, and will be a Gryphon in Stoughton next year.
It’s hard to believe that just a year ago I was getting ready to begin my first year at Lehigh. I was feeling everything incoming students usually feel: nerves, excitement, and lots of anxiety (you’re not alone!). After getting my housing placement, I immediately turned to my best friend—the Internet—to see what Richards House was all about. My first thought was Oh my god,of course my dorm is on the top of the mountain. But, after accepting the fact that I might be out of breath for the first few weeks, I came to the conclusion that my dorm life would be whatever I’d make of it. I knew I had to go in with an open mind in order to soak up all that Lehigh—and my residence hall—had to offer.
Richards was an amazing place to begin my college career. It is the smallest of the residence hall complexes, so I can safely say I knew a good portion of my fellow dorm mates. It also has two lounges: one for studying and one for, well, lounging! Although at times it was hard to distinguish between the two (college kids love lounging more than they love studying…), these rooms were great places to meet and bond with everyone in Richards.
I immediately got involved with Richards’ Residence Hall Council, a resident-run activities committee, similar to my high school’s student government. We had the opportunity to plan events for our dorm, through which even more bonding occurred! We had a Super Bowl party, a Halloween event where the three floors of boys went to the girls’ floor to trick-or-treat, a cactus-decorating party, and even an awards show at the end of the year! Our RHC worked hard to make sure everyone in Richards was having a good time, and it definitely paid off. Get involved with your RHC in the fall, or even just attend events; you won’t regret it.
Although I love Richards, and everyone has true pride in their respective residence halls, it’s important to remember how close you are to all the other first-year halls! Dravo is just a few steps up the mountain, and I made a lot of my best friends there. We’re lucky that Lehigh’s campus is tight enough that we can walk to any of our friends’ dorms; take advantage of that!
Good luck in preparing for (and beginning) your first year at Lehigh, class of 2018! With an open mind and a good attitude, you’ll definitely have the time of your life.
Richards House, a first-year residence hall, honors the memory of Charles Russ Richards, president of Lehigh University from 1922 to 1935. The building, which was renovated in 2007, is the smallest of the first-year residential complexes and is home to a tight-knit community of 192 students and 7 dynamic Gryphons. Residents live in singles, doubles, and triples on four single gender floors. All the rooms contain movable furniture, including a bed, desk with bookshelf, desk chair, dresser, bulletin board, and closet or wardrobe for each resident.
Richards boasts beautiful views, prime location on the “Quad”, close proximity to Lamberton Hall and Hawk’s Nest, and an outdoor basketball court. A TV lounge, study lounge, game room, kitchen, vending machines and laundry facility are on the first floor.
To view building floor plans and room layouts, check out the Residential Services website! http://www4.lehigh.edu/housing/residencehalls/az/richards.aspx.