Heritage: A Bittersweet Goodbye

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Pranks. New Friends. Mission Calls. Ms. Heritage competitions. Apartment dinners. Decorating competitions. While new buildings are usually exciting, previous residents of Heritage Halls share their memories as well as their feelings about the freshman dorms being demolished.

Rita Tanner, Ms. Whitney Hall 1970, said she really enjoyed her time in Heritage.

[media-credit name=”Daily Universe” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]”We had a lot of fun,” she said. “We loved Whitney Hall. ”

Tanner shared her experience participating in the Ms. Heritage contest.

“We had to make a meal for 10 people people with only $15,” she said.

Tanner cooked a Hawaiian meal for the judges, but the meal did not go perfectly.  Tanner made a fruit dip with a recipe from her sister. When the judges tried the dip they asked what was in it. Tanner remembers the judge telling her that fruit dip usually gets cooked.

Even with the fruit dip mishap, Tanner was still crowned Ms. Whitney Hall for the year. She then competed with the winners of the other halls for the title of Ms. Heritage, reaching the final five.

Tanner had five roommates in Whitney Hall and said she has remained friends with them.

“We had so much fun we decided to stay together,” she said. “The second year four of us stayed together and we have kept in touch over the years.”

Another of Tanner’s memories involved pranking another resident, getting in trouble from dumping water on a male student.

Stacy Harmer, who was head resident with her husband for Felt and Fox Halls from 1981 until 1991, has mixed feelings about the new Heritage Halls.

“It’s always sad to see memories and history torn down, but it’s always exciting for new growth,” she said.

Harmer said she and her husband enjoyed their time as head residents.

“I loved my experience there,” Harmer said. “I made a lot of friends. I had two young children and the girls were so good. The girls in the hall were so kind because they’d watch my kids while I was in class.”

Harmer, who gave birth to her second child while she was head resident appreciated the support of the women.

“The girls through me a baby shower,” she said.

Michelle Gessel, who lived in A. Richards during the 2009-2010 school year, also shared her feelings about the new buildings.

“I understand that they need to make new housing and the new Heritage is great, but it’s still kind of sad,” she said.

Gessel talked about memories she has of her freshman year.

“Those places had a lot of memories,” she said. “It’ll be weird not being able to go back to those places. There goes my freshman year.”

Gessel said she and her five roommates had a Sunday dinner tradition.

“On Sundays my roommates and I would usually make dinner together and then invite either an apartment from our ward or boys we knew from home,” she said. “It was just a fun way to hang out with each other, eat good food and make new friends.”

Easton Johnston, an RA in  one of the new buildings, Heritage Building 25, is pleased with the new residence halls.

“It’s very nice,” he said. “It feels utilitarian. It’s not conducive to community-building, but I can bring girls over and not feel ashamed.”

Johnston lived in the old buildings in Fall 2007 as a freshman and has lived in the new buildings since August. While he opened his mission call in a small group, he remembers attending his friends’ mission call openings during his freshman year. Johnston remembers one friend in particular who served in Sweden.

“The kitchen wasn’t that big, but we crammed as many people as we could because we cared about him,” Johnston said. “When he opened it it was really exciting. Everyone went crazy. We looked it [Sweden] up on the map and everything.”

Libby Bushman, a hall adviser in Merrill Hall, lived in Heritage Halls from 2004-2006, the second year as an RA. She remembers the decorations as part of her experience.

“RAs did the decorating once a month to go with them,” she said. “I don’t remember exactly why.”

Bushman remembers an RA her freshman year who cared about the decorating.

“My freshman year the guy RA always wanted to have the biggest and the best decorations,” she said. “They painted ‘Starry Night’ by Van Gogh [on the windows].”

Bushman is excited about the new buildings, but did not always feel that way.

“At first I was really sad for sentimental reasons because I spent my freshman and RA years there. Those memories were still there,” she said. “As I’ve come to see the new buildings and how much better they are than the old ones, I’ve realized they’ll be better for freshman and on-campus housing. I think it will be a positive change for BYU on-campus housing.”

Zac Lichtenberg, a freshman from Grand Blanc, Mich., lived in one of the old buildings last semester then was required  to move to one of the new buildings this semester so his building, Shipp Hall, could be taken down.

“We were forced to move in the middle of the week and it was hard living in two places at once,” he said.

According to Lichtenberg, the students were told to move their property to Building 26 before they could sleep there.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” he said of moving. “We had some good times there, but it was definitely time for it [the building] to go.”

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