Ask Wesleying: Cope Confusion

Welcome to the fifth installment of Ask Wesleying, an advice column about any and all things Wes! Have a question about life at Wes? Submit it to get it answered in Ask Wesleying! You can find all of the Ask Wesleying columns here.

This week’s question is about the most mysterious housing option available to sophomores:

Dear Wesleying,

I recently heard about some kind of housing in the butts that sounds vaguely like cope (co-op? coop?) for sophomores. Something about living with 5 of your friends on your own little hall. Is this real? Is it a good option for sophomores? How the hell do you say it?

Cope Confusion

You can read the answer to this week’s question below the jump!

Dear Cope Confusion,

Boy oh boy did you choose the right thing to write in about!

I lived in a Copenhagen (aka Cope, rhymes with soap) my sophomore year and loved it! In fact, I loved it so much, I decided to live with three of my cope-mates again senior year! (You’ll be hearing from said cope-mates a little later on in this response about why copes are great! Or maybe they weren’t as passionate about it as I am… who knows?)

To answer your question, though, copes are real. All nine (?) copes are located in the Butts, and are distributed among the 3 buildings. ResLife doesn’t seem to have any current info about them, but I found this ResLife doc that seems basically accurate from a couple years ago that explains copes better than I could:

“The Copenhagens allow six rising sophomores to select housing together prior to the room selection process. Copenhagens are 4 single-occupancy rooms, 1 double-occupancy room, and 2 bathrooms located at the end of a hallway. The 6 students decide among themselves who will have the double-occupancy room”

real-life picture of a cope

In my humble opinion, copes are also the best option for sophomore housing for a number of reasons:

  1. Four people in your group are guaranteed singles. Some may see this as a downside, because 2 people in your group must share a double, but cope doubles are huge, and some people (not sure who, but I happened to find two of them) actually like having a roommate! Also, if you’re going to have a roommate, it’s better to be able to choose who they will be, rather than throwing your lot into the Program Housing mish-mash and maybe ending up with the roommate from hell. Also, while copes are wonderful for the community bonding experience, it’s also nice to just have a single (or well-scheduled double!) to come home to when you’re tired and don’t want to deal with being social (or when you want to engage in other activities where you might not want a roommate around). Copes provide all the benefits of community while also letting you have your own personal space!
  2. Living with friends. There is something to be said for making new friends, especially as a sophomore when you finally realize that you might actually mesh better with people who aren’t your orientation friends. However, it’s also nice to go out and do the new-friend-making when you know you have a couple friendly faces to come home to every night. I got the best of both worlds, by joining a cope group with three people I knew and two I didn’t. If you are able to put together a group of 6 people who are all friends during your freshman spring, congrats! But if you don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy cope living; you just have to try a little harder and have friends who have non-mutual friends to add on! I will say, it’s probably not a great idea to join onto a group of five friends as the one outsider, but as long as you have an established relationship with at least one of your cope-mates, you won’t feel left out.
  3. living in the lap of luxury

    Two bathrooms. Each cope gets two—read it: two—bathrooms, each equipped with a toilet, a bathtub/shower, a sink, and lots of shelving. This is a much better ratio of people to toilets/showers than most dorm halls, and certainly a better ratio than the 4:1 ratio my current senior house has. And ostensibly, these bathrooms are exclusively for your cope! We had a couple people from the rest of the hall (which is separated from the cope by a stairwell) try to use our bathrooms early in the year, but once we started decorating and leaving our toiletries in the bathrooms (while still making sure to not impede the custodial staff’s labor!), we basically had these bathrooms to ourselves.

    you get two of these bad boys!!!

  4. Two bathtubs. I know I already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: you have two bathtubs! Very few places on campus have bathtubs, and even fewer have bathtubs that people actually trust the cleanliness enough to take a bath in them. Copes provide both of those things! I will say, I don’t know that anyone ever actually took a bath in our bathtub, but knowing it was an option definitely relaxed me almost as much as actually sinking into a warm, bubbly tub after a long day.
  5. ResLife-Funded Fun. Part of living in a cope is planning one event each semester for the rest of your hall (aka those people who you never really see unless you’re chasing them out of your bathroom in a towel). This is ostensibly to foster “hall bonding” or whatever, and it’s great if it does that, but I think the main takeaway is that ResLife will pay for snacks and materials for whatever activity you and your cope-mates want to do! My cope hosted a cookie-baking event for our hall, and when few people showed up for the event, we just made the cookies, left some outside each of the doors on our hall, and had the rest to enjoy ourselves! If you’re a crafty cope, you can get ResLife to pay for yarn, markers, embroidery materials, etc.! If you’re into video games, you can acquire snacks for a video-gaming session in the lounge! It’s super easy to make the things you like doing with your cope already into a hall event! (And if we’re being real, it’s not likely that your hall will actually show up, so it’s really just time to spend with your cope-mates, whom we’ve already established that you like.)
  6. Proximity to Summies/Swings. This may not be a universal positive (particularly for your points balance, and maybe your sensitive stomach), but having two food options with varied menus and plenty of vegan/vegetarian offerings really comes in clutch when you get caught in a blizzard, are severely hungover and want to minimize the time you’re vertical, or when you just don’t feel like putting on real clothes/shoes in order to satisfy your human need for food (I’ve definitely experienced all three). Additionally, both Summies and Swings offer the option to take your food to-go, so you can get back to the comfort of your favorite place on campus cope!
  7. You get to avoid the Hunger Games General Room Selection. As a first year, you may have pre-selected your roommate, but the powers-that-be over at ResLife assigned you your actual room. This is not how housing works for the rest of your time at Wes. Starting your freshman spring, most students fight to the death for choose their housing for the next academic year using this stressful little thing called General Room Selection, or GRS. There’s a detailed timeline for how this all works, but basically everyone who doesn’t end up in a cope, program housing, or community based living gets assigned a GRS lottery number based on the number of semesters they’ve been on-campus. This number controls your fate determines the order for room selection. If you are trying to live with your friends, you are able to form a housing group (generally with people in your class year, but occasionally mixed-year groups). You/your group will make a wishlist of all the housing options you’d like to live in (taking feasibility into account based on how high/low your GRS number is). Then on your assigned room selection night, you’ll all go to Usdan and wait for your number to be called as you stare ravenously at a constantly-updating projection which displays all the housing options getting taken one-by-one until your number is finally called and you make your selection (assuming there are still rooms left by the time they get to your number and you don’t have to wait for a summer assignment). Sound stressful? It is. Luckily, you can bypass this communal hellscape by applying to live in a cope! Even if your group doesn’t get selected for a cope, there’s still a round of program house applications available before ResLife throws you to the wolves puts you into GRS. Knowing this, why wouldn’t you apply for a cope???

this is only kinda a hyperbole

Now that you’ve heard me wax poetic about all the reasons I loved living in a cope, it’s time to hear from some of my anonymous former cope-mates about their thoughts on cope living:

“Pros of living in a cope: it’s literally the best bathroom situation in all the dorms (3 people to a bathroom! What luxury!) Also getting to live with your friends is always great, and there’s really limited ways to do that as a sophomore. As one of the people in the cope double, I can vouch for how great it is to be guaranteed a double with a lot of space. Cons of living in the cope: really just that copes tend to be populated by what I might call loud-side types, so you’re very likely to have to deal with excessive noise from your upstairs or downstairs neighbors. Which if you’re a party person I’m sure is great. If you’re a quiet-loving crone like me, it’s less great.”

“While I loved getting to live close to all of my friends, for me, the best part about a cope is avoiding the stressful ResLife lottery.”

“I liked living with friends and having a private bathroom. Didn’t love the noise from the cope below us.”

As you can see, other than some noise complaints (which, tbh, you’re at risk for anywhere on campus—those Hewitt-dwellers like to party), my cope-mates agree: copes are the best!

I hope this clarified some of your Cope Confusion, and that you’re now equipped with the knowledge to take advantage of one of Wesleyan’s best-kept secret gems! And if you do end up in GRS-hell: May the odds be ever in your favor!

Much love,

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