The Lakeside Life

June 08, 2021

By Stephanie Rizzo ’09

Picture this—it’s a perfectly sunny Florida day, and you head to the pool, just outside your res hall. Along the way, you stop at a touch-screen kiosk to order lunch, and a few minutes after you settle into a lounge chair to catch some rays, your order arrives. Beyond the lushly landscaped terrace is a shining lake. You see the waterski team practicing from where you’re sitting. An hour or so later, you pack up and meet your study group in the student lounge overlooking the courtyard. Afterward, you go upstairs to your apartment, where your roommates are hosting a game night. Just another day in the neighborhood—Lakeside Neighborhood, that is—Rollins’ revolutionary 250,000-square-foot residential facility on the southeast shoreline of campus.

The term “neighborhood” isn’t just a catchy moniker. It’s a philosophy that describes a new kind of collegiate community—a place to forge lifelong connections alongside a lifelong love of learning while nourishing both your mind and body through an infrastructure of support. In addition to living space for 500 students, Lakeside features a host of amenities that support the College’s liberal arts ethos while making life just a little bit easier. And it’s not just residents who get to enjoy the perks of this living and learning community. Lakeside’s communal areas are open to all Tars.

“Living, learning, and engagement are central to the Rollins experience,” says Leon Hayner, Rollins’ dean of students. “When we started thinking about Lakeside, we focused on the concept of balance. How do we provide students with a community space while also giving them ample personal space? And that doesn’t just mean privacy, but a space that feels personal to each student. We wanted Lakeside to feel like home.”

Photos by Scott Cook.

And what says home more than comfort, care, and a focus on well-being? Students have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center and a brand-new movement studio offering every kind of class you can imagine—from meditation and yoga to kickboxing and hip-hop cardio. The existing campus convenience store—or C-Store, as we call it— has been expanded to offer pantry staples and fresh produce as well as a full cafe menu featuring sandwiches, pastries, espresso drinks, and smoothies.

Private study rooms invite quiet contemplation while an array of collaborative workspaces throughout the neighborhood make it easy to get creative with your fellow Tars. Want to take that collaboration up a notch? You won’t have to go far. Lakeside houses a number of on-site student services like the Office of Residential Life & Explorations, which focuses on creating holistic living and learning environments, and the Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement, which facilitates more than 150 student organizations.

And, of course, when it’s time to decompress, Lakeside’s main courtyard is the place to be—whether it’s a game of volleyball in the pool or a firepit by the lake to serenade your sweetheart beneath the cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss. Lakeside is a magical place that’s built for making memories.

“I’d sum up Lakeside Neighborhood like this,” says international business major Matt Hengelsberg ’21, a resident assistant. “It feels like you’re on vacation, but it’s where you live. Every apartment has a different vibe, and it’s really cool to see how each group of roommates is personalizing their space. And the full-size kitchens are the best for family-style meals. We like doing breakfast for dinner.”

Speaking of the kitchen, a four-person island serves as the centerpiece of the expertly outfitted space ideal for sharing a meal or hunkering down for a late-night study session. Off the kitchen is the living room, complete with a couch and a 50-inch wall-mounted TV—perfect for hooking up a gaming console or binging the latest must-watch show. Perhaps the best part, though? Each apartment comes with its own in-unit washer and dryer.

“It’s been so nice not having to walk up three flights of stairs to do my laundry,” says Hengelsberg, who also enjoys the sense of independence that comes with having his own space.

The majority of the suites include four private bedrooms, and each apartment features private bathrooms with walk-in showers and LED vanity mirrors. In suites with two students to a room, each roomie has a walk-in closet.

When the pandemic put a limit on large gatherings, Hengelsberg and the other RAs found creative ways to make community members feel connected. For instance, they went door to door, dropping off microwave s’more kits and ingredients for root beer floats because, yeah, here at Rollins we take care of each other.

And that’s what Lakeside is all about—making connections, living well, learning new things, and growing both individually and together as you create your best #RollinsLife.

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