With twenty different housing options, Wellesley College’s living arrangements allow students to find a niche that is just right for their needs. Whether students elect to live on the east or west side of campus, the goal of residential life is to establish a strong sense of community and pride while continuing long-standing traditions among the various dorms.
Tower Court, one of the most notable architectural structures on campus, stands five stories high, with beautiful views of Lake Waban and Severance Green. While Tower Complex has been one of the most popular housing options among students due to its reputation of being the largest residential complex, Stone-Davis Hall has become more appealing in recent years due to students’ desire to live in more intimate communities.
Other residential options that students can select from include the Hazard Quad (or Quint) and the ‘New Dorms,’ which are popular among athletes and science majors, respectively. While Pomeroy Hall features a vegetarian and kosher dining hall and the dining hall in Bates offers a variety of international cuisine, some of gems at Wellesley may be hidden in smaller and lesser known spaces around campus.
Still, there are many factors that contribute to a student’s decision to choose one dorm over another, including architectural style, social atmosphere, location and food preferences.
Student cooperatives and small hall housing pose alternative options for students seeking a way to incorporate personal interests and passions into their residential life at Wellesley.
Like many other colleges, Wellesley also offers various language houses including Casa Cervantes and La Maison Francaise which are actively supported by the Spanish Department and the French Department, respectively. There is also an Italian Corridor, located on the fourth floor of Tower West. Guided by the principle that the student residents are there to practice and improve their foreign language skills, these unique small residential houses double as hubs that strive to spark debates about different cultural and political issues.
Casa, also known as the “little green house” that’s right next to Lake House, is almost a world of its own. Resident Assistant Jabree Ellis ’17 describes how the community is tight knit where many residents spend a lot of time bonding in the house. “I like that everyone in the house knows each others’ names and that the structure of the space allows us to bump into each more often than a normal dorm.”
Ellis saw living in the Spanish-speaking house as an opportunity to not only practice her Spanish but also participate in a community separate from the rest of campus. “In the beginning, at least, it almost felt like living away from Wellesley,” she explained. “Here, I was in the only place on campus where people speak Spanish almost every minute of the day. Often, I would leave the house to go eat in Tower dining hall and forget that I needed to speak English again.”
Held up by its own unique comunity values, Wellesley’s student-run Sustainability Cooperative (or Scoop) was started as part of a student initiative to live in an environmentally conscious way. While the co-op has recently moved to Homestead, a residence located adjacent to Instead and across from the College Club, it continues to hold weekly vegetarian group dinners, member-led discussions and sponsors events that are open to all members of the campus community.
Studio Art major Christine Galloway ’17 learned about the Sustainability Co-op before even setting foot on campus when she discovered it in a brochure listing 100 great things about Wellesley.
“I chose to live in [The] Scoop because I really like being a part of something larger than myself,” Galloway said of the community’s emphasis on building shared values of trust, respect and intentionality.
After living in the co-op for almost a full academic year, she has learned a tremendous amount about working with others and respecting not only physical but also social spaces.
“I have really found this to transfer to other areas of my life such as studio courses where studios are often shared by many and group projects take place,” Galloway said. Thus, while the cooperative’s theme is sustainability, it welcomes students from all disciplines and challenges its residents to stretch beyond the meaning of environmental sustainability.
Meanwhile, the Orchard Apartments may be one of the best kept secrets at Wellesley. Current resident Suh Yoon ’15 responded to the question of where the apartments are located on campus, “I get this asked this a lot! The Orchard Apartments are directly attached to Dower House.”
Featuring two apartments, each consisting of a kitchen, common room, double bedroom, single bedroom and bathroom, the apartments resemble independent living. The residence is quite cozy and intimate. In fact, Yoon says that she feels like it is her “own house” and that “it’s the perfect space to host meetings, movie nights, and parties.” She describes how the three couches frequently get used as beds for friends who end up popping in and sleeping over. If that is not enough, Orchard 200 also has a massage chair.
And if those options aren’t enough, there’s always the Instead, the feminist Co-op that is known for its annual Naked Party; Dower Hall, which was originally constructed as a barn; and Cedar Lodge, a residential hall exclusively for Davis Scholars.
But just remember, while you may become the next Pamela Melroy ’83, who perfected her moonwalk while trekking through in the halls in Cazenove, or Diane Sawyer ’67, who breathed words into life while residing in Freeman, the choices you make about residential life can certainly be another defining aspect of your Wellesley experience.
Photo by Grace Ballenger ’17, Co-Features Editor
Kily Wong ’16 is a Features Editor who is majoring in Psychology and English. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring cafes in Boston and loves pointing out the many ways that pets take after their owners. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.