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Decorations bring competitive fun

Rate My Space encourages creativity, community and comfort.  |  Photo Courtesy of Biola Housing

 

Cozy, ambiently lit rooms with coffee mugs lining the walls, furniture uniquely maneuvered to fit a couch, a bedroom disguised as a jungle—these describe just a few of the rooms Rate My Space judges saw in this year’s competition. In unique ways, students bring creativity, style and a sense of home to their dorm rooms, which describes the heart behind Rate My Space.

Rate My Space announced the winners of its four categories last Friday out of the 37 contestants who entered. The winners received prizes of mugs and blankets, and every contestant got a “Celebration Cookie,” a 12 inch pizza-sized treat.

The beginning

Manager of housing services Heidi Herchelroath started the contest seven years ago to build enthusiasm among students living on campus. Housing recognizes that living away from home and paying for dormitories can cause anxiety, and they wanted to help ease those worries by creating a fun competition encouraging comfortable places.

“Just to look at people’s rooms and see how homey and fun and welcoming they are, it just encourages me because I really care about students. And I really want them to have a really excellent, really safe and warm living situation,” said Priscilla Schubert, housing services specialist and one of the organizers. “If you really make it warm and cozy and comfortable and inviting it’s going to be a place you want to go back to at the end of a long day.”

Four categories of winning

The contestants could win in one of four categories: most creative, most hospitable, most stylish and best use of theme.

Hope North residents and sophomores business administration major Hannah Mosley and undeclared major Marenna Toyer did not decide on their room’s theme in a particular way. Having lived with other people last year, they came together this year with a random assortment of decorations that happened to coincide well. After receiving many compliments from their friends, they decided to enter the competition and won for the “most creative” category.

Alpha West resident and freshman communication sciences and disorders major Morgan Duke entered for the same reason Mosley and Toyer did: her friends kept encouraging her and her roommate because of their great decorations, and her room won “most stylish.”

Thematic fun

Differently, Horton North residents freshmen music and worship major Isaac Adams and Christian ministries major Seth Brown started their decor with their shared love of Disney and Indiana Jones. What started as Adams bringing home a burlap bag, soon turned into a jungle of vines, leaves and even a running waterfall, giving their room the title of “best use of theme.”

“It kind of just happened over time. We ended up with a couple decorations that hinted towards that and then we just kept adding stuff until we’re like, ‘Ok, this is the theme, we’re going to keep working on it,’” Adams said.

Sense of community

Senior communication studies major Jeffrey Yates has entered the competition in previous years, not expecting to win. This year, when one of his roommates suggested they enter their room, they ended up winning “most hospitable,” which fits the inviting attitude they have when friends come to their room.

“It’s fun to submit your room so you can just show it off to people and they can see your cool ideas,” Yates said. “At the same time, it’s cool to see other people’s ideas within Rate My Space.”

Students found the experience enjoyable, saying it brought opportunities for roommate bonding, creativity and community. When they win, they receive a certificate stating what category they won in. After they place the certificates on their doors, many people come to see their rooms, bringing a sense of community to dorms as Rate My Space intended.

“It’s unique and fun. Lots of people like to come see it and that just leads to like hanging out with more people, I guess,” Adams said. “So in a way, Rate My Space inspires people to make their rooms attractive to community and other people like coming in and hanging out.”

 

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