Students share their experiences with their floor communities on campus, from cultural diversity to old-school legacies. | Jenny Oetzell/THE CHIMES [file photo]
Biola University consists of a diverse group of students coming from different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. Due to age restrictions on off-campus housing, many incoming students get much of their first experiences of Biola through their dorms, and specifically with their floor communities. Members of more well-known floors around campus, such as Men of Honor on Horton’s third floor, Huod on the second floor of Hart and Lodge on the first floor of Hope, agree these floors contribute to Biola’s unique community with their traditions and legacies.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
Consisting of eight dorms and 46 floors on campus, students living on campus have been able to build and grow in community in different environments. With each dorm and floor being special in their own way, Biola students feel pride in their communities.
“Men of Honor is the best floor on campus. There are many traditions, rivalries and a strong community — you just feel part of something bigger than yourself,” said freshman business major and resident on Men of Honor Jon Chappell.
Comprised of exactly 40 men, Horton’s Men of Honor creates community by admiring the differences in each individual and building relationships with one another. Even with students coming and going, the floor has maintained the legacy of a tight-knit community over the years.
“Men of Honor epitomizes a strong and encouraging community of guys — we have sustained our core values of living in great community and loving each other as brothers on the floor,” said junior business major and resident advisor on Men of Honor Josh Fasold.
A CLOSE-KNIT GROUP
Another floor at Biola is the all-ladies floor Huod, or Hart Upper Odd Dorm. Although slightly secluded in the corner of campus, the 60 Hart women who make up the floor comprise a diverse group with different backgrounds who come together to support, love and learn from one another.
“Huod is a very chill and relaxing floor. There are a few close-knit groups of girls who have formed tighter bonds, but overall, there is great community on the floor. The upperclassmen are like older sisters — there is no divide like I expected,” said freshman communications studies major Blake Rae Van Aken.
Their community is especially close-knit in the way the ladies respect, honor and encourage one another in their college journeys.
“There is a lot of diversity on Huod with girls I would normally not get along with, but we still put aside our differences and love each other for who we are,” said freshman English major Raquel Hargrove.
Hargrove adds to the diversity of Huod with her experience of living in Istanbul, Turkey, with her missionary parents. Traveling thousands of miles overseas, Hargrove was initially anxious about living so far away from her home.
“I didn’t necessarily know what to do, when to eat at the Caf or where to do my laundry. However, the girls on my floor have been very welcoming and have supported me in this transition process,” Hargrove said. “I didn’t have any part in picking my dorm, but wow, God really wanted me on this floor. Being a member on Huod clearly showed God’s providence in my life.”
Freshman engineering major Scott Catto also felt the trepidation entering Biola’s community, coming from Wimborne in the United Kingdom.
“I was a little worried about the cultural divide between me and other students at Biola,” said Catto. “I think the first few nights the guys didn’t get my humor. I guess the humor is a bit drier in England.”
As a member of Hope South’s all-male floor the Lodge, known for all their crazy antics and culmination of exuberant personalities, Catto feels he has been able to establish healthy relationships with the guys on the floor.
“I remember on our first floor retreat when we went kayaking and then jumped off rocks. It was fun seeing different personalities come to life, as some were scared of heights. It was a great bonding experience,” said Catto.
Taking a gap year from schooling, Catto came to Biola to fulfill his desire to live in California and become immersed in a Christian environment. Catto initially planned on taking a year off to practice rowing in the states, with the goal of attending a university in England where he could join the rowing team. However, Catto’s love for the school has changed the course of his future plans, as he is continuing his education at Biola.
“I have been able to grow in my faith through being surrounded by an open-minded, encouraging community of believers,” said Catto. “I could not think of a better community to be a part of.”
The diversity of backgrounds from which students come — whether down the street or overseas, from a big family or as an only child — adds to the unique experience of the on-campus Biola community.