Not all freshmen dorms created equal
August 19, 2010
__When winning or losing the housing lottery, it is all up to fate, and now the residence life gods have spoken. The chosen few will live in cool, air-conditioned dorms close to everything important on campus, while the unlucky ones are sentenced to nine months of long walks, crowded spaces and uncomfortable temperatures. Freshman dorms define not only where a new student lives, but their friendships and part of their identity for the next four years.__
Although looks aren’t everything, the fact that Barrett Hall resembles a colonial hotel is one of the biggest perks of living there. That should say a lot, seeing as its scenic and accessible location on campus already makes it a good dorm to live in. However, after a long day of classes, nothing is more satisfying than retiring on the front porch. It’s conducive to everything from studying to loitering, and it is especially good for reconvening with friends on weekend nights as everyone returns from their outings. However, be conscious that the boys’ bathroom is right above the porch, so don’t get caught staring. Beware of water balloons and know that anyone occupying the bathroom can probably hear every conversation below. Tours in Barrett are constant and many, so master the art of looking cool for prospective students and awkwardly weaving through stampedes of parents. The lobby is a great mix of socialization and studying. The comfortable chairs are easy to study in, but you will always be guaranteed the distraction of people coming in and out of the dorm, which makes it even better. All in all, Barrett makes a great place to live freshman year as long as you have air conditioning or “allergy-prone” friends. Barrett provides plenty of adventures for the creative, so enjoy the time you have there. Hint: the extremely bored and easily amused should take a tour of the paintings on the first floor. They are … eclectic?
__– Althea Lyness__
*The Botetourt Complex*
The first question incoming freshmen usually ask about The Botetourt Complex is, “Is it as bad as everyone says?” For some, the answer is yes. Spotswood, Fauquier, Gooch, Nicholson and Dinwiddie Halls are far away from practically everything, surrounded by woods, small and severely lacking in cool air during Williamsburg’s sweltering summers. For those who embrace the pitfalls of the Bot, freshman year can be a glorious experience. That long walk to class in the morning, those first few weeks, or months for the directionally challenged, of trying to find the fastest path to any given point instills in Botetourtians an appreciation for all of campus not cultivated if living in other dorms. One of the most important spots that Botetourt residents know better than all others is found in the very woods behind Nicholson: the dock at the Keck Lab. Perfect for sunbathing, studying or sneaking off to, the dock is a boon to any Botetourt resident who seeks a little privacy. For a more sociable feel, simply hang out in the courtyards on a sunny day and meet the strangers in the building across from yours. The rather pathetic size and stifling humidity help to bring residents together in the lounges, the only place with any air conditioning, creating dorms with close-knit — albeit sweaty — freshmen. Once everyone stops giggling over the dorm names, freshmen will learn the wonderful quaintness of living in Botetourt.
__– Jill Found__
When looking at the College, most people see how close it is to Colonial Williamsburg and think, “Well, that’s cool,” and never really give it a second thought. When they enter their freshman year, they venture into CW to hang out in the Governor’s Palace Garden or pick up some bread ends at the Cheese Shop, but few ever experience the full extent of CW like those who live in Brown Hall. For those freshmen with no budget at all and a course load full of English and history classes, nothing could be better. However for the average freshmen Brown has quite a few drawbacks. Going anywhere besides Old Campus, be it Millington for a psychology class or the Units for a party, is quite the hike. Like the Botetourt Complex, Brown seems to be on the edges of campus life, however, instead of being surrounded by woods, residents of Brown get to enjoy the cute shops of CW and become friends with the baristas at Aromas. If nothing else, Brownians will surely appreciate the adorable garden right next to Brown perfect for studying or just hanging out on a pretty day as well as the screened in porches and tall ceilings that no other dorm on campus can rival.
__– Jill Found__
Congratulations, class of 2014 Dupont Hall residents, because for all intents and purposes, you have hit the jackpot. As you will soon begin to realize, Lady Luck has bestowed upon you the honor of living in the Taj Mahal of William and Mary’s freshman dorms. You won’t have to sweat in the summer thanks to the air conditioning, and you don’t have regularly sprint down the hallway in a towel thanks to your suite bathrooms. You are living in a building which was constructed in 1957, which is practically brand-new by Williamsburg’s standards. While you will be living in the lap of luxury for the next year, be careful to not get spoiled. Although Dupont’s halls seem to be a gleaming beacon of an excellent housing system, you will soon be thrust into the hard, cold reality of sophomore housing, which is far from coddling you will receive this year. In the meantime, be sure to explore Dupont’s less obvious perks. The lounges are always filled with interesting and intoxicated people, but the balconies provide a nice, airy escape from cabin fever. Make sure to explore the basement, which includes a full kitchen, piano and plenty of quiet space to study. The Pit, located in ground floor, contains a fireplace that doesn’t work and couches that never have cushions, but always has room for those who wish to socialize. Above all, be thankful and enjoy Dupont’s perks while you still can. It only takes one incredibly humid and cramped night with the cockroaches in the ghetto across the street to realize just how good you have got it this year.
__– Mike Barnes__
After walking in the two sets of front doors, the immediate rush of hot musty air is the first indication of life to come while living in Hunt Hall. Like many dorms at the College, Hunt is only air-conditioned in the lounges, but these become hot-spots, or cool-spots, for hall bonding time. Those living on the second and third floors may be excited to hear that Hunt is equipped with a functioning elevator, but in all honesty, the stairs are a much safer — and cleaner and more sanitary — option. As for Hunt’s relations with the rest of campus — be ready for isolation. Most people on campus have never heard of Hunt, much less ventured past to visit. And for food, the Marketplace will become a convenient best friend and hated enemy — two months of taco salad only sounds delicious. But besides a few draw backs like no air conditioning and tiny itty-bitty rooms, Hunt does come with some perks. The first floor rooms all have suite bathrooms, and the first floor triple is the best room in the building . Hunt was originally a hospital, and this room, the front office suite, comprising of two rooms are separated by floor to ceiling shelving. The remote location makes for excellent hall bonding, and all the best kept secrets of Colonial Williamsburg like Kimball Theatre are right out the back door. So after getting used to the strange smell that permeates the entire building, plan some movie nights with hallmates, take a stroll around CW, and enjoy the Marketplace before trying every meal combination 15 times.
__– Jessica Gold__
*Jefferson Hall Basement*
Freshmen living in Jefferson Hall Basement are in for a bit of a shock. Not only are they thrust into the basement of a rather imposing looking building, but to top it all off, they are directly under three floors of upperclassmen. After adjusting to the dim lighting of the basement, freshmen will soon realize the many benefits of living in J-Base. The co-ed hall is the only freshmen hall in the building, creating a lasting bond among residents of the basement. The dorm itself has a central location on campus, with Old Campus only a few feet away and the Marketplace right across the street. When the Marketplace gets old, the Sadler Center is just across the Sunken Garden. Even though there aren’t many freshmen in Jefferson, Barrett Hall is next door and there are many other freshman dorms near by for plenty of companionship. Take advantage of the close proximity to Colonial Williamsburg by taking a stroll down DoG Street for some hot apple cider. While living in the basement may not seem appealing at first, the sense of camaraderie and companionship quickly make up for what the dorm lacks in overall appearance and location.
__– Ellie Kaufman__
As far as dorms go, incoming freshmen could do a lot worse than Yates Hall. Although it’s not as pretty as Barett Hall or as humorously named as Gooch Hall, Yates still has a lot to offer to the newest members of the Tribe. With the Commons Dining Hall, the Student Recreation Center and the Units only a quick rance away, Yates residents never have to feel disconnected from the rest of campus life. However, residents would be well-advised to expand their culinary horizons beyond their front yard’s Commons Dining Hall, as heat lamp pizzas and a salad bar can get very old very fast. As the second biggest freshmen dorm, Yates is a social hub bristling with activity — mainly centered around Yates Field, located directly in front of the dorm (read: free koozies). The tables, beach volleyball court and baseball backstop, usually full of cafeteria apples in various stages of decay, bring entertainment during the warmer months. Also essential for the sweltering Williamsburg summers: Yates is one of the two freshman dorms with individual room air-conditioning units. This really is the biggest advantage Yates has over other residence halls.
__– Chris McKenna__
Some people have all the luck. Freshman moving into Monroe today are certainly among those. The perfect location and a beautiful dorm, what more could you ask for? Well, besides air conditioning? But here at William and Mary, that’s pushing it. Plus, the location is to die for. Out the one door you have the beautiful Sunken Garden for all your sunny studying and Frisbee throwing needs as well as the classrooms of Old Campus, for your less relaxing adventures. Take the other door and you’re practically in front of Wawa, something which can come in handy at three in the morning. On game days your walk to Zable Stadium is drastically shorter than that of most and every other day you have great access to the Sadler Center and the Daily Grind if you want to grab a bite to eat or simply just hang out with your friends. So what if you don’t have ac and there is a creepy mini cemetery right out front of your building? When the entire William and Mary campus is your oyster, you really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.
__– Jill Found__
Tally-a-ferro? Tal-i-af-erro? Tall-ia-pharoah? After receiving their housing assignments no other group on campus has the look of complete confusion when asked to say aloud where they were going to live. Hopefully by now those living there found out that it is pronounced “Tolliver” and is the smallest freshman dorm on campus. The benefits to such a small dorm include the fact that it is a few short steps away from the Marketplace, a quick walk to the Colonial Williamsburg, and right across the street from Old Campus. Aside from that, everything is pretty much a medium to long walk away from the building itself. While Taliaferro itself might not have that many perks, it is close to other freshman dorms including Hunt Hall and Brown Hall who can bond over their equally poor location on campus and unfortunate housing circumstances.