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Residential Life At Purdue

Upcoming Gingerbread Contest

What's cooking at the Athletic Dining Room?
What’s cooking at the Athletic Dining Room?

Guess what? The gingerbread contest last year was so spectacular that we’re doing it again! Your vote (via our survey or Facebook) is important to determine the most popular structure, but


So come back on Dec. 4 at 9 a.m.! We’ll have links for you to vote, and the structures will be displayed in the Purdue Memorial Union on the main floor. Until then, get the word out!

See you soon!

What You Need to Know About On- vs. Off-Campus Housing

So. You’re thinking about living off campus.

Ultimately only you can decide what works best for you and your lifestyle, but here are some pros and cons to get you thinking.

Pros of living on campus

  • Parking – Many spaces are available for your use across the residential campus.
  • Proximity – Since you’re close enough to walk or bike to classes, you don’t have to worry about finding street parking just to make it to class on time.
  • Meals – The dining courts are buffet style, which means you can always get enough to eat. Every day.
  • Homework help – Not that you can’t get homework help when you live off campus, but the chances of finding someone to help when you’re on campus are greater. And a quick trip to your TA’s office isn’t out of the question.
  • Recreation – Admittedly, most apartment complexes have at least a big screen TV or pool table in their clubhouses. But not all, so I’m leaving it on the pros list.
  • One bill – Instead of having to keep track of monthly rent, utilities and internet/cable, you just have the one housing bill every year.
  • Less cleaning – Your bathrooms are cleaned regularly. Nice not to have to worry about that, isn’t it? And no dishes!
  • Social life – It’s easier to make friends when you see people daily in close quarters. Feeling social? Leave your door open and see what happens. It’s that easy.
  • Leadership opportunities – You’ll have plenty of chances to get involved with your hall club.
  • Convenience – Everything you need is right here. If it costs more to live in the residence halls, it’s because you’re paying for time saved.

Cons of living on campus/Pros of living off campus

  • Rules of the hall – Any community must have expectations for the greater good of all.
  • Sharing space – Be it your room or bathroom, it’s always tough to share. (But you could always live in First Street Towers!)

Cons of living off campus

  • Calendar year contracts – You’ll be responsible for the apartment even when school is not in session.
  • Roommate conflicts – I hope you remembered to figure out who’s buying toilet paper and milk ahead of time. You’ll have to navigate problems without the help of your RA.
  • Unfurnished apartments – You might have to buy more furniture. And then move it out later.
  • More bills – As seen above, you’ll be paying for utilities and internet/cable in addition to your lease.
  • Commute – Will you take the bus? That’s fine, but you have to make sure you’re on time for their schedule. Will you drive? Good luck with parking.
  • Food – Groceries can cost a lot, and ramen or peanut butter and jelly gets really old really fast. And when would you make larger meals? It takes time.
  • You clean – I lucked out with a roommate who cleaned when she was stressed (often), but I hear that’s not usually the case.

In summary, living off campus might cost less in the long run, but what about food? And convenience? It seems to me like you’re paying for health (eating enough, eating good food) and time.

Consider these facts as well.

What haven’t I listed? What are your reasons for living on or off campus?

How to Find Your Passion

It can be hard to wake up for classes every day and study for exams if you aren’t sure they’re leading you to where you want to be. And believe me, I know it’s terrifying to worry about whether or not you’re in the right major, thinking things like, “Will I be able to get a job in my field? What if I end up hating it? What if I’m overlooking the job I’m meant for? How can I succeed if I’m not even learning the right stuff? I’m going to fail at life. Where’s a corner? I’ll just curl up and give up now.”

Stop that. You’re going to be fine. You’re already fine!

I have some suggestions to help you find your passion/niche/métier. Leo Babauta wrote a brilliant, in-depth guide on the topic and if you have time (he suggests taking at least half an hour for some of the steps) you should definitely follow it. You could also head over to the Center for Career Opportunities (Young Hall, room 132) and take a personality assessment to see whether your character seems to match your major.

But to get you started, here are some probing questions to ask yourself:

-What are you good at?
-What do you read about? Where does your mind wander?
-What has been your favorite project to work on for school? Any group projects?
-Think of yourself five years ago. What skills have you developed since then? In what areas are you more confident and competent?
-Think of the last time somebody told you you’re good at something. What was it?
-Do you keep a journal? If you do, look through it for inspiration.
-What was your favorite toy as a kid? Why? What did you love to do in your free time? Do you still love it?
-What are your current obsessions? What can’t you get enough of?
-What inspires you?
-What makes you feel like yourself?

Additional awesome points if your passion includes elements of danger.
Additional awesome points if your passion includes elements of danger.

Of course, the best way to find what you love is to try as many things as you can. College is probably the best time for this, with such various organizations and students on campus; clubs are holding callouts right and left. Although it’s perfectly understandable to attend as many as you can (free pizza! Woo hoo!), try stickling with one or two for longer than the callout.

You could explore a new area every week without exhausting the possibilities, but you should spend adequate time in each area. Talk to experts in different fields; learn as much as you can about why they love their work and what it entails. When you’re ready, try things for yourself. You may not like everything you try, or be very good at it, but as J.K. Rowling said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”

So get out there and start discovering your passion! Who knows what you’ll find?

What You Need to Know About Having a Roommate

getting along with roommates

This weekend you’ll be receiving your housing assignment (if you haven’t already!), which means you’ll know who your roommate will be for the 2013-2014 school year.

Okay cool. Now what?

When the semester starts, you and your new roommate will discuss and sign a roommate agreement form given to you by your RA. You might want to think about your preferences in advance, so here are the topics:

Is it okay to have music on? What time will you go to bed and wake up during the week? What about on weekends? How many times is acceptable to hit the snooze button?

Is it okay to have the TV on? When will you be studying? Do you prefer absolute silence? Is it okay to have group study sessions in the room?

Shared vs. Private Belongings
Who can use your TV, DVDs, refrigerator, microwave, printer, gaming systems, etc.? Will you share these things with guests?

Condition of the Room
What does “clean” mean to you? Who cleans or vacuums? When? What’s a comfortable room temperature for you? Do you prefer having the windows open or closed?

Is it okay to have guests over while your roommate is studying? Is it okay to have overnight guests during the week, or only on weekends?

In order to have a good living situation from the start, make sure you start fresh. Try not to approach your roommate with any preconceived ideas about seniority or entitlement; you’re both in this together. Besides, your roommate is probably just as concerned about having a roommate as you are, so do your best to be open-minded and friendly.

In the end, it all comes down to communication. Talk to your roommate (not to your friends or other people on your floor) if you have a problem with his/her conduct. And if your roommate approaches you with a problem, try not to get too defensive until you see things from his/her perspective.

A word of advice to those of you who are rooming with someone you’re already friends with: If you’d like to stay friends, communication on these points is equally as important as if you were strangers!

Do you have any suggestions for a happy roommationship?

Things to Do: Summer Edition


Hooray! It’s finally warm enough that we want to be outside! If you live and work around campus this summer, be aware that there are still plenty of things to do. And now (I hope) you have time to do them!

Fountain run
You know those times when temperatures reach 80+ and there’s not a cloud in the sky? How you just feel like throwing on a swimsuit and playing in the nearest public water feature? Well luckily for you, it’s socially acceptable to do that at Purdue. Three of the fountains on campus are suitable for a fountain run:

  • Loeb Fountain in Founder’s Park (between Beering and Stone halls)
  • Memorial Fountain (by John Purdue’s grave on Memorial Mall)
  • Class of 1939 Water Sculpture (Engineering Fountain, in front of Hovde)

Lafayette Citizens Band
What could say ‘summertime’ more than a big brass band serenading you on a warm evening downtown? The Lafayette Citizens Band performs in Riehle Plaza every week or two Memorial Day through Labor Day. (

Farmers market
Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
From early May through late October, the air in downtown Lafayette is filled with the smell of fresh garden flowers, baked goods, vegetables and fruits. Regardless of the day or time, a visit to the Lafayette Farmers Market promises some of the finest and freshest produce, as well as an enjoyable opportunity to browse as you stroll through one of Indiana’s oldest outdoor markets! (from

Round the Fountain Art Fair
May 25, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
This annual art fair offers a festive atmosphere around the courthouse. Over 90 juried artists will show their work for perusal or purchase. Proceeds from the fair support fine arts education in the five area public schools, after-hours arts programs, courthouse restoration projects, the restoration of the Marquis de Lafayette Fountain, outside lighting and seating, landscaping, and public art projects and installation. (from

Mosey Down Main Street
June 8, July 13, August 10 and 31, 6 p.m.
This free, family-friendly event is brought to you by the local artistic community and takes place right down the center of Main Street. With three stages of music, outdoor food, beer, and wine sales as well as street performers, sidewalk chalk and handmade hula hoops, drum circles and DJ’s, belly dancers, and balloon animals. (from

Taste of Tippecanoe
June 15, 4 p.m.-12 a.m.
The Taste of Tippecanoe is the major fund raising event for the Tippecanoe Arts Federation. Over 100 area arts organizations benefit from funds raised from this event. Good eats, good music and great fun will be waiting for you at the 2013 Taste of Tippecanoe, so you won’t want to miss it! (from

Wabash Riverfest
July 13
The Wabash Riverfest is a free, family-friendly celebration of one of the region’s greatest natural resources! Music will be provided by SAMI and the Dulcimer Gathering. Available kids’ activities include pony rides and a bounce house. Canoe races will be held hourly on the half hour throughout the day, and there will be an officially timed 5K race. (from

Dancing in the Streets festival
July 20
Year after year, thousands of people return for the best festival around! Three stages of continuous live music, great food and beer/wine and a classic car and motorcycle cruise. (from

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer!

Earth Week Activities

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spring has finally arrived this month! Plants around campus have been blooming and everything is greening like crazy. It’s time to show our appreciation for the beauty of nature by participating in this year’s Earth Week!


Earth Day Carnival
Centennial Mall (between Wetherill/ENAD and the Bell Tower/Stanley Coulter), 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

  • Food Vendors
  • Carnival Games
  • Sustainability Information
  • Unicycle and Juggling Team
  • Evonik Wind Explorer
  • Grateful Heart Gallery – Creating Recycled Art
  • Rides from the Boilermaker Special
  • Jeopardy (sign up here)

Sustainability + Security: A Symposium
Hosted by the Honors College, panel features Col. Mykleby
STEW 318, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

Keynote Lecture: Col. Mark Mykleby – Sustainability: Our National Strategic Initiative
FRNY G140, 5:30 p.m.


Earth Day Hike with Prof. Dunning
Bell Tower, 8:30 a.m.


Volunteer Tree Planting
9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

Tree Campus USA Ceremony
11:00 a.m.

Sign up here to plant trees.

What Incoming Purdue Students Should Know


Purdue is amazing. You’re coming here, so you know what I’m talking about. Even though navigating your undergrad can be rough, Purdue is full of wonderful surprises and experiences if you just know where to look. Here’s a list of the things I wish someone had told me when I started:

  •  Take advantage of events on campus. There’s always something going on here, usually free or at a discount for students. Check out @PSUBEVENTS or @ResLifeAtPurdue on Twitter for the latest info on free movies, concerts, improv shows, food drives, guest lectures and more.
  •  Libraries have the best places to study. You’ve probably seen the great study areas in HSSE and Hicks, but have you been to the stacks in HSSE? I’ve always found it to be much quieter there and more conducive to holing up for hours on end. The basement in the Siegesmund engineering library is similarly silent. So go ahead. Check out this map and get your nerd on.
  •  Find an internship, part-time job or volunteer work in your interest area. I didn’t do any internships until my senior year, and starting earlier than that is consequently something I would recommend for anyone. Internships gave me a better feel for what my area of study was all about and even helped in a few of my classes. View the page at the Center for Career Opportunities here and the employment page here to start your search. Don’t have a specific area in mind? The CCO can help you with that, too! This site relates your personality and interests to the various majors at Purdue. Still not satisfied? Stop by the CCO in Stewart Center to speak to a counselor, who can assist you with anything from beginning the exploration process to arranging a personality test for more concrete results.
  •  Join a club, attend a guest lecture or take a class that’s completely outside your comfort zone. I went through three majors and had what I considered a very balanced dose of Purdue (friends in many different programs, locations, and clubs), but I’m still exploring the many sides of Purdue. There’s always more to learn! Check out PurdueBoard and GetInvolved for info on upcoming callouts and events, or check the bulletin boards on your way to class.

If you have any questions about starting at Purdue, feel free to comment below. I’m sure you have a ton of information coming at you right now, so if I can help you at all, let me know!

Upperclassmen: What are some things on campus you wish you’d known about sooner? What are the best places you’ve found to study/nap/snack?