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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, June 14, 2024
The Echo

Samuel Morris versus Wengatz Hall culture: taking a closer look

Exploring the rivalry between two dorms

It’s the classic on-campus rivalry: the men of Wengatz versus the men of Samuel Morris Hall. 

Both known for their wild antics, their commitment to brotherhood (extending beyond just Samuel Morris’ “Brotherhood” or “Broho” floor) and their deep connections, Wengatz and Sammy are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin.

Why the rivalry, then?

Caleb Belzer, a sophomore personnel assistant (PA) on Sammy’s Penthouse floor speculated it could be due to Wengatz’s popularity on campus. Luke Petroelje, PA on second east Wengatz, viewed pride as the more likely cause.

“There are floors or wings of 20-some year olds who all love where they live for the most part,” Petroelje said. “And so with the energy comes, I think, natural comparing and desire to have competition, just to even have — not in a bad way — but a sense of pride for where you live.”

Regardless of the reason for the rivalry, however, current students enjoy continuing the tradition.

Both halls are careful not to let the conflict become too serious, however.

“We actually don't really care that much,” Belzer said. “A lot of it (the rivalry) is a friendly aspect because it's fun to be a part of it. It's fun to beat them (the Men of Wengatz) at things, fun to just kind of yell at them across campus, to kind of mess with them and pick at them. And they do the same for us.”

Perhaps the most dramatic example of the rivalry can be seen on Jericho Week, inspired by the biblical story of the Jericho Wall in Joshua 6. Marching around Wengatz Hall seven times, Sammy’s residents then approach the front of the building, screaming at the bricks in the hopes that someday, Samuel Morris Hall’s greatest rival will collapse. 

For now, however, Wengatz endures, and despite all the fun and games, the two dorms have developed strong relationships, not only between each other but within themselves.

The first word that comes to mind about Wengatz for sophomore Ben Gerig, another second east man of Wengatz, is family. 

“It might be kind of corny to say, but I feel like it's kind of like a family,” Gerig said. “These are my brothers that I just see and eat meals with and goof off with and have Bible study with.”

The men of Wengatz grow close through both physical and spiritual bonds, Gerig said. From talking about God to playing intramurals or “Tolf,” a tennis-golf mashup the men of Wengatz compete in across campus, Wengatz is known for both the public and private ways they do life together.

In Sammy, Blewe Winters, the junior PA on Penthouse, also noted the more serious side of the men in his dorm.

“On a surface level, we want to pass on the traditions that we've had for the years,” Winters said. “I really wanted to model that sacrifice in time and energy to be with other guys in their difficult moments.”

Light-hearted may be the image Wengatz and Sammy lead campus with, but the men of both halls know when to set the jokes aside to support one another.

Perhaps that’s what unites them most. While both dorms view themselves as the wilder of the two, neither truly expressed any real hatred toward the other.

Despite the passing comments, neither hope to hurt the other. The jokes and rivalry, at the end of the day, are just that. The men of Taylor know they’re more than the traditions of their wings or floors. They’re more than merely the men of Wengatz or the men of Samuel Morris Hall. Their identity is found first in Christ.