“P-A-R-T-Y! Party party is on our side, where is the party at? The party’s over here!”

“R-O-C-K! You rock! You rock!”

We would chant these for literally 15 minutes at a time.

You’re probably thinking: “What’s a SAACURH?”

SAACURH stands for South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (a mouthful, I know), and they held a regional leadership conference recently, and I had the privilege to attend. I was invited by the executive board of the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to attend, and the entire trip was paid for. Talk about a deal. Free meals, a nice hotel, a leadership conference and a chance to clear my mind for a weekend.

I love Christopher Newport, but after a while, it’s nice to get off campus and see what’s going on in the rest of the world. I had never been to North Carolina State University (where the conference was held).

I loved spending my weekend there learning about leadership in the residence hall and making friends, but I was so ready to come back to Christopher Newport on Sunday. For as nice as NC State is, after only a few days, I started to feel like I was nobody. That school has about three times as many students as Christopher Newport. Their campus is huge, too big even. Their lecture halls are gigantic and overwhelming; probably 500 students could fit in there. I felt like I was in an academic city. There was no Great Lawn; just brick and concrete.

That weekend made me appreciate Christopher Newport so much. Our small classes, small campus, our green grass, our door-holding tradition (nobody held a door for me all weekend, it broke my heart), and the overall sense of community on our campus. For a second I saw the bells and whistles of NC State and thought that I may have made a mistake with Christopher Newport. But within 48 hours, I knew that was not the case. Remember that a university is more than just bells and whistles (which we still have plenty), it’s about campus culture and the commitment to our personal growth.

Like RHA’s Tie-diversity shirts say: “Home is where the columns are.”

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