What's up with housing?
Over the past two years, Colby has witnessed many housing changes in the name of Colby360. Two years ago, East Quad, Williams and Pierce, then substance-free, were exchanged for Heights and Averill, then regular. I hold this to be a fair exchange: East Quad for Heights, both good in a second tier way--nice bathrooms and many two-room doubles and triples for a nice common room and many quads; Williams and Pierce for Averill--private and renovated for larger and more centrally located. The generally-cited reason for this change was that there were stigmas associated with the dorms--East and Heights especially--and Campus Life wanted to reintegrate campus, a wise and just decision.
However, last spring, Campus Life did the unthinkable; it sacrificed Mary Low and Coburn, long dedicated to substance-free and quiet lifestyles, on the altar of diversity. Campus Life had been charged by the Colby360 plan to "advance the understanding of diversity and difference among students," and, while they certainly did that by fighting the aforementioned stigmas, they blundered badly when they redesignated Mary Low and Coburn as regular housing. There are several problems I have, generally involving Mary Low and Coburn's new status.
First, as there were no stigmas associated with Mary Low and Coburn, the reason given for the redesignation of these two is faulty. Campus Life wants to ensure that students have different neighbors each year to encourage "understanding of...difference." However, Colby's housing system is lottery-based--each student randomly gets a number. The lottery ensures that you are unlikely to live in the same building more than once, regardless of dorm designations. Furthermore, the room draw system, which changes annually, designates which gender and class year can live in which rooms in every dorm. The chances that you will live next door to a person of the same age and gender two years in a row is very slim; the chances that you will have the exact same neighbors two years in a row is practically impossible. Thus, the room draw system can also be said to produce random results. These two factors ensure that every year, you will be living around different people and learning about the diversity that they bring to campus, regardless of the dorm in which you live.
Second, Mary Low, Heights and Averill were exchanged for West Quad, Taylor and Sturtevant this past spring. Let us compare last year's substance-free dorms to this year's. Mary Low, last year's most desirable chem-free dorm (based on how quickly it filled up during room draw), offers beautiful bathrooms, large bedrooms, quads and two great common areas--the Coffee House and the common room. West Quad, the most desirable of this year's bunch, offers many two-room doubles and triples, a good location and--my personal favorite--damages from last school year, like holes in the walls where hooks and pictures used to be. West's common room is also practically useless due to its location next to bedrooms and "courtesy hours." To compare the less-desired dorms, Heights and Averill, to Taylor and Sturtevant, is almost laughable. While the first two offer large, secluded common rooms, the latter, smaller two offer one single-sex bathroom per floor and small common rooms. Another personal favorite, Taylor and Sturtevant have hallways leading to the rest of Hillside, from which those who have been over-served might wander with destructive intent. This brings me to a sub-point. Substance-free and quiet students take care of their dorms and do not destroy them (please compare West's and Treworgy's total of $0 dorm damage with East's total $1,708.54 and Perkins-Wilson's total $559.79 of dorm damage). This disparity leads me to conclude that substance-free and quiet students, who have shown that they treat their dorms well, should be left with the nicer, undamaged dorms, such as Mary Low and Coburn.
Third, Coburn was (illogically) exchanged for Anthony and Treworgy. Coburn has thick walls and isolated common rooms that enable quiet lifestyles. Anthony, although in the most recently constructed dorm on campus, shares the building with regular Mitchell and Schupf. Likewise, Treworgy is on Roberts (read: Frat) Row. In both of these parts of campus, loud parties are wont to start on Thursday night, spread to the rest of the building and Frat Row, and continue into the wee hours of the next morning. This is not conducive to quiet living.
Thus, despite faulty logic, despite the ineQuality of the switch, despite the apparent difference in dorm damage charges and fines, chem-free and quiet students still lost Mary Low, Heights, Averill and Coburn in exchange for West, Taylor, Sturtevant, Anthony and Treworgy. The expression you're probably searching for is "substance-free and quiet got shafted." I can only agree and wonder if Campus Life will continue to encourage the campus drinking culture with nicer dorms in the future.