The Dawkins Welcome Center is almost constantly buzzing with people at work in the building, – and of course, the visiting families that begin and end their campus experience passing through the iconic triple archway. A handful of students also work or hang-out in Dawkins, but most students rarely return to the building once they are no longer considered a prospective student.
However, the staff who work in Dawkins want Hendrix students to know that the building has more to offer them than admission pamphlets and financial aid meetings. I sat down with two members of Hendrix’s Admission Team – Jeremy Dickerson and Jenn McKenzie – to talk about the space and resources that Dawkins provides for students, even after they’re officially enrolled in the college.
I first chatted with Jeremy Dickerson, Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admission, about why students should put Dawkins on their radar. Dickerson said that – with the college’s COVID-19 Response Plan – students now have limited access to popular communal spots across campus. But Dawkins provides an alternative space for students whose favorite study or hangout spot is no longer consistently available.
According to Dickerson, “the decrease in available spaces” elsewhere on campus “ is drawing a lot of interest to Dawkins.” In fact, Dawkins has already been the location of two different events this semester: key pickup during move-in and a free coffee break, hosted by T.H.I.N.K. Coffee and Student Activities. Jennifer Mckenzie, Hendrix’s Associate Director of Admission – Campus Visitation, said that she hopes many more events are held in and around the building in the future.
But the Dawkins staff hopes that more students come to spend time at Dawkins, even when there isn’t an event to attend, so Dickerson, McKenzie, and I created a list of the building’s best hangout spots. First, the back porch has rocking chairs and swings that are perfect for cloud watching, hanging out with friends, or just enjoying a calm respite from a busy day. Inside, you can sit by the fireplace and get caught up on homework, while listening to a curated playlist quietly humming over the lobby speakers. You can also check out the Glass Wall, a whitescale mural with video projection, and try to find the hidden squirrel. Or, if neither of those options fit your needs, you can sit outside on the lawn, enjoying a book and cup of tea or eating lunch on your official Hendrix College picnic blanket.
Regardless of which spot you choose, you can help establish individual and community memories connected to the building. This is especially important because Dawkins is one of the newest buildings on campus, and many students may not associate it yet with any specific memories or campus cultural traditions. But it could eventually become the place you made a new friend, had coffee with your favorite professor, or escaped from the worst snow storm that Hendrix has ever experienced. At the end of our chat, Dickerson told me that he still returns to the spot on campus where he met his husband. He hopes “Dawkins can be that place for other students.”