Milton Daniel Hall community continues to grow after first year since renovation

Milton Daniel Hall, renovated in 2009, has outgrown its original nickname of “The Dungeon.”

Now, after the first year of the new and improved Milton “Hilton,” Milton Daniel Hall Director David Stout said he and his staff were planning ways to make the community stronger.

“In the first year of Milton Daniel, we really laid the foundation for our community,” Stout said.

The Community Renewal program taught residents to care for their neighbor, he said. In his first year, Stout and his staff established several activities to bring this motto to life.

To celebrate the holiday season, the Milton community held a Yule Ball similar to the one seen in the Harry Potter series, Stout said. Almost 200 residents dressed in prom-like attire and enjoyed a dance party with food, decorations and fun. This year, Stout said he hoped to have an even better turnout.

Another residential activity included the Frog Film Competition, Stout said. Students from the John V. Roach Honors College created their own original films and watched them in the outdoor amphitheater with spectators, including Chancellor Victor J. Boschini.

Stout said the Milton community was also planning to have a new mentorship program this year between the upperclassmen on the third floor and the freshmen in the rest of the building. The program will help Milton Daniel continue to strengthen its relationship with the Honors College, he said. 

“Incoming freshman can look to the sophomores on the third floor to really help them get acclimated to campus,” he said.

The RA community at Milton Daniel was “incredible to work with,” Stout said. 

Despite outside activities, Honors College demands and class loads, Stout said his RAs were still able to produce high results.

“They know their residents on really, really intimate levels,” Stout said.

Bianca Castro,a strategic communication and Spanish double major, was one of the RAs who worked last year to assess the needs of her hallway.

“Last year, a lot of my residents struggled with homesickness,” she said.

Castro held a Girls’ Day In, birthday parties, and celebrations during the holidays, all designed to make the women in her hall feel comfortable and at home. Castro said she believed the residents of Milton Daniel had great relationships with each other through her and other resident assistants’ help.

Amberle Durano, a junior nursing major, said residents “really got the royal treatment from the Honors College.” Durano lived in Milton Daniel last year and spoke highly of the staff and the activities held at Milton “Hilton.”

Through the ice cream socials and other residential activities, Durano said the community of Milton Daniel grew closer and established lasting friendships.

Though Milton Daniel has cast off its original nickname, Stout said both he and his staff constantly worked so that the aesthetics were not the only beautiful part of Milton. He wanted the closeness of the community to supercede the beauty of the building, he said.

“Why would we settle for good when we can be great?” he said.