A Greek residence hall may seem out of place at a University without fraternities and sororities, but for the men of South Hall, the 2010-2011 school year promises to be one of community and tradition, not parties. At Indiana Wesleyan University, the word traces the idea of mentoring back to its Greek roots.
In Greek mythology, the character Mentor was a friend to the ancient Greek hero, Odysseus. Odysseus put Mentor in charge of his son Telemachus when Odysseus left for the Trojan War. As a result of the relationship between Mentor and Telemachus, the word “mentor” came about.
“To reemphasize the whole reason behind what we’re doing is because we’re a mentoring hall. It’s in our mission statement, it’s our core value,” said Nate Milner, the Resident Director of South Hall West-Side.
When planning for the new male mentoring hall began in summer 2009, Matt Holling (sr), South Hall west side’s mentoring coordinator, was assigned to help determine a theme for the newly build men’s residence hall. As he researched the roots of mentoring, Holling found that the word came from ancient Greece. From there, the theme grew as the South Hall staff continued planning for the opening year.
“We had some really cool ideas how we could go with an overall Greek theme with the idea of serving and developing younger individuals,” Holling said. “It ties in to what we’re all about and it’s a theme that 18 to 22 year olds can really rally around and it gave us cool ideas for events.”
The most noticeable feature of South Hall’s lobby is the wall of shield. Each shield was designed by Luke Dubert (so), resident assistant West side three east, also known as Athens. Every shield represents a different “city-state” or unit in South Hall. The units are called by different ancient city-state names to bring a sense of identity and reinforce the idea of the Greek theme.
While the men of South participate in Greek themed events such as an Olympic retreat, they are first and foremost part of a mentoring hall. This year 55 mentors live in South Hall who have planned and worked for the opportunity to mentor incoming freshmen and form a bond of brotherhood that will carry on for years to come.
“It gives a vision to the mentoring hall and the theme constantly reminds you that we’re here for a very specific reason,” said Milner.
Life in South Hall may be uncommonly Greek. However, it promotes unifying men and starting a tradition of mentor and mentee relationships that will carry on each year as new brothers occupy IWU’s very own city-states.