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Room ratings: fairest of all and lowest of low revealed

Room ratings: fairest of all and lowest of low revealed

By Claire Naughton and Emma Welsh-Huggins

Believe you have the best or worst dorm room on campus? Think again. The Collegian has scoped out the rooms in the residence halls you love to love and love to hate. The results may surprise you, but if you don’t agree, email us at

Worst Dorm Room

Mather Residence Hall is usually the last to be filled in the Housing Lottery. But, Leonard Residence Hall may prove to have worse housing options.

The current inhabitant of room 017 in Leonard, Zach Morrow ’14 presented an enthusiastic case for naming his room as the worst. Located in the basement and directly across from the men’s bathroom, the room is accessed via a narrow and claustrophobic hallway. According to Morrow, the bathroom leaks, not just into the hall but into his room as well. He awakens and falls asleep to the musty aroma of urine on his questionably discolored carpet.

“I don’t know if it’s the rain, or the shower or toilet, but it gets into my room and my room smells like urine,” Morrow said. “It’s horrible. It’s so bad that the walls in the hall are starting to crumble because of the moisture leaking through.”

Walking in, one is unpleasantly surprised to find that there is no exaggeration in that statement. The blue paint along the bottom of the wall that meets the rug has long since faded, and there are patches of white, powdery residue where the force of the bathroom floods have claimed victory over the weary paint job. Turning into his room, we were also reminded that there is very little air circulation, partially because there’s no regular AC in Leonard, but also because Morrow’s heater is apparently broken.

“It’s supposed to automatically go off when you open the window, but it doesn’t. It’s like a sauna; I wake up like three pounds lighter. During football camp it was like the Sahara in there. [I’m] in the basement, and it’s still hotter than Death Valley. I don’t understand it; there’s physically not enough thermal radiation from the sun to make my room that hot,” he said.

Morrow pauses to catch his breath before continuing. Standing in his room, we were beginning to appreciate the unique smell of congealed floodwater that has likely chemically bonded to the carpet and steadily pervades the room as time passes.

While the room isn’t cramped by any means, there is a certain dankness that is only enhanced by the pockmarked walls, which, Morrow comments dryly, are extremely thin.

And yet sound is not the only thing that’s polluted Morrow’s living space.

“Every weekend my hall gets destroyed. It shouldn’t be physically possible to drink all the beer that gets left in my hallway, but every weekend, it’s there.”

Best Dorm Room

As the first permanent building on Kenyon’s campus, Old Kenyon brings to mind years of tradition and the generations of students that have crossed its threshold. The proximity to many academic buildings and Peirce makes it a popular living space. On the weekends, it is known for its all-campus parties and general attraction of late-night gatherings. Stephan Beavers ’15, a history major, lives in a first-floor single, in a room with a huge window that opens up to a gorgeous view of the woods just beyond.

Beavers’ good fortune was unexpected. “My housing lottery [number] was 750, which was pretty bad for my grade ナ and then they said there were numbers left over because of all the new housing, so there were 50 spaces in front of me that were freed up,” he said. This stroke of luck made it possible for him to get his enviably spacious room.

Last year, he lived in a New Apartment with several friends and had, at times, unpleasant experiences. “It was just metal windows, a metal closet,” he said. “There was also a mold issue, so I was kind of always sick last year.” He was glad to find that Old Kenyon’s carpeting was recently redone.

Walking into the large room, one is immediately drawn to the high ceilings lit up by the natural light that floods in from the window. The few, well-placed pieces of unique furniture ラ “Just things I’ve gotten over the years,” he explains ラ provide colorful accents to the pictures and posters he has on the walls. His personal decorating style is fueled by, in his own words, “a mix of things that I’ve randomly acquired. I like to bring in as much color as I can since you can’t paint the walls.” Beavers has a penchant for mixing different themes and cultures. “I love mixing patterns,” he said, “a ’70s lamp, that’s kind of Asian themed ラ there’s a lot of Asian things.” His studies are also reflected in the space, adorned with antique books and other small historical artifacts. Beavers avoids the generic, uniform dorm feel with this advice: “I just try to dress up the room and make it feel like my room back home ラ my own place, as opposed to just a temporary little room as it is, and make it colorful and fun.”

Beavers enjoys the convenience of Old Kenyon to the rest of campus and the company of several friends living just upstairs. But, with friends just a few steps away, Beavers appreciates the perks of having a single. Beavers said, “It’s nice to be able to come back and watch a movie without headphones, or have the light on as long as I want, or decorate exactly as I want to without having to worry about a roommate.”

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