Residential engagement communities offer superior housing options

Junior Katie Fox details the benefits of residing within a residential engagement community


Katie Fox, Staff Writer

In a period of uncertainty and ever-changing circumstances, matters like registering for fall courses and planning where you’ll live next year can be confusing and stressful. The university makes it easy for incoming first-year students by placing them in residence halls, but the rest of us have to determine which of our friends would be the least annoying to live with and endure the hell that is housing selection.

As a rising junior, I have only had one experience with this process (any plans I had made before Spring Break 2020 were thrown to the wind when the pandemic changed everything). I’m sure everyone has a housing story similar to mine: you finally find the perfect group to register with, and at the last minute, someone changes their mind and you’re left high and dry with no backups.

For a few weeks before housing selection this summer, I was stressed out of my mind, searching through my contacts from freshman year hoping someone would offer me a spot in their group. Just four days before rising seniors were scheduled to begin housing selection, I had resigned myself to the reality that I would have to be placed in a vacant bed by ResLife and that I would take what I could get. However, at the last minute (literally, less than 24 hours before rosters were due), I saw an Instagram story advertising for the Anthony Aston Players (AAP) Themed House. I swiped up to inquire, and just a few minutes later had negotiated a single and solved my housing problem.

Now, let it be known that I am not actually involved with the AAP organization and have little to no experience in theater. Last year, I went to see my friend perform in “The Crucible” with my parents, but we left at intermission because it was past my dad’s bedtime (sorry, Chloe). And I’m not sure my role as Mary in a live nativity counts as acting, so I felt very unqualified to call myself a member of the Theatre House. Not to mention I only vaguely knew one of my housemates from OGB, and another as a mutual on Instagram, but hadn’t seriously spoken to anyone before exchanging ice-breaker answers with them, my 12 new living companions.

Even so, fast forward to the end of this semester and I am contracted to be the Themed Program Advisor for the house next year. How did that happen? Well, my experience living in a Residential Engagement Community speaks to my firm belief that it is the best option for Wake Forest housing, combining the convenience of a university-owned building with the independence of an off-campus residence and topping the whole thing off with a close-knit community of like-minded people.

During this past year, my housemates and I have bonded during house events such as karaoke night, mural-making, filming a lip-sync music video, exchanging tips from therapy and playing Crazy8s on GamePigeon. And, despite having 12 individuals to contact trace, we have miraculously had zero COVID-19 cases since our August move-in, (and only three Q-hotel scares). Those are pretty good stats, if you ask me.

Aside from a few piercings, forgetting one birthday and a depression-bangs incident, you can promise your parents that you’ll stay safe and make good choices as a Theatre House resident. The best part is, if you hate us, you can just ignore us! There are no obligations to participate in house events, yet almost everyone does.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is an #ad. We have spaces open for three lucky people to apply to live here next year, and if you’re like me, a fam without a plan, consider a Residential Engagement Community (REC). In addition to the AAP house, there are communities focused on Social Justice, sustainability and more. These living options offer a reprieve from hall-style living and the opportunity to get involved with various campus organizations and groups of share interests.

As you consider where you’ll sleep each night next academic year, I would encourage you to look into RECs. I can genuinely say it was the best impulse decision I have made in college and I already can’t wait to move back in.