Perez elected leader of new residence hall
For Felicia Perez, the new residence hall is more than an unfinished building — it is a meeting place for new traditions, close-knit communities and the fulfillment of a six-year administrative dream. A freshman, Perez is set to be the first Hall Council president for Arnett Hall, the new five-story residence hall that sits across from Demaray.
“It could easily become anything, but I see it as something we haven’t ever really had before,” Perez said. “I want it to be a gathering place where students from all the residence halls can feel comfortable.”
Formerly known as the New Residence Hall, the hall is named after the Arnett family. The family has had more than 40 members graduate from Seattle Pacific since the 1940s. Alumna Becky Arnett Gilliam, currently a board member on the Board of Trustees, recently donated $2,5000,000 to the ongoing Alexander Hall restorations.
The hall’s name was announced by a tweet from President Daniel J. Martin on May 15.
For Perez, the Arnett name reflects her vision for a unified hall that will build community and tradition within the student body for years to come.
“I wanted to challenge myself and try something new,” Perez said. “I had this vision to promote community and bring fresh perspective… I knew [Arnett Hall] needed a strong leader to see this through.”
A current resident on Fourth Hill, Perez said that she originally planned on running for Hill Hall council. After hearing about a need for Arnett Hall council members from Residence Life, Perez said that she was motivated to make the move. Perez also said that Residence Life is going to combine Arnett and Emerson Hall Councils to share a senator, treasurer and secretary. Under this model, the vice president position will be eliminated. There will be two co-presidents, intercultural coordinators and publicists.
“We’re going to be working together to provide community for both halls and to create events that bring people together,” Perez said.
According to Perez, the new councils have already begun meeting and planning for what they want next year to look like. Most recently, Perez said that they met to finish plans for the annual Emerson Coffee House next week, their first jointly planned event. Perez said that her biggest concern for Arnett is that students won’t be accepting of it because it is different from what they have experienced in the other halls.
“We definitely want to keep some of our ideas [for Arnett] a surprise,” Perez said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to plan too much… We want our residents to be a part of the process.”
The hall is set to house 150 students. Next to Moyer Hall, which houses 127 students, Arnett will be SPU’s second smallest Residence Hall. As of Tuesday morning, around 35 rooms are reserved for incoming students and 40 for returning students. The second, fourth and fifth floors are women’s floors. The third floor is the only men’s floor. Freshman Mikaela Hines and Nicole Janes, future residents on Arnett’s fifth floor, hope that the hall’s unique features will draw students in, making it a place to hang out and be with friends.
“I think all students will want to come in and look at it once it opens,” Hines said. “It’s a brand new experience… It’s exciting to know you’re the first person to live in those rooms.”
Arnett will include suite–style rooms, an exercise room, a rooftop deck, and an underground parking lot for cars and bicycles. Janes said that though she hopes Arnett will start it’s own events, she also thinks that the hall should stick to other university traditions such as Hall Ball, Emerson’s Film Festival and Hill’s Decade Skate.
“I know everyone just thinks it’s going to be like Emerson, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Janes said. “We could create a different environment.”