Hello! My name is Alejandra (Ali) Gatas Johnson and I am your Dorms Declassified: Brown Survival Guide blogger. Living in a dorm with a roommate was one of the things that I was most excited but also nervous about for college. This blog is to help ease the concern and provide insight on residential life at Brown.
This blog post is directed at all you first-years about to enter the dangerous world of the housing lottery. Below you will find detailed descriptions of all of the sophomore populated dorms on campus. For you potential Brown students, here is a sneak peak of what may be to come. Sophomores have the worst numbers going into the housing lottery with seniority have first dibs at the available dorms and rooms. As such, sophomores tend to populate a few select dorms that are… let’s just say less popular. Below are the upperclassmen dorms (in alphabetical order)…
Barbour is one of the nicer sophomore dorms. It is a bit farther from campus (past Jo’s but close to East Side Mini Mart, Louis, and Bagel Gourmet). The dorm is located across from the DPS department building, but don’t let that deter you. The rooms are quite spacious and the windows are nice and large. Barbour is a dorm full of suites with private kitchens and bathrooms. However, not all of the Barbour rooms are suites.
Caswell is one of the most convenient dorms. It is located on Ruth Simmons quad and, as such, is perfect for all you tardy people. Every main amenity is within a five-minute walk (the Ratty, Faunce, Main Green, SciLi, etc.). The rooms are pretty sizeable and the windows are nice and large. The downstairs kitchen and lounge space is also fairly spacious and perfect for social events… and the occasional section (I had my ENGN 0090 section in Caswell). There is no elevator making it inaccessible for some and a hassle for others come move in/out day.
Chapin is located on Patriot’s Court (the quad next to Wriston Quad and the Ratty). It is the home for Theta Delta Chi (aka Thet) frat and Harambee House (program house for black celebration and community). In between these two Greek/program houses live independents (those that are not associated with either organization). Chapin like most other Wriston/Patriot’s Court dorms, includes many doubles, some singles, and a few suites. The rooms include closets or built in storage space.
Diman is home to Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) sorority and Social Action House. It is located on Wriston Quad and is therefore centrally located to both the Ratty and the Main Green. The rooms, similar to other Wriston Quad dorm rooms, are nice, decent sized rooms (doubles and singles). Diman is located on the south side of Wriston quad and does not fully follow the perimeter of the quad.
Goddard House is located on Patriot’s Court. It is rumored to be named after the dog from Jimmy Neutron. Like all other dorms in the region, Goddard is only a short walk from the Ratty, Jo’s, Main Green, or Bear’s Lair (gym in Grad Center).
Like the dorms above, Harkness is on Patriot’s Court. It is formally affiliated with Kappa Delta sorority and Tech House. It is the closest in Wriston/Patriot’s Court to Jo’s and Thayer street. The rooms are much like all of the rest in the region. If you do choose to live as an independent in any of the Greek/program housing dorms know that the lounges are affiliated and thus off limits to independents (but with the handy location- it’s not a big deal).
Hope College is the most sought after dorm. It has the BEST location-the Main Green itself. It is to the left of Faunce when standing in the Main Green looking at Faunce and is opposite Wilson. This is prime real estate and the large, spacious rooms are next to impossible. Beyond the insane struggle to get a room in Hope, you are likely to blow through your meal credit points on all of the before 4pm muffins and meals you will eat at the Blue Room.
Littlefield, while not as centrally placed as Hope, is also located in a great region. It is across from the Ratty, the Blue Room is across the green, and the Rock and SciLi are nearby. The dorm is older, but the high ceilings maximize the space. RISD/Brown Dual Degree students frequently live in Littlefield.
Marcy is on Wriston Quad (the closest one to the Ratty on the right-hand side). It is home to Beta Rho Pi and Zeta Delta Xi fraternities. Both of these fraternities are far from the stereotypical and both have their own unique strong characters. Marcy is one of the more lit dorms on Wriston Quad and is also one of the more interiorly decorated ones (wall paint, room decor, etc).
Built in 1912, Minden was originally a real hotel. It is the second most coveted sophomore dorm due to its location. It stands alone (not near other dorms), but 5-7 minutes away from both Pembroke campus and Main campus (Ratty, VDub, Andrews, Jo’s, etc). The rooms are very spacious with bathroomed-quads and nice molding.
New Pembroke is one of the more likely dorms sophomores will get. It in on North campus (on Thayer). Being on Thayer has its drawbacks (namely early morning delivery trucks) and its assets (CVS). The rooms are standard size and the walls are very thin. It is close to Andrews and the VDub, but also one of the largest first-year housing hubs (pretty much all of pembroke campus minus New Pembroke).
Olney house is the first house on the right when you walk into Wriston Quad from Wayland Arch. It is home to Sigma Chi and the *newly created* Beta Omega Chi (BOX) fraternities. Olney like its Wriston counterparts has moderate/sizeable doubles and singles. Olney house has a great location (lack of streets and only quad views).
Unfortunately, Perkins is the most likely destination for most sophomores. The location is not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to seem, but it is most definitely the furthest dorm from the main green. Many upperclassmen live in the area (thanks to the beautiful Young Orchard suite dorms). Perkins is also near the theater at TF Green and Orwig. However, it is far from all food eateries (the closest being Jo’s). Because of the minimum 10 minute walk to anywhere on campus, many Perkins residents plan ahead and stock up on food before heading back to their dorms (to eat breakfast or hibernate in their room during finals season or when it is snowing). Perkins was once known for the community that the location built, but from what I have seen this year that blessing no longer holds true. People tend to stay to their own established friend groups.
Only around 15 people live in Plantations House. It is stocked with all of the amenities (kitchen, laundry machines, etc). The rooms are huge and it is located between Andrews and New Pembroke. This is far from South campus, but close to the VDub, OMAC, Thayer, and Andrews Commons.
Sears house is actually where I live this year. Sears is the dorm on the left-hand side of Wriston Quad when entering from Waylon Arch and is the most North Wriston dorm. It is home to Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Delta Tau fraternity. It is a quieter dorm and well kept. The rooms are average to large size and Sears has doubles and singles.
Be sure to make a long list of dorms you are interested in with your housing lottery group, the anxiety and time pressure will kick in when it is your number’s turn. All of the Greek/program houses should have some space for independents/non-affiliated residents. Everything will work out wherever you end up living. Just embrace the experience! Good luck!
If you have comments or questions about this column or anything related to Brown, please email me at email@example.com.