Residence Hall Spotlight: Drinker House


Drinker House is located next to Dravo House and Richards House, and nearby McClintic-Marshall House. Drinker was built in honor of Henry S. Drinker, Class of 1871, and University President from 1905 to 1920.


131 first- and second-year students will live on one of Drinker’s four floors this year, either in a single, double, or triple room. While the residence hall is co-ed, the floors are single-gender. All rooms include movable furniture, including a bed, mattress, dresser, closet, and desk with shelves and a chair.


The first floor of Drinker has a TV lounge, study lounge, kitchen, vending machines, and a laundry facility. Students can play a game of pool, relax, and watch TV!


This year, Drinker House is home to the Global Lehigh Themed Community. Global Lehigh residents explore different cultures through programming, events, meals, and guest speakers. Students work closely with the Office of International Students & Scholars, the Study Abroad Office, and the Lee Iacocca Institute. Although select activities are reserved only for those living in the specific themed community, others will be open for all students living in Drinker to participate.


Each of the residence halls is managed by a full-time, Master’s-level professional who supervises the Gryphon staff in addition to central office responsibilities and planning. Ethan Fields, an Assistant Director of Residence Life, oversees both McClintic-Marshall and Drinker House. Ethan lives in an embedded apartment in M&M so that in case of an on-campus emergency he can respond quickly.

What advice does Ethan have for students living in Drinker next year? “(1) Have an open door policy as much as possible. You will really get to know people by just reaching out to the residents who pass by your door. (2) Spend time in the common spaces in your building. Your peers are your greatest resource. (3) Get to know your Gryphon and the rest of the Gryphons in your building. Gryphons are here to help and to make the community a better place to live. (4) Utilize the basketball court in between Drinker and M&M for pick-up games. (5) Run for your area’s Residence Hall Council to serve as a leader in your community. Through RHC, you have access to funds to put on programming for your community and you will serve as the voice of the community to the Residence Hall Association and greater campus.”
We are so excited for MOOV-In Day and to meet Drinker’s new residents!


Meet the Head Gryphons: Luis Castaneda


  • Preferred name: Luis
  • Gender pronouns: he/him/his
  • Residence Hall: Taylor House
  • Year and major: ’16 Pharmaceutical Chemistry, ’17 Physics and M.S. Chemistry
  • Hometown: Reading, PA
  • One thing I can’t live without: Whatever is next in the Pokemon Game series
  • Favorite movie: Coneheads
  • Favorite TV show: Orphan Black
  • Favorite thing about Lehigh: The Sculpture Garden
  • Favorite thing about being a Gryphon: Peer mentoring and the chance to introduce new events and ideas to people
  • Favorite thing about living in a residence hall: Close communities and easy access to many other hall communities
  • Favorite thing about Bethlehem: Full of Crepe
  • One thing on your Lehigh bucket list: Go to a wrestling match for the first time
  • Other clubs and organizations: Society of Physics Students (SPS), Spectrum
  • Fun fact about myself: I played semi-professional ping pong for a short time in my teenage years.

Meet the Head Gryphons: Sonja Gorman



  • Preferred name: Sonja
  • Gender pronouns: She/her/hers
  • Hometown: Portland, Oregon
  • One thing I can’t live without: Interpersonal relationships
  • Favorite movie: An Education
  • Favorite TV show: Lost
  • Favorite thing about Lehigh: Opportunities to develop professionally
  • Favorite thing about being a Gryphon: Mentoring students by sharing my own experiences
  • Favorite thing about living in a residence hall: There’s never a dull moment!
  • One thing on my Lehigh bucket list: Find the stairs to the roof of Linderman Library
  • Fun fact about myself: English is my second language



Residence Hall Spotlight: McClintic-Marshall House


McClintic-Marshall House resides South of Johnson Hall, next to Taylor House, and is conveniently near the University Center. Commonly referred to as M&M, McClintic-Marshall is named after two Lehigh graduates, Howard McClintic and Charles Marshall. The Class of 1888 grads built the Golden Gate Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and the Panama Canal.


The H-shaped building houses 280 students, who all live in doubles throughout the three floors. M&M is separated into A and B wings, with each side being a single gender hall, that have a shared lounge between them. All of the shared lounges have a TV, couch, comfy chairs, and a table with chairs that many students use to study together.



Each resident has a bed, a mattress, a desk with shelves and a chair, a closet, a bulletin board, and a medicine cabinet with a mirror. One side of the room will have 2 sets of cabinets, which roommates can share between them. All rooms are air conditioned and have a switch to change the temperature.



In the residence hall, there is a lounge area directly inside the main entrance. To one side of that lounge there is a larger programming lounge with a kitchen, game room, and vending machines, and on the other side remains the laundry room.


This year, McClintic-Marshall is also home to the Outdoor Adventure and STEM themed communities. The Outdoor Adventure community promotes outdoor sports and activities, such as weekend camping trips, hiking, skiing, and themed movie nights. Partially sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the STEM community offers programming, peer-to-peer mentoring, and faculty advising to support the students’ leadership development in their chosen field. Although select activities are reserved only for those living in the specific themed community, others will be open for all students living in M&M to participate.


Each of the residence halls is managed by a full-time, Master’s-level professional who supervises the Gryphon staff in addition to central office responsibilities and planning. Ethan Fields, an Assistant Director of Residence Life, oversees both McClintic-Marshall and Drinker House. Ethan lives in an embedded apartment in M&M so that in case of an on-campus emergency he can respond quickly.


What advice does Ethan have for students living in M&M next year? “(1) Have an open door policy as much as possible. You will really get to know people by just reaching out to the residents who pass by your door. (2) Spend time in the common spaces in your building. Your peers are your greatest resource. (3) Get to know your Gryphon and the rest of the Gryphons in your building. Gryphons are here to help and to make the community a better place to live. (4) Utilize the basketball court in between Drinker and M&M for pick-up games. (5) Run for your area’s Residence Hall Council to serve as a leader in your community. Through RHC, you have access to funds to put on programming for your community and you will serve as the voice of the community to the Residence Hall Association and greater campus.”

We can’t wait until MOOV-In day to see all of the new M&M residents!

How I had tons of fun, found great friends, met professional mentors, and started my career through life at Lehigh.

The Beginning: The first time I met my Gryphon she was walking down the hallway in a towel, having just finished a shower and heading back to her room.  She wasn’t expecting to meet one of her newest residents that day, as first year move-in was scheduled for a few days later.  I was there to participate in a pre-orientation program called Volunteer Experience and had arrived to start a three-day project helping to build a home in nearby Bucks County.  Like any great Gryphon, she excitedly welcomed me to the hall, regardless of the fact she was wearing a towel and had not yet finished with the door decorations and bulletin boards for the floor.


Best thing I did at Lehigh #1: Getting involved early, joining clubs, getting rejected from groups, joining different groups, and meeting lots of people all helped me get settled and find my place at Lehigh.

I had so much fun volunteering with other students and meeting people during orientation that I decided to get involved on campus right away.  At the club fair during the first week of school, I signed up to join a bunch of clubs, including a soccer team and an organization for LGBT students and their allies.  I auditioned for an a Capella group (and got rejected), went to speakers on campus, played frisbee outside of Taylor College, and went to BBQs hosted by our Gryphons.  I met so many different people and learned a lot about all that Lehigh had to offer.


Best thing I did at Lehigh #2: Finding a close group of friends to share the Lehigh experience with by being involved in campus life gave me a support system and created relationships that have lasted well beyond our time at Lehigh.

My second year at Lehigh, I was selected to be a Gryphon in Richards and helped welcome a new class of first year students.  I wouldn’t have even considered applying to be a Gryphon if I hadn’t gotten to know one of the professional staff members in Residence Life who suggested that I apply.  He encouraged me to get involved and by the middle of my sophomore year, I had responsibilities as a Gryphon, was serving on the executive board of a student organization, was co-directing a student production, and was involved with the Women’s Center, Multicultural Center, and Rainbow Room working to make Lehigh a more open and inclusive community.  The other Gryphons on staff became some of my best friends at Lehigh, friends that I am in touch with to this day.  The other students in the clubs I was part of also became my great friends, friends I have traveled with, lived with, and still turn to for fun and advice.


Best thing I did at Lehigh #3: Building relationships with faculty and staff members provided me with the mentorship and network of connections that helped me develop a strong foundation for my career.

By the time I was a senior, I had made connections with students, faculty, and staff from a variety of places across the university.  I completed an honors thesis with a faculty member in my major and learned important skills in research and writing.  I had connected with several staff members in the Residence Life office who had helped me secure a summer internship and provided advice about my future.  They served as mentors to me, and when it was time to think about life after graduation, they helped provide the window into a world that has become my career.

I didn’t know that the field of higher education administration even existed prior to coming to Lehigh.  Through my involvement as a Gryphon, working with student clubs, and on the task forces and committees I was asked to join because of my good relationships with administrators, I started to see that I could turn my passion for having a great college experience into a career.  I decided to use my Presidential Scholar award to spend a fifth year at Lehigh to pursue my master’s degree in educational leadership, which I completed in 2008.  During that time, I started a full-time position working at Lehigh’s Career Services, a job I was offered because of a connection I had made during my undergraduate time with a staff person in that office.  I had turned my newly found interests into the start of a great career.

I did eventually leave Lehigh, but only physically.  Since my time there, I have transitioned into professional roles at two different colleges and made steady progress in a thus-far successful career in higher education administration.  I am involved in local and national organizations that serve my profession and have received recognition for my contributions to the field.  I would not be where I am today if I had not taken advantage of the full offerings of Lehigh both in and outside the classroom, spent time with great friends, and devoted time to get to know faculty and staff beyond what was expected.  I carry with me all of the skills, relationships, and experiences I gained during my time at Lehigh.  It has proved to be an invaluable toolkit for me both personally and professionally, and was ridiculously fun along the way.


Chris Diggs works in higher education administration and is currently the Assistant Director for Student Affairs at Baruch College.  She graduated from Lehigh University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and religion studies.  She also received a Master of Education degree in educational leadership from Lehigh in 2008.  Chris is a native New Yorker and enjoys taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.

Studying Abroad: Reflections

Imagine this:

It’s fall semester and for the past year your roommate (and one of your best friends at Lehigh) has been talking non-stop about studying abroad in Ireland. She has filled out her paperwork, been accepted, and started preparing documents for travel. You’re feeling sort of jealous because you’ve always wanted to study abroad but now that the last moment to decide is actually here you’re having doubts about moving a few thousand miles away from everyone you know for the next half-year.

I’m here to tell you to do it.

While my roommate had a year to prepare I filled out an application, got accepted, and started making preparations only two months in advance of getting on a plane (while also trying not to fail my finals!) And do you want to know a secret? Up until the moment that plane was on the runway I didn’t know if I was going to go through with it. We left 3 days after Christmas during the December snowstorms of 2010 (if you remember them) and that day our plane had been cancelled and rescheduled for a week later, but my friend’s father found us seats on another plane – if we could get to Philadelphia in two hours. From that moment on I had two hours to tell my parents to turn the car around, three hours in the terminal to run back to the car and drive home, and 30 minutes on the plane to unbuckle my belt and tell them to let me off the plane. Many times I wanted to, but I did none of these things and I am so grateful to myself for having either the courage or the stubbornness to stick it out.

The first two weeks were rough, it’s true, and there were a few other times when homesickness would hit me pretty hard. But after the shock of living in a new place wore off, every day that I did something new (out of necessity or curiosity) helped me to become more confidant that this was a great decision. For the first month I barely traveled outside of my host city, but by the time I flew home five months later I had been to 14 cities in 6 countries, plus a few small towns and the Aran Islands. I am more confident in my own country now because of the things I learned abroad, and I am more confident in myself because of the daily tests I put myself through in order to thrive during that experience.

Making the decision to study abroad can be just as difficult as actually leaving, this I know intimately. But I also know that just moving to a new place can’t be the extent of your experience. If you do decide to take advantage of the fantastic programs Lehigh has to offer (and I shout to the heavens that I hope you do) then remember to get out of your host city and see the surrounding areas – visit smaller towns and talk to people your age and older, visit places with vastly different natural environments, and especially if you are in Europe take advantage of cheap flights and train networks. If you’re not from a city or not used to international travel, start with smaller trips like I did – getting to know Cork helped me trust myself to navigate Paris or Florence.  But most importantly, take that first leap and apply to a program. My friends and family believed I could do it, and I believe that you can do it. And I believe that you will come back to Lehigh with a renewed interest in life and learning and will get so much more out of your time in college if you take advantage of this opportunity.

Trip to the Aran Islands:

Trip to Florence:

Trip to Monte Carlo:

Trip to London (note: do not travel in London during a royal wedding)

Meghan Zwickl graduated in May 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science.  She intends to move to D.C. and work in either government or non-profit.

Altering Expectations

Five summers ago, just a few months removed from my high school graduation, I set out on one of the most intimidating journeys of my life. I left the only place I had ever called home to move to a state I had visited just once on my campus tour, to a college where I knew no one – save for the roommates with whom I exchanged e-mails and Facebook messages.

Despite my trepidations, I felt confident that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I was convinced that my college experience wouldn’t waver much from the plan I had for the next four years, after which I would move on to a yet-to-be-determined urban locale with the job of my dreams.

Like many first-year students, I was wrong.

For one, my undergraduate experience lasted a few months longer than a neat-and-tidy eight semesters in four years, which believe me, is not as uncommon as you might think. And I still live in little old Bethlehem.

I thought that I was destined to be a Civil Engineer, and then a Mechanical Engineer, until I ended up with a degree in Applied Science. Today, I’m working as a Communications Associate with Lehigh’s Communications and Public Affairs office. This fall, I’m working toward a Master’s degree – in American Studies.

I knew nothing about fraternities and what they did, and did not intend to join one. But I became a member, and then a chapter president. I count the men in my chapter as lifetime friends and brothers.

I became a Gryphon as a sophomore for the free housing and half-priced meal plan (PS: You should get a block plan, the 225-meal plan to be specific. Trust me.) But I ended up serving as a Head Gryphon during my junior and senior years, and the experience taught me more than I ever anticipated.

College, like life, can be pretty unpredictable. And like life, college has a way of looking at your plans for success and laughing at them. There are simple things you can do that will make a huge difference, like actually attending your classes no matter if they are optional, too early, or a little boring. But you can’t expect or anticipate everything. You’re destined to make a few mistakes.

You can, however, expect college, especially one like Lehigh, to change you. It won’t happen overnight, but before you know it, four years will have gone by and you will most certainly be a new – and better – version of yourself. You’ll look down at your student ID card and hardly recognize the face staring back at you.

Step outside of yourself. Get involved in things that you care about. But don’t overdo it. My sophomore year, I took 35 credits while being involved in at least 4 student organizations. I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you need help, ask for it. Help others when you’re able. As a Gryphon, I helped students with issues ranging from trivial to serious, and they’ve never forgotten. When I run into my residents, the last group of which will graduate this spring, they always thank me for being there for them.

College is about learning, making mistakes, and growing. Be better for it. And don’t take it for granted.

Karl Brisseaux ’11 is a Communications Associate at Lehigh. He graduated with a B.S. in Applied Science, and worked with the Office of Residence Life as a Gryphon in Centennial I (McConn), Centennial II (Beardslee), and Warren Square from 2008-2011.

Want to hear some more advice about how to succeed personally and professionally at Lehigh? Check out what our panelists have to say…

Getting Involved

As a freshman, I was completely overwhelmed with the variety and number of organizations that I could become a part of during my years at Lehigh. I remember writing my name on contact list after contact list during the activities fair on the first day of classes, mostly because I wanted all of the free stuff that clubs and organizations were giving away (shh!). As I started to get emails from these organizations, I began crossing ones off my list as I found out more about their missions, goals and commitments levels. I knew that I wanted to try many new things, but at the same time I didn’t want to overwhelm myself too much by spreading myself too thin. In an effort to not influence you sign up for certain clubs or programs, I am not going to include the names of activities that I was involved with during my Lehigh career, this is, after all, YOUR Lehigh experience to shape!

I applied to a few programs, and after I was accepted to several, and after joining some other activities, I realized that some of these extracurricular activities were just not for me, even ones that I had participated in during my high school years and loved. I told myself that I would not quit something the minute I realized that it was not for me, and one club in particular sticks out in my mind. At the time, I dreaded each meeting time, but by sticking it out, I met one of my best friends and to this day, we still reminisce about the interesting experiences that that group brought to our Lehigh careers.

There were other organizations that I joined, that I enjoyed the minute I walked into the first meeting I attended, and knew from that moment that I wanted to become more involved as I developed as a college student. I will leave you with my top seven tips or thoughts for making the most out of your Lehigh experience.

  1. Sign up for a wide variety of clubs, groups and organizations. Apply or tryout for at least one program or activity. (I found that the application process made me appreciate the value of the organizations that I applied to throughout the course of my time at Lehigh.) Include a mix of things you know you enjoy already and things that you are interested in learning more about. Remember: this is your time to try new things!
  2. Give things a chance before you decide if you like something or not. Everything will be overwhelming in the beginning, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or take a minute to stand back and observe the dynamics of an organization.
  3. Get to know upperclassmen who are leaders, whether their title reflects their leadership, or not. They know the inner workings of their clubs and programs, and were once in your shoes.
  4. Volunteer! Lehigh has so many wonderful volunteer opportunities for students, and by participating in these events you will meet new people, learn about yourself and even about some other things to get involved with at while you’re at Lehigh. Not only will you learn about Lehigh from a different perspective, you will also learn about Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, where you will call home for four years.
  5. Network. As cliché as this sounds, it is so important to get to know the people that surround you at Lehigh, whether it is fellow undergraduate students, graduate students, coaches, professors, professional staff members, alumni, etc. You never know who might be a great connection for you in the future, and having Lehigh as a common ground is invaluable.
  6. Departments across campus are always bringing famous and interesting speakers and presentations to campus. Make sure to attend a few of these events each semester, and take advantage of these opportunities to expand your knowledge of various topics. Challenge yourself and attend a lecture about a topic you are not very familiar with.
  7. Have fun! When I graduated from Lehigh, my friends and I wished that we had taken even more advantage of the diverse events that take place at Lehigh. You will look back on the times that you took a 10 minute break from studying for 4 o’clock exams more than the 10 hours you spent in the library—don’t get me wrong, studying is extremely important, but remember to balance it out with some fun!

Megan Hanks, Class of 2011, has been keeping busy since graduation with an internship in public relations and plenty of traveling. She recently moved to Philadelphia for a new job and is looking forward to getting more involved with organizations and volunteer opportunities in the city.

Want to hear more?  Here’s what our panelists say about getting involved on campus…

Far From Home

Growing up, I was told on a nearly daily basis that I was expected to go out of state for college. Both of my parents had done so, my dad to UNC, my mom to Wisconsin. It’s not that Kentucky doesn’t have some great schools – it really does. But the independence you will learn from being a good distance away from your family is priceless, they would say. Go become an adult on our dime. What 18-year-old is going to argue with that?

Moving up to Pennsylvania, I expected to be shocked by the weather (in Louisville parlance, I was going to school “up north”). What I didn’t expect was a culture shock. During the usual introductions that abound during orientation week, people looked at me funny when I said I was from Louisville, with the native pronunciation – “Loo-ah-vul”. I had to say “like the baseball bat” more times than I can count. And let’s not get into a typical northerner’s reaction to the word “y’all”. It’s like y’all have a better option (“you all” is clunky, and I refuse to acknowledge it).

But mostly, I didn’t realize that even though Lehigh is a top national university, it is also very much a regional school. I was shocked when people would leave for the weekend because it was a family member’s birthday, or a brother had a football game. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to go home for that short little four-day weekend in October that I had seen on the calendar. My parents weren’t about to pay $300 for me to come home just because I had Monday and Tuesday off. So I improvised – I went on the Community Service Office’s pacing break service trip to D.C., and had a wonderful time. Easter in the spring presented a similar predicament, as my roommate packed for the long weekend. But my fellow Jews and I organized an Easter day football game and held court in an abandoned Rathbone.

My parents were right (hardest. sentence. ever.) Going to school far away from home did make me more independent. I had to watch what I spent, because nobody was going to drop a blank check off at campus. If I got sick, I had to put myself in bed and get better through the power of ramen noodles and free drugs from the health center. I was in plenty of plays at Lehigh, and my parents only got to see one. It made me realize how important family is, and also how a great group of friends can substitute for family in a pinch.

Going to Lehigh was one of the best decisions I ever made. I made friends for life, met my wonderful boyfriend (at the promenade the first week of classes), and took classes that led to the job I have today. I got to grow up (and have a great time) on my parents’ dime. Who could argue with that?

Katie Walker is a member of the Class of 2011 (Graduated 2010). At Lehigh, she studied English, and she is currently living in Philadelphia working as the Associate Editor of Organic Gardening Magazine.

Check out what our panelists have to say about dealing with distance…