One of the nicest aspects of campus life is that you are provided on campus housing for all four years - there are a variety of options that are open to all students beginning freshman year. Most freshman opt to live in dorms, but you have a choice between all freshman dorms and multi-class housing, most live with one other roomie, though you can get a single your freshman year and triples do happen. However, there is always plenty of space, dorms at many other state institutions offer about 1/3 of the space, normally for three people. Wesleyan provides you with a desk, dresser, chair and closet space. THEY DO NOT PROVIDE A TRASHCAN (or mirror(s))! Trashcans become a college essential because it is super easy to let your mess be exacerbated by sheer garbage. Also, for those of us that like to try on 4 or 5 outfits in the morning and would rather do that from the comfort of your room - this way you can ask your roomies opinion - a mirror is a necessity that the school does not provide. All freshman only dorms have twin beds that can be raised to create storage space!
NOTE: for those that party too hard and barely reach 5' 2", raising your bed all the way may end in some injuries or for your roomie funny stories.
The beds are not uncomfortable, but an egg-crate or mattress topper is recommended. One of my friends on my hall freshman year had a fabulous mattress topper, we all napped in his bed, even when he wasn't there!
NOTE: This for me is a great place to have a little discussion about hallcest - the comfy mattress topper was the precursor to two of my best friends dating and creating lots of tension amongst our friend family - anyway, though it can be a lot of fun to have someone on your hall to snuggle with on cold nights, once you pass the friend zone things can get complicated. So, if you are contemplating making this leap, set boundaries, communicate with each other and your other friends, and have a little fun! On another note, hooking up with hallmates can be fun, but make sure to keep yourself happy and avoid creating awkwardness since you tend to become close with at least some of your hall and see everyone all the time.
All dorms have male, female and handicapped bathrooms. However, most RAs (Resident Advisors) offer their hall the choice of designating sex/gender based bathrooms or the option to keep everything sex/gender neutral. My hall decided that though none of us would be offended to find the opposite sex/gender in our bathrooms, we would keep the male-female distinction, mostly because then we would all have our own cubbies and know which bathroom to use. In the freshman only dorms, all the bathrooms have 3 toilets, 2-3 showers, 3 sinks, large mirrors, and cubbies to keep your bathroom essentials in. In the other dorms or housing options, you may have a similar layout or just individual bathrooms and showers. In addition, there is a handicapped or unisex individual bathroom with a toilet and shower - oh and a lock on the door. Many of these showers have better water pressure than those in the other bathrooms, so if you have long hair and would like to get all the conditioner out, you may opt to shower here.
As a freshman, you can choose to live in regular dorms, program houses or WESTCO. In the regular dorms, you will be with mixed years or just freshman, all program houses are mixed as is WESTCO. Program houses are themed houses that group people together based on interest. All existing fraternities and societies with houses are considered program housing, thus as community members, frats are nicely integrated in the WESLEYAN community. As a freshman there is one program house option, called "200 Church," it houses around 50 students with the goal of creating a community focused on diversity and social justice. This house often holds lectures, or forums during the year that follow their interests and discussions. They also host parties and bring other forms of entertainment to campus. The rooms are singles and doubles and no application is needed as a freshman.
As a freshman you can also live in WESTCO short for West College, which is a dorm complex that promotes and explores the arts and creativity. As a freshman, no application in necessary, though other years you must submit an application and go through an interview process. WESTCO has a reputation for creating a somewhat insular community and can often be a "cliquey" environment. Many kids love the WESTCO scene which has become known for its focus in the arts, they host an open mic night once a week and offer their space - the WESTCO cafe - for other entertainment events on campus. WESTCO is a vibrant community to live in, but if you opt to live here, do not forget to explore everything WES has to offer!
After freshman year, program housing is an application process in which you select and apply to live in a themed house. Themes range from music to cooking to farming to a shared love of sign language. These houses can also represent designated campus communities, Open House hosts all the LGBT community events and works to bring the campus together by promoting acceptance and tolerance for difference.
As a sophomore, you can live in dorms or program houses. My sophomore year my best friend and I lived in a program house together with two singles next to each other.
NOTE: This is why I mentioned that Fraternities are considered program housing. Wesleyan has a co-ed housing policy that promotes co-ed living. Yes, my best friend and I - two girls - lived in a frat house. Yet, this is one of the things that sets WES apart, as girls we definitely found a great home and community of people to surround ourselves with even living in a frat house. Fraternities and frat culture are easily stereo-typed, and though Wesleyan greek culture can often fit the normative mold, some of the greek houses break the long tradition of misogyny that exists in the normative notion of fraternity. We had an amazing year and found a place to call home on campus. While girls do not always live in the fraternities, their applications are always accepted and reviewed.
As juniors and seniors, there are campus apartments and houses that range from 2-6 people, all singles and shared living space, kitchen and bathroom(s). I am junior currently living in Senior Fauver - five person senior apartments that often are a mix of juniors and seniors. Many find that there closest friends are years above or below them, the grades definitely mingle because we are a small community. Each year, you have a few more options that offer a little more independence and responsibility, until you are living in houses or apartments, where you hold most of the control over your time and your space. Junior and senior rooms are all singles, unless you opt for program housing, and come with twin or full beds - they are currently adding more and more full bedding to the mix.
NOTE: SUPER IMPORTANT: I'm sure you have already heard about twin beds in college. THEY ARE TWIN XL - do not buy the wrong sheets. Sorry I did not mention this sooner!
The dorms and houses do range, some are older than others and housing is spread out around campus, so you can live right next to your classroom or a ten minute walk away. Overall, the options are great and there are many - your dorm and dorm room become your home away from home so make sure you look into the housing option that best suits your comfort!
Alex shows us his freshman year dorm and recalls some vivid memories of life there.
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