If college was just about getting good grades and making a friend or two, this article might be called something like "Dorms: Why They're Kind of Cool But You Could Really Just Take or Leave Them." Quite the contrary, however: Dorms are crucial to the development of a college community.
If you've ever observed a crowd at a university football game (picture lots of bare-chested male students in full body paint), you can probably guess that the development of school spirit is a key component of college life. Attendance at sporting events, arguably one of the best college bonding experiences available to students, often begins in the dorms, whether involvement takes the form of sharing face paint or just walking to the stadium together.
But that sense of community extends far beyond the field or the court, and it's often the catalyst for some pretty spectacular university-wide practices. For instance, take the Stanford University tradition where dorm staff members greet new students by storming their cars as they arrive and yelling cheers of welcome. This lively greeting kicks off a week of dorm spirit activities, during which students brandish their dorm flags and attempt to out-cheer their rivals [source: Stanford University]. Or perhaps you'd be more interested in the annual pumpkin drop at MIT, during which scores of students let fly a volley of pumpkins (often choreographed and set to music) from the tops of campus buildings [source: Peck].
But community-building doesn't have to be as elaborate as a barrage of flying gourds; it can be as simple as the unforgettable experience of sharing a bathroom with 20 or so fellow dorm residents. If there's one guarantee we can make about dorm life, it's that it's never boring.