Lee/Beau Love

Many students arrive at Wash U with a few acquaintances in tow. Maybe you went to high school in St. Louis, or met a few interesting people at SOAR (Summer Orientation Advising Registration). Even if you haven’t found your new best friend for life, it can be comforting to move in with a few familiar faces. On the flip side, it can be intimidating to arrive in St. Louis without knowing a single person here.

I was the first person from my high school to attend Wash U, did not make it out to a SOAR session, andĀ fell solidly into the “intimidated” category on move in day. Not just intimidated, but overwhelmed. I felt lost in a sea of stranger’s faces, their boxes, and their mini fridges. Oddly,what struck me almost immediately is how few of the strangers were carrying their own possessions. Instead, a cohort of smiling studentsĀ in red shirts were taking care of the heavy lifting, in addition to checking everyone in and breaking out into impromptu cheers and songs. These students were all WUSAs, and were essentially doing everything they could to put intimidated students like myself at ease. With their help, move in was a breeze, and soon it was time to attend the first floor meeting.

Which, to my surprise, was not the tedious affair I imagined it would be. RAs and WUSAs have one primary goal the first week on campus, and that is to make this transition to Wash U as fun, painless, and comforting as possible. Floor meetings were not an opportunity for them to start a lecture on the rules and regulations of residential life, but a chance to start creating a floor community. All forty-six students on my floor, Beau 3, started to buy into the atmosphere of togetherness. Whether it was becoming exasperated by endless icebreakers, having fun at the all the events planned for us, or walking back to our rooms exhausted each night, the entire floor was becoming exasperated, having fun, and feeling exhausted together.

By the end of the first week of classes, I felt as if I had a strong support system to fall back on. And my particular floor was just one small piece of the entire residential college community. Beau 3 is a part of the Lee/Beau Residential College, with its own unique cheers, programs and people. There was Lee/Beau Coco every Wednesday, where everyone could meet in Beau lobby and enjoy some free hot chocolate. There was our annual BBQ, and everyone one in a while our RCD Laura would open up her personal living space to host a root beer float party. A particular highlight each year is Lee/Beau Loveweek, which includes free food, games, and a comprehensive approach to positive sex education.

Lee/Beau became my home in every sense of the word, not just for my first year on campus but to this day. My sophomore year I returned as a WUSA for Lee 0/1, and Beau 3’s original intramural soccer team is a powerhouse to this day.