An incomplete guide to the dorms of Whitworth

by James Gao | Columnist

For those of us who are blessed by the chance to pay about a grand per month to live on campus, it is important to get the most value for your money. You see, there are many different dorms, and with each, a particular reputation. 

For example, McMillan, the “Mac” component of “B-Mac”, has a cult-y sort of feel. At random moments throughout the day, the devotees of the Yellow Smiley Face can be seen throwing round discs around in honor of the roundness of their mascot. It probably has nothing to do with disc golf. The “B” component, Ballard, is surprisingly quieter than its sibling dorm, perhaps due to the lower levels of testosterone. Baldwin-Jenkins, affectionately known by all as “BJ”, is similarly affected, its occupants being either pool sharks or chronic freshmen. Any RA worth their pinecones in BJ is a pool shark, and the rest of the population hopelessly exhibit all the characteristics of freshmen (no explanation needed or advisable). Stewart is the dorm that exists, but everyone seems to forget about it, much like—I forgot where I was going with that. The Village is also not high in visibility, but its decline in memorability has been so drastic that it is currently under renovation. Little is known about its former details, due to the single-room layout that rendered each space within as its own nation-state. I don’t know much about Boppell, the upperclassmen dorm, for the sensible reason that I distrust association with those above my grade level. I don’t want to catch their sense of Senioritis and Jr. Senioritis just yet. Warren is the all-rounder, being neither too good nor too bad. The showers could fit two at a time in a broom closet though. Duvall is known as the “pod dorm” due to the shared living spaces that can accommodate up to eight people per pod. I went there once for a shower, and it was nice. As I have mentioned shower quality twice in a row now, you deserve to know the reason behind it. This next part is devoted to the two dorms that I have lived or am living in. 

Oh, Arend, you home of frequent fire alarms, smelly floors, dirty bathrooms, and leaky pipes: nevermore shall you jinx my showers. The first time, there was no water pressure. Lugging a spare change of clothes to Duvall, I flagged down the first Duvallian I saw and offered my soul for a hot shower. It was nice. The second time, the water was ice cold, and hair dripping, I re-robed and stalked across campus to Warren where I discovered that people six feet tall and over need to be professional contortionists to use its shower stalls. I lived in the Arend basement, where both I and my three plants suffered from lack of sunlight. Other than causing me to develop a more vampiric skin tone, the rooms themselves weren’t that bad—rather spacious actually. The main issue was the basement bathroom. Whether by oversight or a mood of mischief, the bathroom genies were prone to forgetting what the toilet flusher’s function was. They also tended to forget that the critical part of the seat that makes contact with our vulnerable flesh is meant to be lifted when not necessary to the expelling of waste. The rest is classified. Arend is the “homey” dorm, situated at the center of most class locations and the HUB. The trade-off is the need for renovation, particularly in hall lighting, modern décor, a better-equipped lounge (last I heard, the cue ball on the pool table was still slowly rolling towards the corner pocket thanks to the slight surface tilt), and a new pipe system. Popcorn tends to be burnt to such a degree in the kitchen that it triggers the fire alarm, keeping residents guessing if the next fire alarm is the third drill of the month or thanks to the sixth burnt bag of popcorn. I lived in Arend my first year, and when the housing lottery rolled around, I jumped aboard like a sinking rat onto a pinecone, to the best dorm on campus, Oliver. 

Oliver looks like a ski resort. The soaring roof, high windows and commodious interior are a rhapsody of comfort. I’ve only lived here a few weeks now, but Oliver is truly elite to an Arend refugee such as myself. For the musically inclined, there is a piano practice room in the basement as well as a piano on the first floor. For athletics, two of the four lounges have a ping-pong table. There are big, well-lit study rooms on each floor, resplendent with sofas and whiteboards. Each floor’s lounge is well stocked with sofas, and generously sized balconies with tables and barbecue grills make outdoor studying an enjoyable experience. The communal kitchen is large, and the bathrooms are so much cleaner than Arend, it’s incomparable. While it is a farther walking distance to classes than other dorms, the comfort is well worth it. All that being said, what is the reputation of Oliver? Snobs. This concludes my lop-sided foray into dorm reviewing, and if you feel that your dorm is better than Oliver, well, you’re entitled to your foolishly inaccurate opinion.

Official Whitworth dorm information can be found at:

Although really, Oliver is the obvious choice.