It’s the final frontier: from across the star-kissed surface of Taylor Lake and the concrete ocean of the Breu parking lot, Gerig and Breuninger Halls stand as refuges for their residents.
Yet in many ways, they also represent a paradox. The only interconnected dorms on campus, the 2 buildings must bridge not only the cultural space between them, but the gaps in tradition as well, as residents learn to live together just a hallway apart.
“Culture is just a lot different,” senior Tali Stichter said. “(In Breu,) it's just a little bit harder to find and necessarily get into, whereas Gerig is very open and like one big community.”
With one foot in both dorms, Stichter spent her first three years on campus in Gerig before moving to Breu this year. It’s a transition she was hesitant about at first.
Looking at Breu’s more modern amenities, considerably less mold, and sectioned lounges on each of its 3 floors, it can sometimes be hard to believe the “Wormhole” hallway connecting Breu to Gerig is not an interdimensional gateway to separate universes.
“I know going into it, I was definitely like, ‘Oh, Breu doesn't really have much of a culture,’” she said. “But there's definitely a culture there. It's just, it's Breu’s best kept secret, honestly.”
The stereotype of Breu’s lack of personality runs alongside Gerig’s label as the mold-ridden home of a variety of nerds on campus.
Looking deeper, however, this dorm too, has more to it than what first meets the eye.
“We think of it as an endearing way,” Breuninger freshman Bronwyn Craddock said. “I feel like you (Gerigians) are really close knit but I really like that.”
The close-knitedness of Gerig is a large part of its charm. One sprawling family tree connects members together, detailing everything from the way upperclassmen have “adopted” other (and not necessarily younger) classes to the so-called “stray cats” of Gerig — students from other dorms whom Gerigians love as their own.
“Accepting” was one of the first words that came to mind for illustration major sophomore Lorien Gaither as well. A “stray cat” to the dorm last year, Gaither spent her freshman year in English Hall before moving to Gerig.
“Being adopted by Gerig was awesome,” Gaither said. “When I am down there, even if it's just walking through, everyone knows my name. Everyone's like, ‘Hey, Lorien, how’re you doing?’ It's nice to feel like you're coming home and people know you.”
The sense of home was enough to convince Gaither to move from Third North English to the second floor of Gerig. And while Gaither admitted the Gerig lobby is overwhelming, the sense of community is something she wouldn’t easily give up.
And as for Breuninger, while it may still be finding its footing in terms of traditions, events like the weekly Kroger Ball games and the Big Sis, Little Sis mentoring opportunity prove that Breu’s culture is thriving.
Drifting through the wormhole, there’s truly more that connects the two dorms than what divides them. (And it’s not just the shared laundry room.) Music is a passion for residents in both dorms, with students often going between the halls to share a verse on the piano or break out into song.
Gerig hosts not only hard science majors, but music education and art majors, filmmakers, writers and a variety of liberal artists as well, even as the Breuthers and Sisters of Breu feature actors, illustrators and so many more creatives and innovators. Both seek to create or understand beauty. Both have a passion for community. Both are growing, together and apart.
Whether it’s through shared ‘Greu’ events where the dorms come together, or through the simple gatherings in Gerig’s lobby or Breu’s T-lounge, the strange twin worlds that meet in the wormhole share a simple mission: to build a stronger community life and support the beautiful differences of their respective Taylor civilizations.