Holidays on Campus

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How are residents of Court 17 spending winter break?

Students in Court 17 are growing community in the on-campus apartment building. | Photo and above photo by Cody Char.A screening of The Goonies on the patio. Trips to the Point Defiance Zoo and the Museum of Glass. And for finals week, a late-night pancake dinner with attendees in their pajamas.

A small but growing group of students living in the Court 17 building are creating an on-campus community through events like these. While most of the campus has gone home for winter break, several students in the building plan to celebrate both on and off campus.

Court 17 is a 128-unit apartment building on the UW Tacoma campus, occupied by both students and members of the community. The five-story building currently houses 111 students, with eleven more joining winter quarter, in addition to the three residence assistants and one residence hall coordinator.

Vy Nguyen, ’16, moved into Court 17 this September when she began studying at UW Tacoma. Nguyen is majoring in global studies and is a student worker at UW Tacoma.

Court 17 residents try on turkey hats, goofing off on a trip to Target. | Photo courtesy Megan Fuhlman.

Nguyen stayed on campus the first week of break, then headed home to Port Townsend to spend Christmas with her family. “I don't celebrate Christmas in its religious sense, but spiritually it's a chance for family and friends to get together and celebrate each other,” she says. “Plus, who can say no to presents!”

Next week, Nguyen plans to spend New Year’s Eve with her friends, possibly in Court 17. “I'm excited to spend it in good company,” she says.

Ricky Goetz, ’15, an R.A. in Court 17, plans to celebrate the holidays with his family and some of the residents who did not go home for winter break. Goetz is a double major in urban studies and ethnic, gender and labor studies and is a Diversity Resource Center student assistant.

Court 17 staff decorate gingerbread houses for the holiday season. | Photo courtesy Megan Fuhlman.

He is spending Christmas Eve with his dad’s side of the family, which usually has themed parties. Last year, they had a silly string war; this year, they will have a casino night. Goetz will spend tomorrow, Christmas Day, with his mom’s side of the family.

“Christmas, for me, is mostly about coming together to celebrate the magic of the winter season by decorating trees, singing carols, (giving) gifts and sharing memories with family and friends,” he says.

That said, Goetz also hopes to get ahead on some work and submit graduate school applications over the break.

Students choose to live in Court 17 for a variety of reasons, says Megan Fulhman, residence life coordinator, including the very short walk to class, to connect more to campus and to meet new people.

Residence life staff in Court 17 offer educational events year-round, like the Happy Hour Alcohol Awareness event with campus safety. The building houses a large number of social programs, from resident-initiated potlucks to flag football and soccer.  This year, the staff also built gingerbread houses for the holiday season.

Staff’s role is to be “people the residents can look to for leadership, friendship, advice,” says Fuhlman, and to work “to create a safe and healthy environment for our students to live in.”

Learn more about Court 17.

Written by: 
Abby Rhinehart / December 24, 2014
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, Communications, 253-692-4536 or