The Homeless Outreach Pursuing Education (HOPE) Hall is known around campus for its service to the San Antonio community and its location in Murchison Hall right next to cardiac hill, but it is not as well known for some slight housing related confusion.
Last year, HOPE Hall extended onto one floor of Calvert Hall. A current Murchison HOPE Hall resident, Madeline Grimes, a sophomore English major, was one of the affected students last year.
“We’d go to all of the meetings and do the volunteering,” Grimes said. “This year I definitely feel more connected to the people in the hall than I did last year. I know everybody a lot better since they are my hall mates.”
Like in prior years, some first years got placed in HOPE Hall without fully understanding what they were signing up for or knowing that they would even get in at all. For Cameron Carlin, a first-year communication major, it came as a happy surprise.
“I’m from a household of two teachers, so I’ve always volunteered,” Carlin said. “I’m on the leadership team. If I was never placed in it, I would’ve never been able to volunteer like this so it’s been a really great experience.”
Although he hadn’t signed up for HOPE Hall, Carlin is enjoying the dormitory.
“My favorite thing about HOPE Hall is everything, the people are awesome. I started volunteering once a week at a children’s shelter, but I liked it so much that now I go three times a week. Playing with the kids and being a mentor for them is super,” Carlin said.
Tahlar Rowe, a junior political science and science double major, is the hall manager of HOPE Hall and had a similar experience to Carlin her first year.
“When I was a first year I literally just clicked a button not knowing really what is was and because I thought I had to. But once I got to the hall and I understood the mission and the requirements, I thought ,”˜Oh, this is fine!’ And I think that’s the thing about it: when you get to the hall and you hear it’s a service hall, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, what did I get myself into? But then we tell you that you’re just volunteering two hours minimum a week and it’s fun,” Rowe said.
She also is the HOPE Hall coordinator, which means that she completES the many other aspects that keeps the hall running.
“It’s easy to fall into. As a first year you get introduced to the idea of volunteering so they just start volunteering and whenever we have hall events, it’s not hard,” Rowe said.
Regardless of if students knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, on average, they typically do reapply due to the unique experiences HOPE Hall offers.
“My favorite thing about living in HOPE Hall is getting to make those connections both with the people we volunteer with,.You get to share those experiences with the other people in the hall,” Grimes said.
Students interested in learning more about HOPE Hall should speak to a current resident or contact Rowe. Applications to HOPE Hall for the 2017-2018 school year will be available in the spring.