Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series: Dorm Living FAQ

Dear Frosh,

At this point in the summer, you are probably fretting over things like college. A sense of melancholy (or jittery excitement and increased WesAdmits activity, if you hated high school) has creeped up on you. Are you making lists of toiletries and getting boxes from Staples to pack your life into? Wondering how much action your soon-to-be bed has gotten in the past? A lot, probably.

But don’t be too frazzled—Samira and Lukeguy-walker are about to answer your 40ish most pressing questions related to waking-up-and-instantly-having-200-or-so-of-your-peers-to-hang-out-with.

First, this is the fifth Dorm Living FAQ post in the six years that Wesleying’s been doing them, which means that you (Frosh) are just as confused, eager, and enthusiastic as all the Frosh who’ve come before you. Second, it means we should exchange wood and daisies or something. Third, the pertinent FAQ doesn’t change much from year to year, so we tend to repost much of the original guide by Norse Goddess Holly-and-Xue ’08 (cuz it’s still damn good  and we’re still damn lazy). This re-vamped guide is up to date and full of Wesjargon:

So you got your housing and roommate(s) assignment and made dorm Facebook groups that no one will check after October. You might have had this e-mail exchange with the person you will be eating several of your Usdan meals with:

Roomie A: What’s your fav color, food, movie, tv show, book, country, band, subject, etc? When is your birthday? Where are you from? Did you like high school? Was Wes your first choice?

Roomie B: Blue (so original hah), STEAK but only when the meat is locally produced, That’s such a hard question I just love all classic movies like Casablanca!, Daria, Harry potter (lol!) or anything by Kurt Vonnegut, r.i.p., Ghana (went last summer and it was honestly the most lifechanging experience), Das Racist, have you heard of them?? They went to Wes! woooo, I’m really interested in Classics and Economics, but I think I’m pre-med, April 8th 1994, Boston (..actually 20 miles outside of Boston), ugh I HATED high school so excited for Wes!, It was my top 5 I was choosing between Wes and William & Mary but then I went to Wesfest and had such a blast!!, my high school extracurriculars are newspaper, forensics, model un, kiwanis, student government, cupcake decorating club, big sibs, and recycling club but i don’t know what I’ll do at Wes yet except the Argus and WSA sound awesome. Now YOU’RE TURN!! I’m so excited to live in Bennet Hall next year!!!!!!

Now you’ve maybe bonded and can move on to the logistical questions:

Q: How are the dorms furnished?
A: This varies by dorm. All rooms have a bed, desk, chair, and some sort of dresser/closet for each inhabitant. Most, but not all, also have shelving, whether it’s a separate bookcase or planks stapled to the wall. If you’re extra lucky, you might even get a corkboard panel on your wall (like in some WestCo or Nics rooms).

Q: Are there floor plans I can look at?
A: Yes: 200 Church. Bennet (the artist previously known as Fauver). Butterfield (the Butts). Clark. Nicolson (the Nics). West College (WestCo).

Q: How big are the freshman rooms?
A: Big enough to be able to do this:
Here are our personal sizing estimates:

Clark: You will share a small room with one or two other people.

Bennet: See above, ‘Clark.’

Butts: If you are lucky enough to have a single, you have the potential to be a Wesleyan sex god. The doubles are larger than those of Clark and Bennet and have great windows. The triples are basically the same size as the doubles, maybe a bit bigger.

Nics: Single? See Butts single. Two-room double? The best of two worlds: having a roommate and having your own room. One-room double? Eh… It’s doable.

WestCo: Mostly consists of two room doubles and some singles. There is one hall with four one-room doubles, which are pretty big and carpeted, with stony walls.

200 Church: An ’08 student says: “Normal-ish in most all ways including size but the walls are so fucking thin you can hear people next door breathe. But geez, you can’t beat the location.”

Some kids will have pitifully small rooms; others may have doubles to themselves (Rizky Rahadianto ’15). You’ll live somewhere, at least, and get an experience out of it. The walls, in general, tend to be thin. You will hear many things. Your neighbor might play “Pumped Up Kicks” on loop for a week straight.

Q: I’ve been assigned to ‘Bennet Hall.’ Where is that?
A: Bennet was Fauver until this semester. Feel free to keep calling it Fauver until lack of institutional memory makes everyone forget about it.

Q: I got stuck in the Butts.  Wah wah wah
A: Lukeguy-walker and many of our friends lived in the Butts last year. You will also know many people who live there. Every dorm is great in its own way, and the Butts definitely have their perks. The rooms are comfortable, the halls are nice, you’re next to Summerfields, and you have a potentially great community. Plus, the Butts are getting renovated in time for the class of 2016 and you’ll have even nicer facilities. Embrace the Butts, Frosh! This hasn’t been better said than in the Facebook admits page:

Buttstock, Butt Jam, Butt hole, The Butt tunnels. The Butts have everything you need. the Butthole is like a miniature foss hill. No worries freshies. You will grow on to the Butts as if they were your own smacking buttocks.

Plus, when you’re a sophomore, you can live in a Copenhagen (or Bropenhagen or Dopenhagen) in the Butts, which will give you an experience to remember.

Q: How big are the beds?
A: Twin Extra Long: too big for your sheets and too narrow for imaginative sex.

Q: OMG I HATE MY ROOMMATE. Can I get rid of hir?
A: Speak to your Resident Adviser. You can request a room change if absolutely necessary. No matter what, remember that you don’t have to be close with your roommate, as long as you communicate well.

Q: “Hir?”
A: “Hir” and “ze” are gender-neutral pronouns used in place of “him/her” and “he/she,” respectively. There are people on campus who prefer to be addressed using gender-neutral pronouns. They’re also useful when you’re unsure of a person’s gender. This will be explained to you during Orientation.

Q: What’s with the gender-neutral bathrooms?
A: In most of the dorms, you pee/poop/shower (hehe) with the other gender(s). Most halls vote on whether or not they’d like gender-neutral bathrooms during Orientation.

Q: What are the fire hazard rules in my dorm? Will I get in trouble for bringing my psychedelic blacklight tapestries?! Fuck, man!
A: These are the fire safety guidelines. You’re not allowed to have candles, incense, halogen lamps, and appliances without automatic shutoff, among other things. You’re also not allowed to smoke within close proximity to any University buildings. Fire inspections are performed once or twice a year (in some dorms more than others). There are fire drills. Most people disregard the fire hazard policies entirely, but Fire Safety can monitor which rooms/halls do this more than others. People get fined quite a bit, so be careful/discreet.

Q: Can I paint my room?
A: No, because then you would get fined. These are all the things you can get fined for. You can try to paint a mural in your hall; just ask your RA at the beginning of the year about this (a form needs to be filled out with ResLife).

Q: How do I get shit to stick to my walls?
A: Double-sided tape. Duct tape (beautiful duct tape). Packaging tape. Experiment with different tapes and sticky things, just don’t make holes in your walls (you’ll be fined). (Unless they’re really tiny invisible holes.) Generally speaking, anything that doesn’t ruin your posters won’t stick to the cinderblock. People in Bennet and Clark have it easier, since they have drywall.

Q: Should I get extra lighting for my room?
A: There is a fluorescent ceiling light for every room. But soft lighting is nice to have, so get whichever cool glowy lamp thing from Ikea you want.

QShould I bring a rug? What size?
A: Rugs make your room cozier and you’ll be glad to have one in the winter. A two-room double floor in the Nics or WestCo is nicely covered (from your bed to your desk) by an 8′ x 10′. If you’re in a single in the Butts or the Nics, perhaps a 5′ x 7′ would be better. In a one room double or triple, speak to your roommate(s) about how much you’d want to fill up floor space and go from there. If you don’t care how gross the rug is, you can also buy one for less than $10 at the Waste Not! tag sale.

Q. Can I study in my room?
A: Sure. Just don’t become too lazy to leave your room if your hall is actually loud and you’re annoyed. Get acquainted with the three two libraries and make your fellow Frosh feel bad about how often you study in them.

Q: Should I bring my own printer?
A: Definitely convenient to do so. The libraries’ printers are not always dependable and it sucks to be printing your last-minute paper at 8:30 a.m. when the printer suddenly gets jammed.

Q: My clothes smell funny…?
A: There are washing machines in each dorm and they only accept Middletown Cash. You put Middletown Cash on your WesID card with a credit card.

Q: WesID card? Middletown Cash? Points? WTF?
A: Your WesID card is your lifeline. You’ll get it during Orientation. Do not lose it or it’ll cost you money. You need it for food, mail, and to laugh at your ID photo for the entirety of your college career. Points are the default meal plan monopoly money; upperclassmen are on all-points, but frosh and sophomores have a set number of “meals” and then a handful of points. Middletown Cash is different from points. You can use it at certain restaurants in Middletown as well as for laundry, and it carries over from year to year (points don’t). 

Q: So where do I eat?
A: There are lots of options on campus. There are also lots of options in Middletown (post forthcoming) and within driving distance. Check out Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven if you’re by the train station, or just want good pizza.

Q: How do I register my car?
A: Bring your insurance, registration, and $100 to the Office of Public Safety (on High Street). You will then get a sticker to place in the rear window of your car designating that it’s registered. The sticker will indicate what year you are and thus the appropriate parking lot you should be in. All freshmen must park their cars in the V-lot, next to the tennis courts on Vine Street, or in W-lot outside Hi-Rise (you’ll be assigned one by P-Safe).

Q: I don’t have a car! What do I do?
A: To quote Droz from PCU (the movie everyone knows is based on Wesleyan and won’t shut up about): “Will you have a car? Someone on your hall will. Find them and make friends with them on the first day.” Also, look into Wesleyan’s Zipcar program.

A: Post forthcoming, but here’s an older transportation FAQ. There is a newer schedule for shuttles to Bradley Airport and the New Haven Train Station.

Q: How far away is New York and/or Boston by car?
A: Shut up. You’ll never go.

Q: Seriously!
A: Okay, they are each about two hours away (Middletown is not a misnomer). Hartford is about 30 minutes away and so is New Haven. 

Q: Should I bring a bike? 
A: If you want to, sure. The campus is walkable and a bike isn’t necessary, but it is useful to have around, especially to get to Middletown. The Wesleyan Outing Club often sponsors bike rides throughout the area, and if you need to go from the Butts to the CFA in a hurry, a bike really comes in handy (just make sure you bring a solid U-lock). Definitely bring a bike if you want to help power the COE’s bike generators.

Q: What’s in Middletown?
A: Lots of things (if you stop bitching that it’s not New York)! Impressive selection of food, and overall a great town with lots of cool history. Posts forthcoming.

Q: Is there anywhere to go swimming?
A: Miller’s Pond is conveniently located about 5 miles away… which is slightly too far to walk but provides another reason to bring your bike. The Freeman Athletics Center has a pool.


Q: Can I bring my dog/cat/bearded dragon?
A: Reslife’s Faustian housing contract only allows fish in 10 gallon tanks or smaller. This means you can bring awesome fish (Barracuda, Piranha, Sharks, Stingrays, Candiru, Tuna) to Wesleyan.

Q: But I miss my dog! I want to bring him!
A: Well, you’ll probably get fined a lot of money. Good luck!

Q: Where can I find liquid refreshment?
A: Sinks, fountains, gutters, here. Middletown is conveniently located next to a river containing a substantial amount of liquid refreshment.

Q: What about other… sorts of … err… 
A: It will be offered to you. Maybe get some older friends.

Q: I’m straight-edge/don’t drink/smoke. Will I be left out?
A: Not at all. You’ll be offered all kinds of things out of goodwill and the spirit of sharing. If you say “no,” people will respect that and eventually remember.

Q: What happens if I get sick?
A: First of all, get rid of that mindset and change that question to “What happens when I get sick,” because it will happen. The most common illnesses that go around campus are the common cold, the flu, mono and the Noro Virus (otherwise known as “The Gastro”). A few winters ago, there was practically a gastroenteritis epidemic, a.k.a. the two-day shit-and-vomit extravaganza. This mess happened again last winter, with almost half the school stuck in bed throwing up on themselves.

Unfortunately, you’ll just have to tough it out, though if you’re really ill, it’s worth it to email your professors and usually they’ll grant you an extension or understand if you skip class (really! They’re nice people!). Weshop sells an assortment of cold remedies, and if you go to health services, they’ll give you a little cold-care pack of ibuprofen and cough drops. It would also help to have your own thermometer, crackers, tea, and Gatorade.

The health center offers gyno exams and tests for every STD imaginable, though you have to pay for those. They also offer Plan B and Orthotricyclen-Lo for ridiculously low subsidized prices.

If there’s a medical emergency, call P-safe and they’ll send a nice officer to escort you to the Middlesex Hospital. Really intense medical emergency? Call 911.

Q: Do I have to pay for my own condoms?
A: No! Weswell, an office on the first floor of Davison Health Center, has an entire room of sexual health information, including a wide assortment of condoms, lubes, and other items. You can visit it at any time the health center is open and pick up what you need. Don’t rely on your RA stocking the bathroom with condoms because the one big idiot on your hall will take them all and turn them into water balloons, leaving you sexually stranded come Saturday night.

Q: My neighbor is hot. Should I . . .
A: No! (Usually.) Hall booty is bad booty. You will spend lots of time with the people on your hall for the first couple of months as you cling to each other for social warmth. This is all well and good, but a warning:

You share a bathroom with them. Your friends are their friends. You will see them in the hall every day. Every day. When you break up, you will see who they’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see who you’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see you not bringing anyone home on Friday night and playing Angry Birds alone in your underwear.

But if it does happen, try to make it as least awkward as possible afterward. That being said, Dormcest is not the same thing as hallcest—at least you guys are on different floors…


Q: How do I earn money?
A: Whether you’re work study or not, go to the job listings page. Start looking soon and sending out emails to employers about a week or two before school starts. Work study is preferred for most of these, but look at the postings anyway. They’ll most likely still hire you, but won’t be able to pay as much. You can also get a part-time job on Main Street. Explore Middletown!

Q: Where can my pen pal send me mail?
A: Wes box. Go to your E-Portfolio–>Academic Career–>Student Profile to find your mailing address. It will begin with “45 Wyllys Avenue,” which is pronounced “Willis” even though it’s spelled silly.

Q: What are these mythical tunnels?
A: See here. They’re underneath WestCo, the Butts, and the CFA. Explore them, Frosh-hopper.

Q: Is there Greek life on campus?
A: Yes, just walk down High Street. Post on Greek life forthcoming.

Q: Do I really have to attend everything in the packet during Orientation week?
A: This is college. You don’t have to do anything, but it’s highly recommended. You’ll meet lots of other people going through the same thing you are and you might learn something in the process.

Got questions? Get answers. Email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org or leave a helpful, friendly, respectful, well-articulated comment in the comments box and we’ll see what we can do.

Happy living, Frosh!

Thanks Rachel Lindy ’15, Emma Singer ’15, Nicole Klein ’15 and Penina Kessler ’15 for pictures. 

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7 thoughts on “Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series: Dorm Living FAQ

  1. tunnelfreedom

    one day the butterfield tunnels will be open to all again. and that will be a glorious day.

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