The On Campus Housing Guide

The last couple of weeks leading up to spring break are a set of the most frustrating and stressful days of the second semester. After they’re over, however, it’s sun, fun, and relaxation … at least for a week. Upon the flight back to campus, students, save for the ones preparing to dwell off campus, are gearing up for the random, nerve-wracking chaos of the housing selection process. While picking roommates creates more drama than even Robsham Theater can hold, thankfully, choosing a dormitory often leaves friendships intact. However, it’s not without its toils. That’s why we’ve put this housing guide together. Although not everyone’s going to have the same choices, we want to make sure everyone realizes there’s something good about every dorm, contrary to what some may think.

College Road

It’s the Newton Campus of sophomore year, College Road. Lamented as being far removed from the exuberant social life of Lower Campus, the dorms on CoRo, which include Roncalli Hall, Welch Hall, and Williams Hall, are every freshman’s worst fear. Each dorm is home to four floors of sophomores, divided into doubles, triples, and quads, with the option to block with other rooms.

Located less than five minutes away from classes, CoRo residents are able to run back to their room and retrieve their history paper, as well as sleep longer than their Lower Campus counterparts, resulting in their greater well-being. (With the construction on Stokes Hall, however, it is possible that residents of Roncalli may be awakened by jackhammers and bulldozers at 8 a.m.)

Since residents of Williams and Welch have to walk up an additional flight of stairs to access their dorms, the extra strain on the calves can even be seen as a reason to decrease the amount of time spent in the Plex. Once they have built up their endurance, residents can take advantage of the grassy area, reminiscent of a quad, between Williams and Welch, where they can play Frisbee or football, or have a picnic and bond over how many of them went from Newton Campus to CoRo. The food for that picnic can easily be picked up from McElroy Commons, which is literally across the street.

Though residents will gladly visit their luckier peers on Lower Campus, they find it difficult to convince their friends to visit them. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, though, and dealing with the challenge of maintaining a social life can work wonders in strengthening old friendships and creating new ones.

Rating: 5/10

 

Greycliff Hall

Yes, the rumors are true: Greycliff Hall does exist. Get ready to disregard everything you may have ever heard about it, because honestly, it’s been unfairly labeled. Truth is, while it’s not perfect, Greycliff is capable of being the best dormitory Boston College has to offer for students of all years. Here’s why.

Having less than 50 students inside an entire building, no matter how small it may be, presents an opportunity to create a community that no other dormitory can. Comprised of entirely of singles and doubles, Greycliff blends privacy and accessibility together in a way that both social butterflies and hermit crabs can appreciate.   The rooms are undeniably small, with some definitively more than others, but sacrificing a little extra room to avoid the drama that eight- man suites, six-man suites, and even four-man suites create is an admirable decision. Because Greycliff has a resident hall staff mirroring that in freshman dorms, Greycliff students need not worry about cleaning their own bathrooms or, more importantly, buying toilet paper. In addition to coming with a meal plan, Greycliff residents also get treated to a kitchen so, if they wanted, they could cook. There’s also a basement tailored for social gatherings.

Essentially, Greycliff has both the advantages of off-campus living and on-campus living. It’s close to the B-line and the string of houses that most students living off  campus reside in. Greycliff? More like Dreamcliff. We think people should change how they look at Greycliff. It’s got the potential to be great and definitely doesn’t deserve the stigma that it’s acquired.

Rating 9.5/10

Vanderslice Hall

Vanderslice Hall, the most sought-after residence for sophomore year, prides itself on its relative youth in comparison to Walsh. Divided into mostly eight-mans with select nine-mans, Vandy houses mainly sophomores, in addition to juniors. Kitchenettes in Vandy come equipped with a large refrigerator, allowing for ample storage of leftovers and a place to hide your roommate’s birthday cake. Perhaps more appealing than the refrigerator is the fact that Vandy has air conditioning in the suites, as opposed to solely in the study lounges. Studying also becomes much easier when the lounges have spectacular views of Lower Campus and spiral staircases. Those residents lucky enough to snag the rooms with the large windows overlooking Corcoran Commons have grand opportunities to people-watch and post unique messages for all to see via window paint. However, if they aren’t careful, everyone on Lower Campus could witness them Dougie-ing in the common room on a Friday night.

Footsteps away from the Mods, St. Ignatius, and Commonwealth Avenue, Vandy offers its residents remarkable access to nearly everything except the academic buildings. The lack of vending machines in the building is balanced out by Vandy’s close proximity to the glorious food of Corcoran Commons. For those who would prefer a Twix over a hot meal, though, that might be a problem.

Living in Vandy also conjures up images of the residents’ younger years, when many of them stayed in the dorm during Freshman Orientation. For the nostalgic ones, who enjoy reflecting on the past and how far they have come since then, this dorm is prime.

The Mods

 

Affectionately and better known as the Mods, the modulars are what many BC students consider to be the crown jewel of senior housing. Before even getting the chance to live in one, a great number of undergraduates have already made plenty of memories in these “miniature houses” that have been around longer than they were originally planned to be, first sneaking into Mod parties in the innocent follies of their freshman year, and then, as they acquired upperclassmen friends, being personally invited into the gatherings

On the surface, living in the Mods doesn’t look all that appealing. They’re not the most spacious of places—while the living room is nice, the rooms leave a lot of space to be desired. Like most senior dorms, the Mods leaves you without a meal plan, so for those who aren’t skilled in the kitchen, you might find yourself fighting off hunger pangs unlike you’re sharing a room with an Iron Chef.  And, in the aftermath of the massive amounts of partying that takes place in the gated community on weekends, they can look terribly unkempt at times. But that’s just on the surface.

If you look deeper, you’ll see that the true appeal of the Mods lies in the communal spirit that the cluster of little barn red houses creates. Tailgating, holding mixing with neighbors, and engaging in innovative backyard games on the grass in the springtime make the Mods one of the top choices for those luckily enough to score a good pick time.

Ignacio and Rubenstein

Ignacio and Rubenstein both are strikingly similar to Edmonds Hall, except they have a few more advantages. The hill you have to climb to get to them, however, is not one of them. But as physically fit and health conscious as BC has the reputation of being, this is merely an inconvenience rather than a nuisance (except when there’s snow and ice on the ground and falling and slipping down the hill becomes a possibility rather than an irrational fear). Since these two dorms are primarily for seniors, with a few lucky underclassmen exceptions, parties here are rampant on the weekends. In fact, you can often hear the loud music blaring out of the windows on a walk past the Robsham Theater bus stop. When it gets hot, air conditioners keep the rooms cool.

Like Edmonds, the interior is fairly plain, but the stairways sometimes provide a nice visual with the somewhat weird contrast of colors. The brick walls of the rooms are a favorite and can sometimes lead to some visually appeasing, though banned by ResLife, illustrations from creative artists. It may prove fairly easy for those not familiar with the inside of the dorms to get lost, or at least mildly confused, when making their way around and the numbering of the rooms certainly takes some getting used to, but after that’s out of the way, Ignacio and Rubenstein become surprisingly homely. While not Voute, the Gate, or Gabelli, Ignacio and Rubenstein provide solid living accommodations.

 

Walsh Hall

Most students know Walsh Hall as the only dorm with a check-in desk, but there is much more to this large residence than the aforementioned new addition. Once residents clear the ever-pleasant Securitas employees, they enter a space inhabited by eight floors of sophomores, arranged in suite-style living. Composed of either quads or the much sought after eight-mans, the communal floor bathroom disappears and common rooms take its place. Though the quads only boast a small entryway, the eight-mans include a common room  as well as a kitchenette, complete with a countertop, a sink, and a kitchen table. Since the rooms do not have a refrigerator or appliances with which students can cook, Walsh residents have the same meal plan as they did freshman year.

Each eight-man also comes with one large storage room, which is perfect for housing winter gear, various holiday decorations, or your friend who prefers your room to their own on College Rd.

Offering up close and personal window views of the Mods, including the biannual Strip Mod, Walsh is in close proximity to the “nightlife” of Boston College. The fact that Walsh is on the edge of campus, close to the BC T stop, also means that its residents have one of the farthest treks to class, ranging between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on the speed of the walker and the amount of time spent in line at Hillside Cafe while picking up a beverage for class.

Since residents live in such large groups to begin with, many students do not see the need to get to know their neighbors, which can result in minimal floor bonding. Although the amount of floor bonding varies, most residents would probably agree that nothing beats ending a long day by hanging out with seven of your best friends in a Walsh common room.

Rating 7/10

66 and 90

As opposed to going by the name of reputable benefactors, these dorms are known by the numbers on their respective roads. 90 St. Thomas More Rd., colloquially known as 90, and 66 Commonwealth Ave., referred to as 66, are both home to mainly sophomores, with a decent portion of juniors. Directly across the road from Corcoran Commons, 90 is an air-conditioned haven in the humid months, composed of six-mans and eight-mans. If, for some reason, residents are distressed upon not finding a snack that suits their fancy in the not two, but four, vending machines, they can relax in the piano room on the second floor.

Tucked away from the chaos that surrounds Corcoran Commons, but still easily accessible, is 66, whose residents view it as a hidden gem, though a non-air conditioned one. Divided into singles, doubles, and triples, 66 is one of the quieter dorms, in comparison to other Lower Campus residences with partying reputations. What it lacks in noise it makes up for in beauty and hominess, not to mention the serene-looking grassy courtyard in the front of the building. Adding to its uniqueness, the fourth floor of the building replaces bedrooms with a massive study lounge, divided into smaller rooms, one of which contains a large flat screen television. As if neighboring St. Ignatius were not sufficient, there is also a small chapel connected to the dorm, adding to the peacefulness exuded by 66.

Rating: 7/10

 

The Gate

As if it isn’t obvious by its immaculate appearance, both inside and out, the Gate is the newest addition to residential life at Boston College. Located right at the edge of campus, the Gate houses juniors and seniors in spacious six-mans and eight-mans that put Walsh and Vandy to shame. For the contemplative type, the Gate has the standard study lounges, which are actually far above standard in terms of aesthetics and lighting, as well as small reflection rooms on each floor, which are prime locations for studying and relaxing. On the weekends, however, the mood transforms into something much more exciting and upbeat. Due to the large constituency of residents of legal age, the Gate is a wet dorm that allows for registered parties. If some deem the social scene to be lacking, which is unlikely, there are two quick exits, one basically leading into the Mods, and the other leading in the direction of Commonwealth Ave.

If the nearby Corcoran Commons does not whet the appetites of Gate residents, White Mountain, El Pelon Taqueria, City Convenience, Dunkin Donuts, or Crazy Dough’s will certainly do the job. Once they have satisfied their hunger, students can then take two steps to Campus Tan or the UPS Store, where they can send a package home to their parents, thanking them for allowing them to attend this fine institution and as a result, to live in the Gate.

Gabelli and Voute

Along with the Gate, Voute and Gabelli are the closest things to luxury living on the Boston College campus. The first thing you’re bound to hear about Voute and Gabelli, aside from the mailroom in Voute, is the legendary townhouses in both halls. Totaling 17 in all, these townhouses are unique features of these halls, with each having two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, a living room, and a full bath. For those with great pick times not wanting to deal with the atmosphere of the Mods, Voute and Gabelli are often first choices.

The walk to Voute and Gabelli is a trek, and stairs seem to be everywhere, but, other than that, there’s not much negative to say about them. The inside of the two dorms are definitely nice and the lounges are large and comfortable, making them both perfectly accommodating to both partying and studying. The outside is just as nice as the inside and the proximity to the T (and thus, Dunkin Donuts, White Mountain, Bank of America, Flatbreads, and the Career Center) is certainly a plus. The potential for underclassmen traffic is just about non-existent, creating an air of borderline exclusivity that seems characteristic of the two dormitories. (Don’t be surprised, underclassmen, if you feel slightly intimidated while walking around inside.). Still, there’s no denying the beauty of Voute and Gabelli and for those individuals who are lucky enough to win the chance to take up residence in either hall, they’re sure to have a pleasant living experience.

Rating 9/10

Edmonds Hall

Walk into Edmond’s and there’s a chance that you’ll pass by a sophomore, a junior, and a senior – probably the only dormitory on campus that can claim such a distinction. While Edmond’s may be a second choice resort for those unable to get eight-man suites or six-man suites, some prefer the comfortable four-man rooms equipped with kitchens that rival (some would say surpass) those in the Mods. One advantage and disadvantage of Edmond’s is its relative distance from the rest of Lower Campus. Plexaholics will love its proximity to the gym and, for the most part, the noise of the weekends fall on deaf ears for its residents.

Still, some may dislike the walk to and from Corcoran Commons (not that it’s a trip they’ll be making often since Edmond’s residents don’t have meal plans). Reported rat infestations in past years on the first floor of the dorm lower its desirability, but recently, it seems the rodents have ceased their scurrying.  For those for whom appearance is particularly important, Edmond’s interior disappoints, lacking the look of modernity such dorms as 90 and Vanderslice sport. However, what Edmond’s lacks in show it makes up for in reliability. For instance, the elevators run relatively smoothly, which can’t be said for every dorm on campus with one.  The layout of the rooms is nice and the beds are able to be lifted, which is even nicer. For simplicity,  comfort, and the chance to prepare delicious meals, Edmond’s is the go-to dorm.

Rating: 7/10