This piece previously wrote that Adna Wright Leonard was a woman, not a man. The article has been updated with this correction.
Over the summer, I went to Cedar Point, an amusement park in Ohio, and ran into someone who would be attending American University as a freshman with me this fall. After introducing myself and chatting about our majors, the excitement of college and pre-college jitters that every freshman feels, he asked what dorm I was in. I told him that I was going to live in Leonard Hall and his facial expression changed. I can still see that look of utter bewilderment in my mind. He said he didn’t know it existed, and afterward my friend laughed at me for confusing the poor guy.
For the students who think that Leonard doesn’t exist, you are wrong. We definitely do. That first interaction made me worried because I thought that I would be stranded by myself in a dorm far away from everyone else: away from all the friends I had made at orientation, away from the nice, new dorm renovations and far away from socializing. However, on my first night of college I realized how wrong I was. Everyone was so nice and accepting, because we all realized that we had to bond together if we wanted to have a social life at AU. We were all separated from the other freshman dorms. I knew that over the first few weeks, everyone was going to be nice and thoughtful because we all came in friendless and alone. To this day, Leonard Hall kids are still kind to me and we still hang out every day.
I might be partial to Leonard simply because almost all of my friends live there and it’s easy to see them whenever I please. Furthermore, my roommate and I are best friends here at AU. My room in Leonard makes me feel comfy and safe throughout the daily stress of college life, and I’m thankful for that. AU pride? How about Leonard pride?
I also like Leonard because you simply can’t get lost. I have friends in the other freshman dorms and whenever I go to Anderson, Centennial or Letts, I always get lost. The buildings are two large dorms connected to each other and it takes forever to find my friends’ rooms. There are too many hallways that branch off at weird spots or dead ends. Leonard, on the other hand, is one straight hallway. There is no chance to get lost as you can only go straight.
Now I don’t believe in ghosts, but when I found out that Leonard Hall is considered the most haunted building on campus, I laughed out loud, but I was still intrigued. After a lot of online research, I discovered that Adna Wright Leonard, the man the building was named after, died in a plane crash in 1943. Legend has it, she still roams the dorm’s halls, but I know that if I ever came across her ghost, I would have a strong community to protect me.
Although Leonard does not have a great lounge, our kitchen sometimes floods because someone put rocks down the sink and we may have a ghost haunting the dorm, it does have genuinely good people. Living in a dorm like Leonard where I feel comfortable with the people I live with has helped me call AU my home away from home.
Georgina DiNardo is a freshman in the School of Communication and an opinion staff columnist.