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Keeping festive feelings

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The idea of fall brings to mind many activities and traditions. While living in a dorm doesn’t necessarily prohibit students from much, there are definitely a few things that are tricky to do while living there. And there are definitely some rules and regulations to abide by when living in the dorms.

Here is a list of dorm-friendly alternatives to eliminate fear of missing out and ensure that everyone has a festive fall season without getting into trouble with your Resident Assistant.

Problem: Candles are not allowed in dorms.

Solution: Use a wax melt or oil diffuser instead.

Due to being a fire hazard, candles are not permitted in dorms. But to fill a room with the scent of pumpkin spice or apple cinnamon just as easily, get a wax melt. With an electric warmer, wax melts serve the same purpose as candles, without the wick and open flame. This is sure to satisfy those who want to come home to a sweet smelling room. Another option is an oil diffuser, which releases essential oils through steam. Both options can provide dorm rooms with fall-themed aromatherapy.

If one is still missing the dim glow of candle light, he or she can decorate with battery powered tea lights.

Problem: It’s hard to carve pumpkins in dorm rooms.

Solution: Get creative.

While not technically prohibited in the dorms, carving pumpkins is messy and quickly results in a rotten pumpkin, which no one wants to deal with. A rotten pumpkin carcus would also counteract the fall smells from the first tip. Plus, dorm rules don’t allow pumpkins to be left outside in common areas for extended periods of time.

For an alternative method of creating festive pumpkins, there is a multitude of options. Elli Pointner, a sophomore in the College of Education and RA in Straz Tower, decorated pumpkins with sharpie for Halloween last year. Another option is to buy or make fake pumpkins, which never rot and can be left outside of your door without restrictions.

“On my floor, we cut up strips of paper, and we put them into rings and made pumpkins out of them, which you can place outside your door to get around the pumpkin rule,” said Monica Patel, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences.

Problem: Most dorm rooms are not equipped with kitchens.

Solution: Rent out the kitchenette and bake with friends

Since dorm residents can’t have any type of stove, grill or oven in rooms, most foods must be made in the dorm’s community kitchen. Every dorm has a kitchen available (usually located in the basement) for residents to utilize whenever they want to. This public kitchen area discourages people from baking alone and is the perfect way to bond with dorm-mates while enjoying the flavors of the season at any hour.

“The other day I saw girls making pumpkin pie cake or something downstairs at like midnight,” Patel said.

Bake a cake straight from the box recipe, or get ambitious and make a Pinterest-worthy pie.

Problem: Students cannot roast s’mores over an open bonfire. 

Solution: Make s’mores indoors.

Warming up from the cool fall air by a bonfire is a staple of the season. But for obvious reasons, having a bonfire in a dorm is not an option. Just because there’s no fire doesn’t mean one needs to miss out on the sweet taste of s’mores, arguably one of the best fall treats. Invite some friends over, melt a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate on a graham cracker in a microwave and share a treat that is just as delicious as if it were made over a fire.

Problem: Not every dorm has a good view of the leaves’ changing colors. 

Solution: Bring fall colors indoors.

While the fall shades of red, orange and brown make Milwaukee look colorful, most residents cannot see colorful trees right outside their windows like they might be able to at home. To bring fall cheeriness into sight, decorate your dorm room. Fake leaves can be bought at a craft store and strung together as autumn garland. Fall wreaths make a dorm room feel like home and help to celebrate the season.

“The room across from me this year put a bunch of window stickers on their big window,” said Nick Dalton, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and an RA in Straz.

Whether store-bought or crafted by hand, fall decorations help bring the colors of the season indoors and spread the season’s cheer.

There are plenty of easy ways to celebrate the season, no matter the housing situation. So crack open a window and let in the brisk fall air; break out the decorations and enjoy this fall to the fullest. Don’t let your living situation put a damper on fall traditions, no matter what rules and regulations stand in the way.

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About the Photographer
Jennifer Walter, Executive Director

Jennifer Walter is the executive director for the Marquette Wire. She is a senior majoring in journalism and German originally from the suburbs of Detroit....

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