The Collegian
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Dinner celebrates WC roommates

The four-year roommate dinner, Westhampton College Dean Juliette Landphair said, was a Westhampton College tradition that celebrated the longevity of roommates staying together for four years and the friendship that came out of that roommate relationship.

When Landphair first started as dean in 2002, she overheard students talking about a steak-and-wine dinner.

The former dean told Landphair about it and said they still recognized roommates, but there wasn't a dinner and it didn't involve steak or wine. Landphair said she had wanted to revive the tradition.

"I thought, that's kind of neat," Landphair said, "because the steak implies this is a more formal kind of occasion to get these women together and the wine is recognition that you all are becoming fully adults."

Sixteen pairs of senior roommates enjoyed steak and wine while playing the roommate game, similar to the dating game.

They answered questions about each other such as: "What is your roommate's favorite D-Hall food?", "What time does your roommate usually shower?" and "Where is your roommate's favorite place on campus?"

It was an important tradition to maintain, Landphair said, because it reflected a core value of Westhampton College, and the significance of female friendships that are forged in the unusual setting of college life.

"Very few, if any, of our students are going to have this kind of experience again," Landphair said. "And out of that experience college friendships emerge.

"I want [our students] to make those female friends, but also understand that the quality of that friendship is as important as just having a friend. And the quality of that friendship needs to be about support and strength, and listening and caring, and loving and being beside you."

Landphair said that when alums returned to campus, their intense friendships were visible and that was why they upheld the roommate dinner tradition.

"Women tend to be much more focused on relationships and around development of relationships and the significance of relationships in their lives," Landphair said, "whether it's with their daughter or with their mother or with their friends, it's something that's really significant to a lot of women."

Of the 410 freshman students who entered Westhampton College, 16 pairs of senior roommates responded to the four-year roommate dinner e-mail sent out by the dean's office.

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Landphair said this was a typical number, that one year there were close to 50 students and another year fewer than 20.

"It's sort of refreshing to be in a group of students that you just know have very warm, loving friendships and that they're going to stay that way hopefully the rest of their lives," Landphair said.

Contact staff writer Sarah Craig at sarah.craig@richmond.edu

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