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7 Ways a Res Hall is Totally Unlike Your Parents' House

Living in a college residence hall is quite different than living in your parent’s house and, of course, you knew that already. However, there are some aspects that you won’t fully comprehend until you move in. And as someone who lived through it, I can tell you that this is really what res life is like compared to your family home.

1. At your parent’s house, you probably had your own room

a woman snuggles into a big bed

but in the res hall you will have roommates–enough said!


2. In a house, you have a bedroom for sleeping, a kitchen for eating, a living room for hanging out with friends etc…


while in a res hall room you have one room for all of the above activities


3. Back home, your neighbors live on the other side of a picket fence

Hidey-ho Neighbor!

but your neighbors live on the other side of the wall in a res hall


4. Before you moved to college, your parents would yell at you for playing music too loudly

but now you’ll be the one asking people to turn their speakers down


5. At your parents’ house, the bathroom is a place of privacy

Bathroom Privacy

while in a res hall a bathroom is, well, just a bathroom



6. Back home, the person to washing machine ratio is about 4:1 with the bonus of Mom’s complimentary laundry service

Mom's Laundry Service

At college, the person to washing machine ratio is more like 20:1

Occupy all the Washers

7. If you are hungry at your parents’ house, you just have to walk over to the fridge


But at college if you want a meal you have to walk across campus to the dining hall

Feeling Peckish

When you break it down, a residence hall is a crowded, noisy crash pad with small bedrooms and not-so-private bathrooms that requires effort and planning to find food. But, it is also the place where you will make many of your friends, get creative with interior design, stay up too late cramming for exams, while away Saturday afternoons with movie-marathons and taste a little independence. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime experience of communal living that will be totally different from living with your parents, yet in the end, your residence hall will become your home sweet home.

–Liz Meinders


To Donate, Re-purpose or Toss When Moving Out

a person carrying several boxes, dropping one

Don’t want to deal with a ton of boxes? Donate unwanted items!

Can’t figure out what to do with all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the year as move-out day approaches? Resist the temptation to toss everything in the garbage and instead look at donating or re-purposing items such as:

  • Clothing
    If you know that some of your clothing is “going out of style” and don’t want to keep it, DO NOT SIMPLY THROW IT AWAY! Donate items to a local thrift store such as Salvation Army or Winona Volunteer Services. If you don’t want to drop off items at a thrift store yourself, WSU supplies some bins at the end of the year during move out week to collect unwanted items and will help reuse them in any way. You could also put a listing on Wazoo’s List, WSU’s private Facebook group dedicated to getting usable items into the hands of people who want them and out of landfills. Finally, another thing to do with unwanted or unwearable clothes is to upcycle them in some way, such as changing a t-shirt that is too large into a scarf or a bag (there are plenty of ideas on Pinterest for this!).
  • Movies
    Have some DVDs that you are kind of sick of watching? The front desk of your residence hall will GLADLY accept any donations for movies to add to the shelves for future check out. Is it scratched up and doesn’t work? Use it to make an awesome coaster for drippy drinks!
  • Bedding
    Blankets, comforters and pillows that are still in good condition can be donated to people in need or sold to consignment shops. Bedding that is too worn to donate can be ripped up into strips to make braided headbands, smaller pillow covers or other cool Pinterest creation.
  • Textbooks
    With how much textbooks cost, this tip seems like a no-brainer but I’ll say it anyway: Do NOT throw those books away if you do not want them! Textbooks are easily sold to other students planning to take the same class so you can make at little money back on your purchase. If you don’t personally know someone who needs the same textbooks, Wazoo’s List and the Free and For Sale Facebook pages are good places to find people looking for used textbooks. This is especially great for those loose-leaf texts that will not get much money back from stores like WSU bookstore, Warrior Textbooks (located on Huff Street) or a number of online retailers such as Amazon, Chegg or eCampus that will also give you money for used textbooks.
  • Room Accessories
    Whether you live in a res hall or an off-campus apartment,  room accessories are easily repurposed each year. Storage bins are always useful and can even be inexpensively re-painted for a fresh look (the same goes for picture frames), flower vases can be used as a pot for plants and glass jars or containers can be of great use for spare change or small item storage. Rugs can be washed up and used again, and curtains can be remade into any cloth item or reused.

My personal advice is to ask any of your friends or co-residents if they would like to take it off your hands or would be up for a trade. You never know if you don’t try this! My roommates and I got many useful things from our friends and people in the res hall last year, such as cushioned chair that just needed some new cloth and a shelf that needed some minor repairs.

If you are packing up and discover some items that are beyond trade or reuse, WSU provides extra dumpsters outside the res halls to help you clear out your room. Bins full of pizza boxes or shattered items are probably not going to be a desirable item to trade, sell or reuse, so go ahead and toss it.

I hope this helps you figure out what to donate, re-purpose and toss when moving out next week!

–Brianna Bosshart

Sticking Around? Stay in Summer Housing

New Hall at Night

New Center could be your home sweet home this summer!

Summer is just around the corner as finals are closing in. Many students will be moving out of the dorms and back to their homes, but for those of you who want to stick around, there is another option— summer housing. Your summer housing will be in New Center (or East Lake, if you are a current East Lake resident) and cost just $12 per day. This is perfect if you need to stay for just a few weeks while you take a summer class or the entire summer break.

Because people are always coming and going, summer housing can be a little awkward. When I, Liz, stayed in New Center for a summer, I shared a four bedroom suite with three girls I had never met before. Also, the Jack Kane Dining center is unfortunately closed during the summer so you have to buy all of your own food. However, there is a bright side: you will have a chance to make new friends and you can develop your home-cooking skills.

There will be 20 resident assistants working in the buildings from May to early August, and the same rules apply in the dorms as they normally would during the school year (e.g. no candles, no toasters, no duct tape etc.). Sign-ups have already started so if you are interested, visit the Housing and Residence Life website for more information and signups. We would love to have you experience summer in Winona with us.

–Megan Malina and Liz Meinders

The End (of the Year Party) is Near

a girl with her face covered in whipped cream

Angela Wahl (an former RA in Sheehan) getting pied in the face by her residents!

Winona State University residents, here’s a heads up for you!

The Main Campus End of the Year Party on April 28th will be a night to remember as the week of finals approaches and you have to depart ways with some of the best people you have met this year. Make it a moment full of bonding, fun, prizes and memories that you will never forget!

This year’s party will be held in the Sheehan Parking Lot and all Main Campus residents are invited. The theme is Beach Bash so break out your flip flops, sunglasses and beachwear. Some things to look forward to are:

  • Henna tattoos
  • A cakewalk
  • Mashed potato castle building contest
  • Raffles
  • The opportunity to pie your RA in the face
  • Music
  • Food prizes
  • Dinner (though you will need to use a swipe on your ID card)

Last year’s end of the year party was a great excuse for me and my friends to push aside the last minute cramming study sessions for a bit. On top of the break from finals stress, we got to throw a whipped-cream pies in the faces of our resident assistants, earned some free food from completing the fun games and enjoyed a nice picnic dinner together outside.

So mark this event on your calendars, set aside those books and enjoy a night together with all your Winona Warrior friends!

–Brianna Bosshart

Life in Prentiss-Lucas


Living in Prentiss-Lucas is great because it is close to Kryzsko Commons, the place to go for food and study lounges, and the academic buildings, so if you ever wake up with only five minutes before class you can still make it on time. However, one of the challenges Living in Prentiss-Lucas is a challenge when organizing the room layout with one side of the room is the sink, closets, and desks that cannot be moved. This makes it difficult to figure out the way you want to arrange your furniture and store your stuff. My roommate and I lofted our beds and the T.V. and futon are on her end of the room whereas the mini fridge and microwave are on my end. It is a challenge to get situated in the beginning, but I am used to layout now.

On every floor there is a lounge, kitchen and two bathrooms with showers. The kitchens in Lucas have a stove, sink and a microwave. The lounges are great places to do homework at night when your roommate is trying to sleep. The lounges are also used as meeting spaces for people that want a bigger area to talk or watch T.V. with their friends. There are two main lobbies in Prentiss-Lucas, one on the main floor and one in the basement. The basement is used mostly by people who watch movies after they make meals in the adjacent kitchen. Also in the basement there is the laundry room, small study rooms and a game room with a pool table and a ping pong table. The study rooms come in handy when working on group projects if the library’s study rooms are full. There is also a math tutoring center in the basement of Prentiss-Lucas. You can make and appointment or stop by, which is really convenient if you are working on homework in your room and do not understand it.

Prentiss-Lucas, like many other res halls, have different events sponsored by the RAs and anyone can go to them. One of the activities that my RA held was a spa night where we painted our nails and did each others’ makeup. It was a great way to meet new people, whether they were on my floor or friends of people on my floor. There is always great food at these activities and some of the events focus on making food. For example, guys on the fourth floor of Prentiss decorated cupcakes and girls on the fourth floor of Lucas made s’mores one night.

Back when I was trying to narrow down my choice of where to live for my freshman year, I chose Prentiss-Lucas for two reasons. One, there was a sink in each room so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom just to brush my teeth (you wouldn’t think this is such a deal-breaker but believe me, this is such convenience!). And the other reason was because it is the most central resident hall in relation to all of the other building around campus. It is great not to have to catch a bus and worry about getting to class on time. I am glad that I chose to live in Prentiss-Lucas because of all the memories I’ve made here and people I’ve met.

–Ashley Stoffel

Life in Maria Hall

Banners for Eridanus and Octans Houses

Maria Hall is home to Eridanus and Octans Houses in the West Campus Residential Communities.

Looking for the perfect place to live your freshman year? Well, look no further! Maria Hall is the perfect place to stay! Here, we have the most spacious dorms available to freshman. Double rooms are furnished with two desks, two chairs, two nightstands, two closets and additional drawer and cupboard space. Also, my personal favorite feature, our rooms have a sink and medicine cabinets. This may seem like no big deal, but once you hear about your other friends that have to walk down to the hall just to brush their teeth, you’ll be thankful to have this in your room. But the bathrooms are also just a short walk down the hall where there are plenty of clean shower stalls.

Also, Maria Hall is located on West campus. I absolutely love living on West campus because it is like going home after classes and I can get away from school for awhile. We also have our own swimming pool, gym and cafeteria on West campus in the Lourdes building. I especially love the cafeteria here because it is hardly ever as busy and crowded as the Main campus cafeteria. In addition, there is an underground tunnel that goes from Maria to Lourdes which is a godsend during the winter months.

Maria Hall also has plenty of space for hang outs! There is a community lounge that has plenty of tables for homework and couches to relax and watch a movie or show on the flat screen TV. In addition, there are lounges located on every floor that have a full size kitchen, and more couches, chairs and a TV for another hang out space. There are also two large lounges in the basement which are equipped with pool tables, ping pong tables and Foosball tables. There is more desk space for homework in these lounges too. And, for the musically inclined, Maria Hall has an upright piano in the basement.

The RAs in Maria Hall are always putting on fun social events for the residents here such as floor movie nights, cookie- decorating and much more. Mugshots Coffeeshop in Lourdes also put on weekly events, including karaoke. In the end, I believe that Maria Hall is the best place to live your freshman year. I think you’ll agree!

–Caroline Libsock

More About Megan

Megan and friends on a hike in Winona.

Megan and friends enjoy a hike in Winona.

If you don’t know who I am already, my name is Megan Malina and I am a new blogger for Winona State University. I am a current freshman this year and have declared Nursing as my major of choice. I live in Lakeville Minnesota which is about a 2 hour drive north of here so it’s perfect distance away to go home and have a relaxing weekend or stay put in the dorms. I live on West Campus in Lourdes Hall and I couldn’t be happier with my dorm hall choice.
Getting outside and really participating in nature is a passion of mine. I enjoy taking a run or a bike around the lakes or up in the bluffs. Got anything adventurous? Sign me up because I really enjoy trying new things. For example, this past summer my mom and I went to North Carolina and I suggested we try paddle boarding. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when you are in the water standing on a board (that resembles a surfboard) and you have a paddle (like you would in a canoe or kayak) and you paddle along at your own leisure. Now seeing people trying this on the ocean, seemed a little scary and difficult but it was so much fun! We have paddle boarding here in Winona too so I might just have to make my way over and try it out again sometime.
Aside from my passion for the outdoors, I also very much enjoy the arts. I have played the piano for 12 years and I am currently in the concert choir here on campus. In addition to that, I am in a choir at my church as well along with the contemporary band. If I didn’t have music in my life, I honestly don’t know what I would do. If you ever see me around, I can almost guarantee that I’m either singing or humming aloud and if not, well it’s inside my head.
There are so many ways to pursue all of your passions and hobbies here on campus and so many new and exciting things to try. I would highly recommend branching out and experiencing all that Winona State has to offer because you never know what other passions you might find.

Life in Sheehan Hall

Sheehan Hall

Sheehan Hall is one of the tallest buildings in Winona

Towering above the rest of campus with a whole 13 floors is Sheehan Hall, and although it looks intimidating, it’s been a great place for me to begin my journey at Winona State. First off, the setup of the floors are perfect for meeting people; there are wide hallways with space to talk to people without getting in the way of others and the setup makes it super easy to communicate with people from the floors above and below you. Also the RAs here are awesome and promote tons of great events like movie nights, floor dinners, crafts, and fitness events that are open to the whole hall to attend, and I have met some of my best friends through attending these. I’ve really enjoyed branching out and meeting so many new people at college and living in a Residence Hall has definitely helped with this!

Two girls sit on a stairway landing

The open stairways make it easy to find friends and meet new people.

Some other nice features of Sheehan is that it has two nice lounges on first floor with comfy furniture and TV’s for hanging out with friends and for studying, and we also are one of the only Res Halls with a piano. In addition, we have AC in one lounge which is a nice relief during the first few weeks of classes when it’s blazing outside! Our rooms are pretty standard when it comes to size, but my roommate and I both lofted our beds so we’ve got plenty of room to hang out and have dance parties J Our closets are nice sized with lots of drawers and shelves, which is very helpful if you have a lot of clothes like me! We’ve got kitchens on every floor as well as smaller lounges with furniture, perfect for Skyping or talking on the phone without disturbing your roommate. Finally, Sheehan Hall is the center of security services on campus, so it’s nice knowing we’re one of the safest buildings on campus!

A dorm room with two lofted beds

This is the room I share with one other girl.

Sheehan Hall is just one of the many great places to live on campus, but if you’re looking for a welcoming community that will help you build great relationships and friendships, make sure to check it out. :)

–Theresa Lashinski

Tired of School? Change Your Mood and Your Room in 6 Steps

a bed next to a blank wall

Now here is room in serious need of a makeover!

It’s about that time of year for us all. The anticipation for the warmth and visible grass is constantly on your mind, you’re sick and tired of winter (especially those puddles of slush everywhere!) and midterms are here so you’ve run out of coffee money.

Well, I have six simple steps that you can take to add some positive light into your life.
  1. Add some decoration such as pictures, posters, postcards or a calendar to those walls. After adding in some extra pop to those bland white walls, my room instantly felt more like home!
  2. Move your desk to a different spot, perhaps against the opposite wall or closer to the bed. I moved my desk near my window so now while studying for exams, I can look at the birdies and blooming trees with the window wide open.
  3. Have a single bed? Raise it up a bit, lower it, or loft it! I used to have a pretty high bed so that I was able to store more items away, but once I lowered it I no longer had to manage a way to crawl in at 2 am, or hop down without making noise that would wake my roommate up. AND I was still able to store all those items with the advantage of keeping them hidden with a lowered bed!
  4. Speaking of roommates, discuss bunking your beds for some extra space! That extra side of the room being unoccupied could be used for a TV/Netflix area, a wall-space for the desks or just that feeling of a larger room!
  5. Organize your desk, bed, dozens of shoes, or piles of clothes to create a crisper feel! Keeping that room organized will make it much easier to locate items, and if you are kind of like me, you will have a much better feeling of getting your to-do list done!
  6. Change up the lighting with some lamps or put up a curtain for the window. Using one floor lamp rather than the overhead light creates one of the most relaxing atmospheres I could ever imagine having in my dorm room, especially when I just need to read a book or study!
A bed and a desk next to a decorated wall

With just a few additions to the walls and some rearranging of furniture, my room feels so much brighter.

The Suite Life in Kirkland

I am a sophomore living in a four bedroom suite in Kirkland Hall.  I have three other roommates including myself. I have made so many memories with these girls that I will never forget. They are my good friends and we have shared a lot of laughs and have had many movie nights. No matter how busy your life gets, make sure you spend time with your roommates.

Since I live in a four bedroom suite, I get my own room. There are also suites with only two bedrooms where you have to share. In my room there is a bed, a desk, a desk chair, a closet and a dresser.  In the closet, there are two white shelves. The dresser is also pretty large and has three large drawers. The desk is nice and has two drawers in it. One of my favorite things about this room is the thick black curtain. The black curtain blocks out a lot of light so you can sleep well in darkness and take a nap at any point in the day. I take naps a lot, and trust me these curtains are really useful!

Besides my bedroom, there is a small common area in our suite. In our common area there is a bean bag, a chair and a small table for our microwave. We also have two sinks with a lot of drawers which provides plenty of space for the four of us to store our stuff.  I like this a lot because when divided between all of our roommates, I have two drawers for all of my beauty supplies. In addition, we have our own shower. I love having my own shower because I can just take a shower without bringing a little shower bag every time. I recommend putting a shelving unit  in your shower room, because then you can put all of your shower stuff on the shelf so it’s there each time you take a shower.

Living in Kirkland also involves more cleaning because it isn’t just a dorm room anymore. You have a common area to vacuum, a toilet, sink and shower room to keep clean. Your RA will check to see if your bathroom or shower room is clean. If it isn’t, then your RA will make you clean it and check your room again. This isn’t as bad as you would think because you do have other roommates who will help out. In my room, our roommates have divided who cleans what on what week. But is always important to clean up after yourself.

There are a couple of differences between Kirkland versus other dorms. For one thing, Kirkland has air conditioning. When you move in, you move in August. The weather is going to get very hot. In Kirkland, there is air conditioning. In the summer and even in September, that air conditioning will be useful. Another difference is the kitchen. The kitchen in Kirkland is very nice! It’s even nicer than the kitchen at my house but I don’t really use this kitchen because it is shared between everyone on your floor, someone else is often using the oven or the toaster.

One last thing that’s important to know about living in Kirkland is the expense. It’s more expensive to live in Kirkland than any of the other dorms but it has more features like private bathrooms and air conditioning. Plus, Kirkland Hall is right across the street from Kryzsko Commons and Minne Hall so it has the benefit of being close to the cafeteria and classes.

Overall, I have enjoyed living in Kirkland and I loved being with my roommates. I would definitely recommend considering Kirkland for on campus living at Winona State University.

–Mariah Kearcher