This week’s Community Focus highlights the diverse residential life of Hong International Hall. Pacific Lutheran University’s campus provides a variety of residence halls to students; Hong, however, stands apart as a global experience with a local address.
This residential community houses approximately 75 students, but their impact is far reaching.
Hong International Hall consists of six wings, five that focus specifically on language: Norwegian, Chinese, French, German and Spanish.
The sixth wing provides residency to International Honors (or IHON) students. Hong encourages residents to pursue “global awareness, language immersion and cultural engagement” (PLU).
Built in 1954 with name changes in 1966, Hong and Hinderlie are seen as ‘sister halls’ of campus. The school originally appointed Hong as North Hall, and Hinderlie as South Hall.
The rededication of North Hall in 1966 honored Nils Joseph Hong, the University’s third president. He served as president for 20 years and remained as a professor for an additional 20 years. Most notably, President Hong taught at least 12 subjects at the school. This comes as no surprise due to the hall’s emphasis on global education.
Sophomore Joel Earlywine lives in the Spanish wing of Hong. An Economics major considering a double major in Hispanic Studies, Joel will study abroad in Granada, Spain this spring.
“I’m trying to think of how to describe it,” he said. “I don’t want to say eccentric, more like…it’s like a family. And everyone in my wing speaks Spanish, so it makes studying easier.”
Joel went on to explain the community involvement of Hong, noting the variety and number of wing and hall events offered. While appreciative of the presence of other language communities, the only downside for Joel is the clashing aromas of all the cultural cooking. With such a welcoming campus community, though, any passerby might certainly find opportunity to try some incredible homemade dishes.
Bryn Benson, a first-year and intended Nursing major, also resides in the Spanish wing. She first heard about Hong from her older sister, who lived in the residence hall her first year at PLU as well. Bryn finds comfort living in the small community that bonds so well.
“People that live in these communities are more interested in having this kind of a community,” she said. “It’s a community with a unifying feature – there’s always one thing you have in common with everyone in the wing, which is the language.”
For Benson, the unity extends beyond her own hallway. She said she loves how she can go to the kitchen to wash dishes and end up having a 20-minute conversation with someone she doesn’t know.
While this residence hall may not be as warm as Harstad, the students of Hong International find warmth in the community of one another.
PLU offers students with culturally diverse backgrounds and interests a place like Hong to find peace and acceptance of like-minded people.
You don’t need to live there to explore the mixture of community and culture; the halls and residents of Hong await everyone.
Hong International Hall’s residents represent the world’s future diplomats, travelers and international inspirations. Far away places and the cultures within them ignite the passion of this tight-knit community.