Better Dorms and Sunken Gardens: Upperclassmen Housing Edition

Randolph Complex. AINE CAIN / THE FLAT HAT

Barrett Hall

By: Marie Policastro

Above: chandeliers. Below: beautiful carpets. To your right: elegant furniture. To your left: weirdly explicit paintings of women. Are you in a dorm or an early 20th century hotel?

Well, actually, both. You’re in an on-campus, upperclassmen resident hall.

Looking back on my time spent in Barrett, there are many luxuries that I miss. I can definitely appreciate the close proximity of both kitchens and showers on each hall.

My favorite part of Barrett had to be the most fabulous window on the landing of the third floor. With a ledge to sit on, this window was a perfect perch to gab with new friends, call home to old ones, and, most importantly, Instagram many a sunset pic.

In addition to said window, the most iconic element of Barrett and the place to best appreciate the beauty of the campus is the porch. Furnished with rocking chairs, this porch is just screaming for an amateur ukulele fest, which I can attest happened many times. The Barrett porch is unique to the hall and definitely adds to the overall sense of hall community.

Nothing makes me sadder than to think that freshmen won’t get to experience the amazing residence life I experienced while living in Barrett Hall, but nothing makes me happier than knowing that every student at the College of William and Mary has the opportunity to live in Barrett Hall for three more years than they would have before.


 The Bryan Complex

By: Matthew Camarda

What the Bryan Complex lacks in personality and character, it more than makes up for in utility and centrality.

As a veteran of Yates, a colossus of anarchy that felt far from civilization, I found the Bryan Complex’s general lack of pandemonium and close proximity to the Sadler Center refreshing. No longer do midnight Wawa runs feel like Lord of the Rings style journeys only to be attempted with trusted companions.

While I cannot speak for the quality of all of the five buildings in the Bryan Complex, I have adored my time in Camm Hall. The floors are vomit-free, the bathrooms are always clean and I’ve always had more than enough space in my double room. And with two laundry rooms in separate but connected halls, I’ve never had to wait for laundry.

Of course, connected buildings means that whenever anyone in any building gets a little too creative in the kitchen, every single alarm in every single building goes off. And the frequency of alarms is inevitably higher since there are five buildings. I will never forget when the shower steam in my hall’s bathroom set off the alarm three times in the same morning.

But if you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable and central dorm on campus, the Bryan Complex can’t be beat.


Dupont Hall

By: Katherine Chiglinsky

When August and its terrible companion of hot temperatures and humidity hits, you’ll be glad to have air conditioning. You’ll be glad to have functioning windows to let in a fresh breeze. You’ll be glad to live in Dupont Hall.

Formerly the Taj Mahal of freshman dorms with its air conditioning and suite-style bathrooms, Dupont faces stiffer competition with upperclassman dorms. But do other dorms have a central fireplace which seems ideal and cozy but no one spends time around? No, and the loneliness of Dupont’s fireplace brings with it a bit of charm.

While it still hosts the memories of many freshmen who have inhabited its space, Dupont transitioned fairly easily to an upperclassman dorm. The suite-style bathrooms give residents more space to claim and reduce waiting time for the shower. The rooms are fairly spacious for two people, with enough floor space to fit beds on the ground, two desks, two sets of drawers and two separate closets built into the wall.

Although being perched on top of a hill makes the trek back to Dupont somewhat strenuous, the dorm’s close location to the Commons Dining Hall, New Campus and the Rec compensates for that uphill climb.

And while they kept freshmen from actually using the fireplace, who knows? Maybe they’ll consider it an upperclassman treat and light that sucker one day.


Fraternity Complex

By: Stephen Bennett

Greek life housing has significantly changed since the Units. We finally have our own homes. We have the ability to meet together and foster stronger brotherhood within the chapter. We have a large meeting space for watching sporting events, hosting meetings, and participating in other chapter events in a single and convenient location. The most enjoyable part of Greek life housing is that we get to live with our best friends. More brothers are capable of cooking meals and studying together than was possible in the Units.

Although proximity has benefited us by making us closer, there are flaws to the Fraternity houses. The houses were finished quickly and it seems some design flaws were overlooked.

We have personal air conditioning units, but they only make incremental changes to the temperature. Some items have broken loose and fallen apart, like door handles or showerheads. Additionally, the bathrooms were not designed with proper drains in the showers. This causes pools of water to stagnate in the bathroom until they evaporate. These design issues make it difficult for chapter members to maintain the house and complicate the tasks of the cleaning staff.

Overall, the houses allow us to spread out; we can keep things in bookshelves downstairs and leave personal items in the bathroom, which is a much better set up than the Units featured. Although a lot of design flaws and constant maintenance make living in the house more annoying than enjoyable, we get to spend a lot of time with our brothers and bond more than ever.



By: Max Cea

I look out my window, down, at the ‘people’ passing by. I take a sip of my 1932 vermouth. “Peasants,” I say, shaking my head and looking up at the framed Donald Trump poster on my wall. He nods in agreement.

I know what you’re thinking: Man, this writer’s an elitist jerk!

But you’re wrong. Within the Jamestown Residences, I am merely a resident. The sequence that I described is normal, with some variation in poster — you’re equally likely to see Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital colleagues posing with money on a given resident’s walls.

Yes, Jamestown is the dorm of every underclassman’s dreams — although, to us, ‘dorm’ is a derogatory term; we prefer ‘living quarters’ or ‘student domicile.’ “What makes Jamestown so great?” you ask. Well, the ceilings are high, the hallways are quiet;, each room comes equipped with individual room-controlled heating and air conditioning, it’s close to everything, and all of the furniture is made of rich mahogany (not really). And did I mention that there are piano practice rooms?

To students who don’t live in Jamestown, the student domicile’s residents can all become generalized as an amalgam of a young Randolph or Mortimer Duke (of “Trading Places”). However, residents really are more like Louis and Billy Rae at the end of the film, when Louis says “Looking good, Billy Rae,” and Billy Rae replies, “Feeling good, Louis.”

That being said, I’ve had a lot of problems with the washers and dryers.


Landrum Hall

By: Jillian Bates

Are you that punctual student who sets his or her alarm ten minutes before class begins? If so, Landrum is the dorm for you.

Landrum is centrally located between old campus and new campus. It is about a five-minute walk to either side of campus, which saves those late-rising challenge seekers a whopping five minutes to pull on acceptable clothing.

The rooms in Landrum are a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of freshmen dorms. They are large enough to fit all of your posters on the walls and still have enough room to leave that convenient wall shelving exposed. Will Ferrell will be pleased with this adequate room space for activities.

One might worry about the lack of closeness and community within Landrum because it is an upperclassmen dorm, but this is not the case. While lying in bed, you will know how the girl above you is doing on her paper from whether or not she is picking up and dropping every piece of furniture in her room. And you will know if the pregame your suite-mate is throwing is a complete success or a total bust.

Landrum’s main attraction is the furniture room. It is the main lounge that is located on the first floor. People travel far and wide to nap on the couches. The room is decorated with beautiful chandeliers, a painting of a scholar, pictures of paintings and dated furniture.  It may look like the break room of an 80s furniture warehouse where the scholar is your boss watching you digest, but it is the comfortable break room of a classy 80s furniture warehouse.

Overall, Landrum is no Jamestown, but it is known for its centrality on campus, quality couches, large rooms and the indirect, unwanted closeness of its community.


The Lodges

By: Zachary Frank

Living in a lodge is a lot like meeting one of your heroes. You idolize him from the moment you hear about him, but then, when you meet him, he won’t sign your copy of Sports Illustrated for Kids, and you realize he’s actually infested with ants.

Seriously, who does Derek Jeter think he is?

Some of the Lodges’ patio roofs come pre-equipped with screws from which you can hang a porch swing/hammock/effigy of your enemies. If you live in one of these lodges: Can I come over? There’s nothing like sitting in a porch swing on a warm summer’s eve, sipping a mint julep and watching the world go by. It’s like a country song.

If, however, you find yourself without a hammock, fret not; the concrete is moderately comfortable.

All of the Lodges come with a working fire place, but unless you and your fellow lodge-mates are of a more industrious bent (read: willing to take a one-time class on fire safety), you’ll spend most of your time looking at it, thinking about how nice it would be to have a fire right now.

Perhaps most importantly, living in a Lodge gives you one privilege that no other residence hall can boast of: the privilege to say, “I live in a Lodge.” People respect you more when they hear you say that.

I know I respect myself more for it.


The Ludwell Apartments

By: Rachel Brown

Ludwell Apartments is the place for people who want to have an apartment while still living in on-campus housing. The apartments may be considered on-campus because they are used by the College of William and Mary, but when you consider the trek from Ludwell 400 to Campus Center, you could make your case for calling Ludwell off-campus housing. Some people refer to Ludwell as “Studwell” because of the alleged attractiveness of its residents; whether that attractiveness is inherent or due to the level of physical fitness required to walk the long distance to campus has not yet been determined.

Ludwell has its perks. It’s the only place on campus with decent parking, although having to drive around the one-way circle that encompasses Ludwell can use up quite a bit of gas. It also has a homey feel with a kitchen (that has a dishwasher!), dining room, living room equipped with semi-comfortable furniture, and a bathroom that doesn’t require shower shoes — though the toilet may require emergency maintenance at times. I live in a quad, meaning that there are supposedly two bedrooms for four people. However, my roommate and I agree that we share not a bedroom, but a walk-in closet that could be considered a bedroom for a small child.  By bunking the beds, we created enough floor space to take two full steps before stepping into the hallway.

Living in Ludwell may not be grand, but it beats dorm life any day. And if you get lucky enough to have the walk-in closet bedroom, you’ll be sure to get close to your roommate.

Ludwell Apartments. HANNAH CHO / THE FLAT HAT
Ludwell Apartments. HANNAH CHO / THE FLAT HAT

Old Dominion Hall

By: Zachary Frank

 Like all great works of art and architecture, Old Dominion raises more questions than it answers. Questions like: Where did that cockroach go? How thin do the walls have to be before everyone can hear me singing Kate Bush? Does the Dominos delivery guy remember my face? I faced such questions and more during my ten-week stay at Old Dominion as a summer school student, an experience that left me with a cursory knowledge of the Spanish language, but more importantly, awe for Old Dominion.

Granted: The fact that I previously lived in the Units may have (slightly) colored my appraisal, but months later, it’s still hard to get over the fact that I could adjust my own air conditioning. Also of note: The ceilings were high. It felt like living in a missile silo in the best possible way. It wasn’t Downton Abbey, but it might’ve been Downton Place (you know, the smaller house from season three, just before the show went downhill). The view from my room was pleasant (the welcoming edifice of Wawa is clearly the best view on campus), and the built-in bookshelves did an admirable job of nagging that I really ought to be reading more.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t spend a few moments on the bathrooms: deep purple tiles that make you feel like you’re showering while swaddled in a medieval king’s robes. Charlemagne didn’t have it this good.


One Tribe Place

By: Jack Powers

You can live in a hotel.

Do you like luxury? Have a taste for the finer things in life? There’s a chandelier, grand piano and grandfather clock — and that’s just the first floor. Like I said, it’s a hotel.

Okay, fine, it’s a former hotel. But still, is Jamestown or Landrum or Barrett a former hotel? Well, besides Barrett, are any of those former hotels? No. Because who would want to spend their hard-earned cash to stay in a drab, well-ventilated room in Jamestown when they could contemplate the majesty of Western Civilization at the former Hospitality House?

Not everybody gets an opportunity like this. Sure, there are some minor complications, like the lack of water fountains, scarcity of room lighting and storage space, twice-weekly fire alarms, and, in general, a pervading sense of oppressive, dry air and existential dread. But did you see that nice floral arrangement in the lobby? Spectacular.

That’s culture, my friends, and you shouldn’t close yourself off from it just because of a few cockroaches. Let the Victorian painting of an English hunting scene outside of your room waft over your senses for an hour or two and you’ll understand.


The Randolph Complex

By: Katie Seifert

The Randolph Complex is the College of William and Mary’s own little spot for small-scale world traveling. Giles, Pleasants and Preston Halls house the Hispanic, French, Africana, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic Houses. Here, you will always find people reveling in different cultures, whether through cooking food, watching movies or speaking the language with the native-speaking tutor that lives in each house. These halls all contain rooms around a spacious kitchen, dining room and living room area.

The Language Houses are not the only thing the Randolph Complex has to offer: Cabell and Nicholas are two apartment buildings that are extremely sought after on campus and that go incredibly fast during housing selection.

The two other buildings that complete the Randolph Complex are Harrison and Page, both of which consist entirely of singles and huge lounges.

While the layout of the Randolph Complex can be confusing at first, residents quickly get the hang of it. Not only are residents close to the Commons Dining Hall and the Rec Center, but they also get to enjoy the lounges and study rooms of Tazewell Hall, located at the center of the complex. For many, the Randolph Complex simulates the freshman-hall feel of closeness while maintaining the advantages of being an upperclassmen dorm.

Randolph Complex. AINE CAIN / THE FLAT HAT
Randolph Complex. AINE CAIN / THE FLAT HAT

Sorority Court

By: Ariel Cohen

Just like Hannah Montana, you can have the “best of both worlds” living in Sorority Court. If you’re not quite willing to make the move off campus, the brick cottages just off Richmond Road provide all the benefits of on-campus housing while still maintaining an off-campus feel.

There are no live-in resident assistants; instead there are housing assistants who occasionally walk through while doing rounds. The houses also have kitchens, and if the dishwasher breaks, you can call Facilities Management to take a look at it.

If your classes are on old campus, you can pretty much just roll out of bed and make it to class within three minutes, maximum. If you love cider walks or running through Colonial Williamsburg, you’re right next to Duke of Gloucester Street.

But the best part is that if you’re a people person, you’ll always have multiple people to hang out with. Some people think that the sorority houses are overcrowded, but when else in your life will you get to live with 16 of your best friends? Life in a sorority house is organized chaos. You may get frustrated at times, but you’ll also laugh and create memories. And you’ll do all this just a stone’s throw away from Aromas. What’s not to love?


Tribe Square

By: Julian Samaroo

Tribe Square is a unique dorm. It is apartment style, with four students in each apartment. Unlike Ludwell, every student has his own single, complete with a walk-in closet, slightly upgraded furniture and a full bed (which is awesome). Each apartment has a decent kitchen (silverware and cooking appliances not included) and comes with great furniture, such as a rather comfortable sectional couch, a coffee table and a dinner table. The apartments are spacious and have a lot of room for storage.

In addition to this awesome apartment, the bottom floor of the building houses Subway, Pita Pit, Mooyah and the Crust. Additionally, Wawa and more bars and eating establishments are just a short walk down Richmond Road. And if you have a lot of classes on the Sunken Garden, then it’s less than a five-minute walk to most of those buildings.

As is to be expected, there are some downsides to Tribe Square — one of which is the ultra-thin walls. You can hear everything. As long as you don’t mind hearing loud party music and drunk seniors, you’ll be fine (earplugs are a great investment). Constant fire alarms are the only other issue, as the businesses downstairs can set off alarms in the entire complex. Believe me, the alarms are loud and are set off rather often. All in all, Tribe Square is a great place to live.  I recommend living there if you have money to spend and a great time slot.




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