For the students living on Marshall's campus in the 1950s, dorm life was a celebrated aspect to the college experience.
Living in the campus dormitories throughout the decade was not only glorified, but it unified students, due to the small number of residents, the lack of available luxuries at the time, and their involvement within the university.
A New Family
A small number of students per dorm (100-200) led to strong bonds being formed. With overall enrollment less than 2,000, and a fourth of those being in dormitories, a student's best bet at making friends would be with the other occupants of their dorm. One such instance is the Freshman Women's Residence Hall. Built in the middle of the decade, the building was so new that it had no furniture for the girls who would be calling it their home for the next year. The girls were subjected to sleep on mattresses set up on the floor. Yet, instead of this experience setting a negative standard for the remainder of the school year, it worked as a bonding experience for its residents.
There was no Netflix in bed waiting for the exhausted college student in the fifties as he made his trek back to his dorm; he would have to join his brothers for another episode of “Howdy Doody” in the TV Room if he wanted to relax.
Adding onto the glorification of dorm life, the residence halls were majorly involved with the lives of the students who lived there, and vice versa. Much like sororities or fraternities do, the residents of each hall would work together to put on shows and events.
The dormitories offered many opportunities to become involved and mingle, such as semi-formal dances, holiday parties, and even a newspaper called The Hodges Haul. These activities helped make the residence halls much more than just a place to live, but a place the students felt like they were a part of, and could even take pride in.