Thinking about Community

When I looked at Dordt as a senior in high school, my admissions counselor told me that Dordt has a great community.

When I was a Freshman and I talked to upperclassmen about why they loved Dordt, they told me it has a great community.

When I went home for the summer and told people about my first year at Dordt, I told them it has a great community.

Then one day I got to thinking about the phrase "Dordt community": what does that even mean? Can I have some examples, please? To be honest, last year I probably couldn’t have told you, simply because I didn't pay enough attention.

Recently I’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time in Covey lobby and to walk around the halls and see and hear what’s going on in the evenings, and I have a feeling it’s pretty representative of what is going on elsewhere on campus.

When I’m sitting in the lobby I get to hear lots of conversations. Classmates discuss what will be on the test tomorrow. Freshman empathize with each other on how much reading they have to do in college. Sophomores come in laughing away about anything—probably a sound someone made. Someone asks an athlete how her game went. Friends plan out what they will do this weekend, or tonight, or right now.

When I walk around the halls I see a variety of happenings: girls studying hard with their headphones on, wingmates helping to rearrange the furniture, boys coming over to study or watch movies—always during open hours, of course :)—and  roommates just enjoying each other’s company. It always makes me smile to walk past a room right when it bursts out in laughter.

What I enjoy the most—and what I think a lot of other colleges don't have—is that a lot of those people talk to me in the halls and in the lobby. People I do not know and girls who I have met several times and still don’t know their names stop and say, “Hi.” It’s pretty rare to have someone pass by without at least a smile, and many people are happy to stop their busy lives and ask me how I’m doing.

So what does it mean that Dordt has a great community? 

It doesn't mean that we have something perfect. The sad truth is that there are probably some residents who are lonely, and some who feel left out.

I think that it does mean that, generally, people are friendly and social because they feel a sense of belonging. I think it means that they want to meet new people and to talk to those they don’t know. I think Dordt community is what happens when people from different states, countries, families, and churches come and live together and love it.