Nelson Hall Celebrates 50 Years of Community

Nelson Hall’s 50th birthday celebration reminds Bethel of its legacy of community and school spirit.

By Aiyanna Klaphake ’20, student writer

October 19, 2018 | 1 p.m.

Nelson Hall Reunion

Current and former Nelson residents gathered for a reunion during Homecoming weekend.

For many students and alumni, this year’s Homecoming was particularly memorable. The 50th birthday of Nelson Hall drew in over 300 people eager to reminisce about their time spent in the oldest dormitory on Bethel’s campus.

Completed in 1968, Nelson holds special meaning for many Bethel students, past and present, because of the dense history and strong community associated with the hall. To celebrate the 50 years the building has housed students, Residence Life and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations, with help from Student Life and Bethel Student Government, sponsored a birthday bash on Saturday, October 6, after the Homecoming football game.

Kresge Courtyard was filled with tents where students, alumni, and their families could enjoy orange-themed food, buy Nelson T-shirts, or participate in a silent auction. Photos of Nelson in its earliest years and of the building under construction when suites were added in the 1980s also decorated the lawn. Inside, guests received guided tours from current residents, visited their old room, and heard a presentation from alumnus Rod Larson, a member of the first class to live in Nelson when the hall was merely “the new dorm.”

As the winner of this year’s Homecoming Hall Spirit Award, Nelson maintains a reputation for high levels of student participation and school spirit. Nelson Assistant Resident Director Sophia Carlson ’19 attributes this to Nelson’s unique design and location. “Everything is so centralized,” she says, referring to Nelson’s position in the heart of campus as well as the hall’s suite-style living, “that everyone is part of everything.”

“Nelson houses a third of the freshman body,” adds Resident Assistant JJ Anderson-Gutiérrez ’19. “That’s a lot of people… a lot of potential for goodness to happen, a lot of capacity for community and getting to know people.”

Current Nelson Hall resident assistants

Current Nelson Hall resident assistants

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