photo - residence hall room at Leadville.

Residence Hall vs. Dorm

What’s the Difference?

The word “dorm” comes from the Latin word dormitus which means literally “to sleep.” As we all know, so much more happens in college than classes and sleeping; and much of that activity happens in our residence halls. Here at Colorado Mountain College we are dedicated to not only providing a safe place to live, but also carrying education outside of the classroom and into the residence hall.

Our hope is to provide meaningful and beneficial programming and activities that develop the whole self. From involvement in the Residence Hall Association to individual attention from your Resident Assistant, we provide a variety of services to help you, our residents, become successful.

Our residence life staff work hard to provide the best experience possible, and they make the difference between a dorm and a residence hall.

We find that this story helps people to better understand the difference…

Ship vs. Boat

On a Caribbean cruise some time ago, a wealthy passenger, a jeweler by trade, enthusiastically approached the captain proclaiming, “Captain, your boat is simply marvelous!”  In graciously acknowledging the compliment, the captain pointed out that the use of the term “boat” was inappropriate, and that the boat was indeed a ship.  The passenger, not understanding the distinction, promised never again to utter such a reference.

After several days of confinement on the captain’s ship, the passenger/jeweler again approached the captain to inquire as to when the boat would next take port.  Not being the most tolerant, the captain angrily replied, “If you insist on referring to my ship as a ‘boat,’ I must counter with reference to expensive pearls as ‘beads.'”  Sudden enlightenment struck the passenger; the faux pas was understood.  A boat will get you from here to there and little else.  A ship serves many functions and provides a variety of services in getting a passenger from here to there.

The “boat” can indeed be a graceful ship, and likewise the “dorm” can be a dynamic, multipurpose residence hall. A residence hall serves as a community center and impact the lives and personal development of students during travels from freshmen year to graduation.

(Adapted from “Why Do We Call Them Residence Halls” at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst)