Welcome to Willard Residential College!

We are so excited to meet our new Woos!

A message from your Faculty Chair:

Dear Incoming Willard Residents:

As the Faculty Chair of Willard Residential College, I am delighted to welcome you to Northwestern’s oldest and liveliest residential college.  You are joining an exceptionally able group of Northwestern students, a vibrant community, and a rich tradition you will love and remember long after you graduate!

Willard students are famous for having real spirit.  They discuss everything from college life to great philosophical or political problems with enthusiasm and respect for each other’s opinions.  We differ, and we love it.  Willard features a cohesive community, and your own unique interests and active participation will prove essential to shaping the programmatic direction this year.  We have no mold into which you must fit and no set of beliefs to which you must conform.  Many ways exist for you to become involved, and you are encouraged to exercise creativity.  “Creativity” is the Willard watchword!

And creativity was on display this past spring when Willard adapted to new pandemic conditions. Just as our new exec (elected student governing group) took over, the pandemic hit.  With amazing dedication, they showed that Willard spirit is no less real when virtual.  And Willard faculty fellows still “showed up” for events with students.  Nothing wilts Willard!

Just over two years ago, Willard moved into new, renovated facilities.  The new building is truly amazing, the best on campus.  It facilitates the building of community and sheer fun.  You will love it!

We don’t know yet what move-in day will be like, but we do know that members of the Executive Board and the Community Assistant team will be here to welcome you and help you settle in.   Along with Associate Chair Christine Helmer and Assistant Chair Connor Bain, I will host a reception for your parents – either virtually or in the Willard First Floor Lounge (WFFL), also known as the “Waffle.” Later we will greet you in the same real or virtual space.  We are all looking forward to meeting you!

Christine Helmer is Professor of Religious Studies and German in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Committed to building a community at Willard, she is open to discovering the unique perspectives we all bring into conversation as we learn how to be scholars and persons together.  Her teaching and research has to do with the formation of the modern West, particularly the legacy of German thought, and how theology can be an intellectual practice in the study of religion.  She is also interested in sports and classical music, and is eager to talk with you about things that matter to you. 

Connor Bain is a Ph.D. student in computer science and learning sciences studying how to help teachers integrate computational thinking into their classrooms.  He serves as the point person for helping us coordinate day-to-day programmatic and administrative matters for faculty-student activities.  He is always available to help Willard residents with issues big or small–whether it be helping with your homework or figuring out what classes to take.  You can usually find him in his Willard office in the WFFL or at any Willard event that has food.

Every fall I offer the gigantic Russian 210-2, Introduction to Russian Literature, in which we read the two greatest novels ever written, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. A special aspect of this class is an extra informal discussion group for Willard students.  Our faculty fellows offer seminars at Willard from time to time as well.  I sincerely hope that you will consider taking these classes and make the effort to get to know our faculty at our many events as well as over lunch at our dining hall.  This is what the residential college experience is all about!

Gary Saul Morson

Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities, Faculty Chair of Willard RC

A message from your Exec Board:

Dear Woos,

On behalf of the Willard community, we wanted to personally welcome you to Willard Residential College! Our Exec board, returnees, faculty and fellows, residential staff, and RAs are so excited to have you join our Willard family. Soon, you will be arriving at the Woo-shack with your impressive enthusiasm and over-packed bags to move into the best residential college on campus! Before you start preparing to move in, you can read a little more about the place you will be calling home with this link

One of the best things about Willard is that every resident contributes to our community in a unique way. Whether it’s giving firesides, attending events with our faculty fellows, playing for our intramural sports teams, or playing board games in the WFFL, there are so many different ways for you to get involved. You should also look forward to weekly Willard traditions including Coffee Hour, Sitdown Sitcom, and Munchies. And don’t forget about our annual traditions like Willard Formal in Chicago and 1002 Chicken Nuggets! Wondering what the WFFL and all of these fun events are? Check out this link for descriptions of Willard events and traditions!

If you want to learn more about Willard or start connecting with some of your fellow Woos, you can check out the rest of our website and follow us on Instagram @thewooshack! We cannot wait to meet all of you on move-in day and welcome you into the Willard community. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and we will see you all in the fall!

‘Sko Woos,

Willard Exec 2020-2021