For the first time since 2013, Myers Hall has opened its doors to residential living, this time exclusively for upperclassmen women. Betsy Reiff will be serving her second year as an AU R.D. in the refurbished building, having moved from the now-closed Rice Hall to the other side of campus.
“I would love to see girls really claim this as a place that they love to live and make it their own,” said Reiff of Myers Hall, hoping to promote the Psalm 34:4-5 inspired dorm slogan “Be bold, be radiant, and be kind.”
Myers has undergone a series of updates in preparation for its re-opening, including an updated lobby with coffee shop-inspired coziness, a fresh coat of paint in the communal kitchen, additional washers and dryers, and new carpet and furniture in the suite-style rooms.
“It feels smaller, so it’s more of a home feel than a dorm,” said Reiff. “Even the lobby with the fire place and the mantle and everything, it’s just like walking into your living room. There’s just a calming presence.”
Reiff has high hopes of establishing the Myers side of AU as a more pivotal campus hangout than simply a stop on the AU frisbee golf course. “Something that’s unique about this hall is there’s not many of us, and in other dorms it’s very much like floor identity,” she said, “but we’re Myers Hall.” Reiff also highlighted the dorm’s nearness to trails that lead directly to Shadyside Park as well as the Anderson community as a whole.
“This dorm is definitely one of a kind,” said junior psychology major Kiersten Carruthers of Myers Hall. Carruthers served her first year as an R.A. in Rice, and is one of four returning R.A.’s who moved to the new dorm building with Reiff.
Reiff has not only enjoyed being reunited with the familiar faces of returning R.A.s, but also many of the freshmen girls she mentored the previous year in Rice. “What’s really neat is that I feel like I’m growing with them,” she said. “This is my second year as an R.D., so I came in with them when they were freshmen. The majority of the girls that live here are sophomores and it’s been a really neat thing to move with them.”
In terms of catering to the new demographic of upperclassmen women, Reiff intends to plan hall events around what her residents are already involved with instead of coordinating arbitrary gatherings. She wants to both support them in the areas where they are passionate, as well as encourage them to take steps toward their future. “As upperclassmen, they’re involved in so many things, and we want to join in with them in what they’re already doing,” Reiff said.
“With upperclassmen there’s this ownership where they know how this place works, they know how to do college,” Reiff said. “This is just the natural next step of adulting, and we want to empower them to do hard things.”
With only 90 girls, compared to the average of 170 in other dorm buildings, Myers is a smaller community where Reiff believes all of the women have the opportunity to feel known.
“I think we as an R.A. staff are hoping to create an environment of open doors and a place where residents feel comfortable just being themselves,” said senior business management major and Myers R.A. Kira Crites. “We get the opportunity to create the environment of Myers Hall and that is pretty great.”
“There is a peace that I have of being here,” said Reiff. “I kind of have this feeling that this place is secretly awesome but you don’t know it. I’m really excited to see how the girls build relationships with each other and create the culture here.”