This year, I am one of only four seniors living in Simpson Res­i­dence.

When some of my friends who live off campus ask me why I still live in the same dorm I lived in as a freshman, I usually tell the story of when I first knew I was meant to be a Simp­sonite — my very first Home­coming Week. I can even remember the exact moment I had the epiphany.

All of the Home­coming teams from across campus were lining up for the parade before the football game. Most of the teams, from the Greek houses to Olds Res­i­dence, were already in their assigned posi­tions, chanting their own spirit week chants.

Needless to say, the men of Simpson weren’t quite as orga­nized. Even though we were spread out across the lawn in front of Central Hall, we all heard it when then-Res­ident Assistant Connor Gleason ‘15, shouted the first line of Simpson’s iconic chant:

“Blood makes the grass grow!”

A crazed horde of what sounded like hun­dreds screamed in reply: “Kill, kill, kill!” I still vividly recall the shocked, scan­dalized faces of sorority girls standing next to us.

That memory of Home­coming Week sticks with me because that was the moment in which I realized that I was part of some­thing I could be proud of, some­thing striving toward excel­lence. I realized I belonged to a com­munity.

In the “Pol­itics,” Aris­totle said, “Though the city orig­i­nates for the sake of staying alive, it exists for the sake of living well.”

For Aris­totle and his stu­dents, including all of us studying the Western her­itage, that means com­mu­nities are devoted to a common good — the vir­tuous life.

Simpson is a com­munity where boys become men. We goof off, we take com­pe­ti­tions too seri­ously, and we some­times break the rules. But we also raise money for charity, help each other with homework, and par­tic­ipate in weekly Bible studies.

I’ve learned more about what it means to be human in the halls of Simpson than any­where else — all from friend­ships I’ve made over my three years in the dorm. When I was a freshman, the upper­classmen I lived with guided me through some of those tough moments we all expe­rience our first year. Now, as an upper­classman living on a hall with more than a dozen freshmen, I have the same oppor­tunity with a new gen­er­ation.

For Simp­sonites, our dorm is the most Hillsdale part of Hillsdale. Walking down to football games together, com­peting in Home­coming, prank wars, late nights spent in deep con­ver­sation — that’s what college is meant to be.

For other stu­dents, the most Hillsdale part of Hillsdale could be a Greek house, an extracur­ricular club, a church group, or another dorm on campus. These groups at Hillsdale can teach us each about what it means live in com­munity with others.

Western civ­i­lization, as any number of angry-sounding con­ser­v­ative com­men­tators will happily bemoan, has for­gotten its purpose. In the shadow of this crisis even Hillsdale stu­dents, who rep­resent the remnant of a more sincere age, often roll their eyes at high-minded ideas like virtue, goodness, truth, and beauty. The tran­scendent has become cliche, and we’ve been trained to blunt that harsh fact with a thick layer of irony.

Liberal edu­cation aims at exploring the tran­scendent. By embracing our campus groups, we can recover a sincere devotion to that prin­ciple. So, freshmen, humor your RA and go to your hall events. Find a Bible study and commit to it. Go find upper­classmen and listen to what they can teach you.

Upper­classmen, you have a respon­si­bility to the freshmen. Seek them out, be there for them, espe­cially during these early months in a strange place far from home. Give them some of your hard-won wisdom, and maybe even learn a few lessons from them in turn.

Everyone at Hillsdale is seeking the Good. I haven’t found a def­i­n­ition with the kind of rigor that would satisfy Dr. Arnn yet. But, during my years here, the closest I’ve gotten is Simpson.