Hands Down a Great Year

Handprints are unique; each has their own fingerprint patterns, lines, and size. Each handprint on that wall represents a unique person … someone from a unique background, pursuing their own unique passion. Leaving your handprint somewhere is synonymous to leaving your mark or legacy. That may seem like a bold or melodramatic statement for covering your hand in purple acrylic paint and touching the basement wall of your freshman dorm, but hang on, I’ll explain. Our unique backgrounds somehow all lead us here, to Vanderbilt University, but specifically to East House. There’s a special bond that occurs as a result of learning and exploring freshmen year together.
These hands belong to people who are always learning and creating. East residents are researchers, members of a variety of different academic organizations, and people who engage with faculty, like our Head of House Dr. Seymore, outside the classroom at events like our Bachelor viewing parties and the weekly Thoughts and Snacks house event.
These hands belong to people who are committed to actively engaging in communities across campus. They have thrown up an “anchor down”, helped set up for a function, and clapped enthusiastically as they attended an athletic event.
These hands belong to people who know the importance of self care. They have applied face masks at our stress relEAST event, dialed the number of an RA to seek help, and knocked on the doors of other members of their community to check in and engage in dialogue about healthy living.
These hands belong to people who are committed to celebrating the diverse community they are a part of. They have scrolled through the house groupme, stopping as they saw an cultural showcase event a housemate was in and decided to go (learning more than they were expecting), gone on ASB and helped people who are not as privileged as they are, and hugged someone with a very different identity than them after an insightful, intentional conversation.
These hands represent people who have learned a lot about themselves this year. They have registered for their first absentee ballot, researched an issue to find out their personal stance, and sought out campus resources for personal well-being.
I thought it was interesting to look at the wall and know that so much diversity is present, but how you couldn’t tell what identities a person has just by looking at their hand print. It is, thus, an equalizer and a representation that we are all very different, but share a common identity: a member of East House. These hands represent a diverse community of people who grew alongside and learned from each other. To quote High School Musical, just like we were “all in [it] together” this year, so are our handprints … all up there together on that wall.