Every university has a dorm hall that is better than the rest.

Some can be lived in for more than one year, and others are only available for students in a certain year. Fairfield’s best dorm without question is Loyola Hall, a sophomore residential college hall that is located in the campus’ quad, and opens its doors to any Stag that chooses to walk through.

I lived in Loyola Hall during my sophomore year, and it was honestly the best experience of my time at Fairfield. One of the requirements for living in Loyola is that its residents are required to participate in mentor groups that meet once a week and go on one retreat per semester. I not only had a great mentor and alumni mentor, but also a great group of girls who were supportive of one another and enjoyed each other’s company. We would spend our allotted time each week cracking jokes and talking about the drama happening in our lives, and it never felt like we had enough time to spend with one another.

Likewise, the retreats that we went on not only allowed me to spend time off-campus with my friends over the weekend. They also let me get to know my dorm community and mentor group better. During the first retreat, we were on a campsite and we tried (and failed) to launch a dorm hall Man-Hunt. Even though it was unsuccessful, many of us lingered around outside and hung out with one another, and it was a great chance to meet people that we had not come into contact with during our first year at Fairfield.

Although many people feel that fulfilling these requirements are a burden, they couldn’t be more wrong. Loyola is one of three residential colleges at Fairfield, so the requirements were not unique to the building. However, they did have their own special spin; Loyola focused on the inner questions of “Who am I?”, “Whose am I?” and “Who am I called to be?” These questions allowed for great reflection, and when we were in our groups, we got to analyze these ideas. It quickly became clear that if you made the most of your group and you enjoyed your time with great people, none of these requirements were particularly bothersome or time-consuming.

Additionally, my time in Loyola made me realize that the dorm is by far the most welcoming. When I was a freshman at Fairfield, I did not feel a connection with the people in my dorm hall, Campion. We were just four floors of people who were doing our own thing with our own cliques. However, in Loyola — which was a stone’s throw from Campion — when new people visited or became residents, the community welcomed them with open arms. We had weekly Residential Hall Association meetings that featured many jokes and laughs, and welcomed everyone. Moreover, we also had a “Happy Hour” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. where our resident assistants provided snacks.

The camaraderie that Loyola facilitated made the dorm an indescribably wonderful place to live. From the hysterical RAs to the lively neighbors, there was never a dull moment. If you wanted to make use of our amazing air-conditioned Commons during a heat wave, no one would question it for a moment, and people would ask you what floor you lived on and strike up conversation with you easily. If you wanted to hold a Harry Potter marathon like my friends and I once did on the flat screen in the Commons, people would pull up a seat and join the group.

Loyola is that kind of irreplaceable community.