Resident Assistants help renovate PGB
Move over, Property Brothers. Resident Assistants Jacob Bohrer ’17 and Dante Raffin ’18 just might be the next HGTV stars with “Residence Hall Renovations.”
“For years, there have been rumors of tearing these buildings down,” said Bohrer of his beloved Penn-Gurney-Barclay Residence Hall. “But men love the community established in PGB. They are really solid buildings, all brick and concrete.”
However, after 50-plus years of young men living in these buildings, many improvements were necessary to bring out more of the buildings’ potential.
So last year, Bohrer and Raffin put together a seven-page proposal laying out a plan for renovations.
Early steps – in partnership with Malone’s Physical Plant, of course – were completed over the summer. For example, carpet on the walls of Lower Gurney was replaced with drywall (installed by professional contractors). The duo sought donations from Bohrer’s then-part-time employer, who donated numerous gallons of paint. All of the community bathrooms were painted by the RAs and new low-flow showerheads replaced the older ones. LED light structures and potted plants are now in the lobbies. The carpets were professionally cleaned. During the summer, men from the cross-country team and Coach Jack Hazen also volunteered hours to help. And there are many more renovations to come.
“We like to joke that we’re suburban dads with our first fixer-upper,” said Bohrer, who also serves as assistant resident director. “We’ve got to-do lists and items we are hoping to save for.”
Continuing with the ‘dad’ analogy, the members of the Residence Life staff are working hard to instill respect for the building into the men who live there.
“We told the guys it’s a trial run. The building is our pride and joy because of the work we’ve put into it,” Raffin said. “They don’t want others to mess up their hard work, so they’re taking the initiative and asking others to respect that.”
Raffin has spent all three years in PGB and loves the building.
“PGB is the most homey, inviting, and lack of judgment hall,” he said. “There are all kinds of students here, from jocks to ‘geeks’ and we celebrate our diversity. You’re kind of forced into community because everybody always keeps their doors open, but then you start investing in it yourself.”
The next planned project is to renovate an outdoor patio in front of the main entrance to the building. They’d like to invite alumni back for a cookout to see the improvements.
“We really care about residence life,” said Raffin. “We want to honor traditions and also leave a legacy.”