Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

As is custom for many college students living in standard dorm rooms, my roommate and I have strategically placed a dry-erase board directly to the right of our door. Looking down the hall, it is noticeable that the majority of our fellow Caughlin Hall residents shared the same idea. One’s mind can’t help but be captured by the infinitude of words, phrases, and drawings which line the narrow hall. And so it is only proper that I document the five most economic, creative, and all around greatest uses of the infamous dorm room white board. Behold the threshold of the college student.

1. Quote of the Day

Cliché? Yes. Mundane and useless? No. College is a busy time, and with all of the running around, studying, and social activities, it’s very easy to forget your favorite pastime – looking up life quotes online. To ensure that you’re keeping up to date with your fair share of Wilde, Twain, and Thoreau, convert your white board into a quote of the day billboard. Make it a mix of comedy, wisdom, and calamity – a collection of the good, the bad, and the knowledgeable.

I love to entertain the idea that one’s favorite quotes serve as a window into their truer self and genuine character. And so it is a subtle gift to be able to wake up and give people this window into my subconscious. Whether or not they notice is their own predicament, but when I see an Asimov quote scribbled on someone’s whiteboard, I am sure to take note.

My quote of the day: “Being a humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you’re dead.” – Kurt Vonnegut

        2.  Caricatures of Uncle Sam and Other Miscellaneous Cultural Icons

For reasons yet to be discovered, many of the white boards in my hall include comedic sketches of famous figures. We’ve had Uncle Sam on this one kid’s board for a week or so now, and every now and then Obama will show up somewhere. You can treat your white board as your very own political cartoon, or maybe pop cultural cartoon. Though artistic prowess is hard to come by and the best sketches usually take a fair amount of time to draw, the caricature route for one’s white board is by far the most impressive and will definitely force people to pause for more than just a quick glance as they walk by your room.

       3. Question of the Day

This idea was brought to my attention by one of my classmates just a few days ago. She applauded my daily quote, but also suggested I try a question of the day – one which people could answer if they chose to. The question of the idea is a unique idea because it gives to the white board an interactive quality. It is no longer just the property or the artwork of the student whose door it hangs on, but now invites all who pass by to share their thoughts or experiences with the entirety of the hall. Questions may be as simple as “what is your favorite color?” or as philosophical as “do we learn more from reason or experience?” The questions are, much like the quotes, symbolic of the people asking them. And the answers can only spark further thought and reflection. As long as your dorm is somewhat respectful, (aka not drawing male genitalia on every other white board), then the question of the day is an interesting route to take.

       4. Song of the Day

If you’re like me, then you’re obnoxiously excited to share your music taste with just about everyone you meet. It doesn’t matter what setting I’m in, I’m constantly suggesting songs or handing people new music to get into. An efficient way to ease one’s insatiable desire to share his or her taste in music is to choose a song of the day and write it on the dorm’s white board. Of course, if you’re the kid that’s writing the poor lyricism of 2 Chainz every other day, then your brain probably isn’t big enough to handle the upkeep of a dorm white board, let alone the strenuous college courses you’ve most likely performed unspeakable acts just to get into. Stick to the indie classics, my friend.

        5. Communication

Since texting is clearly impractical and inefficient, email is outdated, and Twitter and Facebook are too mainstream to even think of using, some of my hall mates insist on broadcasting their lives and schedules on their white boards. This level of “communication” on the white board is extremely unnecessary and rather obnoxious to see every time you stroll down the hall. That being said, a reasonable level of communication via the white board is encouraged between and among roommates. For example, “(Insert roommate’s name), phone dead, locked out of room, find me in lounge or dining hall,” was seen in my friend’s dorm the other day. Clearly this is a situation in which using the white board as a message board is acceptable. And it can be a lifesaver.

So review this list and weigh your options carefully. The dorm white board is a crucial part of your personhood in college. Your hall mates will associate you with whatever is on your board – so keep it clean and make sure what you put on there is reflective of your character and personality. Viva la white board.

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the author

Eric Aldieri is a junior at Villanova University double majoring in Philosophy and Humanities. You can contact him at or @ealdi94 .

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  1. Rebecca on September 27, 2013

    ‘Twitter and Facebook are too mainstream to even think of using…’ please tell me you’re not one of those people who only thinks things are cool when NO ONE uses them but themselves – which is shit because that is the exact opposite of the definition of ‘cool’.

    • Eric Aldieri Author on September 27, 2013

      Hi, Rebecca. Sorry if it wasn’t made clear, but I was being satirical and sarcastic with that comment. – Eric

  2. Rebekah on September 11, 2014

    I love your quote by Kurt Vonnegut.

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