By Charissa Roberson
So, you’re a first-year college student getting ready for move-in at Roanoke College. Starting out in a new place surrounded by new faces is always daunting. To ease the transition, here is a bit of insider info about Roanoke College from your friendly neighborhood alumna!
First, let’s get you up to speed on some campus traditions. Arguably the most important is the Roanoke College seal in front of the administration building. The superstition states that if you step on the seal, you won’t graduate in four years. Debate has arisen on whether this means you could potentially graduate in three years – but most students don’t want to risk finding out. After graduation, cap-and-gowned seniors take the most iconic Roanoke College photograph ever: popping a bottle of champagne on the seal.
Another tradition is the “kicking post,” located in an alley between Trout Hall and the administration building. Almost every student who passes by takes a moment to tap the inconspicuous lump of concrete with their toe, hoping for a bit of extra luck. There’s also the infamous story of the squirrel and the metal sculpture known as “Solar Wind,” and speculation about what really lies beneath “the rock” outside the Colket Center. Ask around!
Roanoke College also has a lively ghost presence, or so the legends say. Notable haunted buildings include Monterey House (the guest house), Olin Hall and Miller Hall. One professor actually takes his students ghost-hunting every year in Monterey. Ask him or his students for tales of their adventures – or sign up for the class yourself! – and make up your own mind on the issue. Just remember the rumors when you’re studying alone on the second floor of Miller…
Perhaps more terrifying than ghosts, however, is trying to park your car. Unless you live in New Hall or CBR, everyone dreads having to park “on the hill.” There are always empty spaces, but it means lugging your groceries or whatever else all the way across campus. Unfortunately, the other, more amenable parking lots fill up fast. If you abandon your parking space, the odds of it being there when you get back are zero to none. People will lurk in corners for up to 10-15 minutes, engines off, waiting for a vehicle to back out of its space and drive off (clearly I’m not speaking from personal experience). All is fair in love and war – and parking at Roanoke College.
Finally, if you ever need to enter Olin Hall, be sure to let someone know where you are going. The building is notoriously a maze. Once you enter, you can never be quite sure if you are on the second, third or first floor, or if the stairs you’re on are taking you where you want to go or down into the bowels of the theatre, or if you find an exit, which side of the massive building it will let you out on. Signal is patchy inside the tangled corridors, so don’t rely on calling for help. Thankfully, everyone has gotten lost in Olin at least once. No one will scoff at you for losing your way, and most everyone will be happy to help get you back on track.
You’ll learn all this and more as you settle in at Roanoke College. Enjoy the experience and keep adding to the lore!