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Room of Requirement founder hopes legacy will live on at Saadiyat

Photo credit: via It is hard to believe NYUAD went through an entire year before Room of Requirement was created. The Facebook group is ...

Mar 11, 2013

Photo credit: via
It is hard to believe NYUAD went through an entire year before Room of Requirement was created. The Facebook group is essential for students posting information about events and obtaining — or in some cases, retaining — cooking supplies, food and books of all sorts. The social media hub is synonymous with campus life at NYUAD.
Given its familiar name and vast use among the student population, it is remarkable that the concept was created by just one individual, junior Mark Hoffman.
“It was the summer in between our freshman year and before sophomore year,” Hoffman explained. “Before any of the second year students arrived.”
At that point, the NYUAD Student Life page was only Facebook resource for the community to share campus news and notifications. This resulted in a confusing clutter of posts from lost student IDs to where students could find free food.
“Originally, people wanted a lost and found page,” Hoffman said. “But, I figured it would be better if it was a ‘whatever you require,’ so that it wasn’t so specific as a lost and found page. No one is really going to check a lost and found page if they haven’t lost anything.”
After adding a few students to RoR, Hoffman described its growth as a chain effect, and that “within a couple of hours it was pretty much the whole school.” Granted, the inaugural class was only 150 students so it did not take long for everyone to catch word of the latest addition to the community.
The group’s name is a reference to “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” In the book, the room only appears when a character desperately needs it. While it may have been the inspiration for the page, RoR has expanded far beyond an as-needed basis. It has become a staple to the school’s culture, reflecting the tight-knit and helpful manner of the community. Sophomore Valentina Vela described it as the perfect example of community at NYUAD. “I have been able to find information regarding Abu Dhabi, NYU, and more immediate things like where to buy ginger at 2am or how late the buses run,” Vela said. “Room of Requirement connects us, and it allows us to be actively thinking about the needs of others while also feeling cared for."
NYUNY Junior Jessica de Oliveira remembers the first time she posted on RoR as a study abroad student this fall. “It took me a while to feel comfortable enough posting in it,” de Oliveira said. “The trajectory of my comfort levels here is definitely related to how comfortable I felt posting in Room of Requirement. I remember the first time I posted. I looked at my post — I read it over a few times and edited it. I wanted to give everyone the right impression with my first.”
Despite studying in Berlin this semester, Hoffman admits that he still checks RoR to get a taste of what is happening in Sama Tower while away.
“I don’t know many of the freshmen,” Hoffman explains. “It’s also a nice way to gauge with how the community is changing as well.”
As the move to Saadiyat approaches, Hoffman believes it will be up to the freshmen class to establish the transition for a sustainable RoR.
“The thing with Room of Requirement is I didn’t really ask people, ‘do you want this?’” Hoffman said. “Eventually freshmen will stop asking, ‘Can we make another page?’ and they will just make another page because they’re annoyed.”
While he created the inaugural version of RoR, Hoffman is not participating in the transition for the page due to obligations he anticipates for next year such as his capstone project.
“Eventually there will be a need for a more efficient way to allocate information,” Hoffman said. Overall, the creator of RoR does hope to see the name continue. “I think it would be fun if 20 years from now, Room of Requirement is maybe some futuristic type of page or maybe a real place on campus,” he said.
Nina Bayatti is managing editor. Email her at
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