Home is where the Dawg is

Ella Escobedo, a first-year instrumental music education major, lying on her bed. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

JADA GANGAZHA | STAFF REPORTER | jgangazha@butler.edu

Warm lighting, posters and nostalgic talismans — these all were answers given by incoming first-years at Butler University when asked about their dorm decor. To most, bedrooms are considered safe havens; one privilege of having your own space to express yourself is getting to decorate in any way you please. With the Dawgs all settled in, how are they choosing to fill their space? 

Butler University’s class of 2026 got their first taste of college life during many welcome week activities. From sun-up to sundown, new students were presented with several guest speakers who were pleased to show what it means to be a Butler Bulldog. 

Though these festivities got these Dawgs pumped up for the first semester, they also had time to cool down in the new places they called home. Home seemed to be a common theme for many students, especially Grace Uebelhor, first-year anthropology and psychology double major living in Residential College here on campus.

Grace Uebelhor’s posters, favorite pillow and favorite blanket. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

“Half of the decorations in here I brought from home,” Uebelhor said. “The other half I got from girls from my AP art class last year.” 

Uebelhor said she felt feelings of nostalgia when looking at the posters that dressed her wall. The main focus seemed to be a print of the cover of Frank Ocean’s 2016 certified-platinum album “Blonde.” She said she listened to the album during her journey to the Butler University campus, wanting to create the right headspace to start her college career. 

It’s clear that reminders of a past self or how old experiences have shaped a person aids in people becoming newer and better versions of themselves. For Joshua Matz, a first-year finance major living in Irvington, a past self was a pillar in his decor.

Matz’s wall decor. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

“It’s kind of like my room at home,” Matz said. “So definitely a little sporty too.”

Matz played sports year-round in high school, so his space reflected that of an athlete’s. Students often spot this Dawg around campus with a hat on his head, so it was only fitting that there was a spot on the wall dedicated to a charming collection of baseball caps. Having objects scattered around his room to remind him of where he started helped create the “chill atmosphere” he wanted to return to after a day of classes. 

Nostalgia is one way of creating an atmosphere that helps ground students after busy days; on the other hand, Emily Wangberg, a first-year art and design major living in Residential College, chose to make her dorm room feel like home by adding a touch of humor.

Bruce the gargoyle. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

“Bruce,” said Wangberg. “That’s my gargoyle from home. My mom didn’t want me to bring him.”

Standing 12 inches tall, Bruce the gargoyle brought the most character to this Dawg’s home. His looming presence added to the mystical atmosphere in the room. While Bruce belongs to Wangberg, his throne is on the opposite side of the room with Wangberg’s roommate. 

Ella Escobedo, a first-year instrumental music education major, seemed to be a near-perfect match for Wangberg as they bonded over their love for whimsical decor. One item, in particular, Escobedo raved over was a picturesque frog planter.

Ella Escobedo’s frog planter. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

“My boyfriend bought it from his family’s hometown in Mexico and brought it back on the plane,” Escobedo said. 

The frog planter was surrounded by several other trinkets sitting atop Escobedo’s desk. 

These two roommates aimed to create a space similar to their bedrooms at home. Fluorescent lighting seemed to be the only downside of their dorm, but this problem was fixed by a variety of lamps and warm lighting. 

Every college student seems to know what they want their space to look like, but a few have fallen victim to packing lists and “what to bring to college” videos that can leave students with piles of Amazon boxes and unnecessary things. Annie Cole, a first-year actuarial science major, had one such item in mind while introducing her space. 

Annie Cole’s bed and favorite Squishmallows, the beaver Squishmallow was a gift from her roommate. Photos by Jada Gangazha.

“I have a bedside caddy, and I have nothing in it,” Cole said. “I haven’t found anything to put in it yet because I just put things in places.”

Luckily, aside from unused dishware and empty storage bins, the list of unnecessary items in these Dawgs’ bedrooms was slim. 

Every other item in this dorm was brought directly from Cole’s bedroom at home, though she had to say goodbye to the records hanging on her walls at home due to Irvington’s dorm policies. Despite this, Cole was able to create a “homey” space filled with her favorite books and rigorous calculus homework. 

One thing the class of 2026 doesn’t lack is personality. Starting a new adventure is scary, so having a place to reset and reflect was very important to these Dawgs. Whether a minimalist or maximalist route was taken, everyone’s decor was true to their personality and had that little piece of home to tie it all together. These eager students showed that home is truly where the Dawg is.


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