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Neihardt Residential Hall on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The days until the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Honors Program moves out of Neihardt Hall are numbered, and current students and alumni are preparing for the change. The Daily Nebraskan asked former UNL honors students how living in Neihardt affected their lives and how they feel about its doors closing.

Samantha Burtwistle received her bachelor’s degree in physics from UNL in December 2015. As an Honors student, she lived in Neihardt throughout all her college career and was a resident assistant her junior and senior years.

How did you benefit from the Neihardt community?

“[Neihardt] gave me my first place that felt like home on campus. I was coming to college from a really small hometown in rural Nebraska where I never felt like I fit in … Neihardt was so accepting, and it was the first place that I really felt like I could be myself. I loved being able to give back that community aspect by welcoming incoming freshmen and helping them find their friends and home away from home on campus. Being an RA was one of the best decisions I made in college.”

Do you agree with the decision to move the Honors Program out of Neihardt?

“I know that Neihardt is an old building that has some building issues that need a significant overhaul, and I understand the expense. However, I think housing the Honors Program in suite-style residence halls will lose so much of the community and character … Having those shared living spaces in a traditional style residence hall brings people together in a way that voluntary events and merely passing each other in the halls occasionally can't.”

 

Geena Brown received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2016. She was an Honors student who lived in Neihardt her first two years of college.

How did you benefit from the Neihardt community?

“I was an out-of-state student, so I knew nobody coming in. Neihardt was really a big part of wanting to be in the Honors Program … It was great that at any time you could walk into a room and there’d be people there that were willing to talk and hang out … I hope [University Housing] really encourages the community involvement, encourages people to go to the programs that the RAs are putting on and show up in these public spaces and spend time there. … I wasn’t [eager to join in] at first. I was a pretty shy kid in high school. Going into college, it was having all these people around and being so welcoming to me that made me really feel comfortable approaching these events and going to these things to meet people.”

Do you agree with the decision to move the Honors Program out of Neihardt?

“It’s just sad that other students won’t get to have the same experiences that I did there. I hope that something else on campus can fill that small community spot … I think they should really take a hard look at what made Neihardt and the Honors Program in there so special and try to maintain that in their new space.”

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