Prospective families that visit Trinity often stand astonished during their campus tours when they come across a Hansen single, furnished perfectly in college decor. They are shocked to hear that, although they are in an upperclassmen dorm, the room they are viewing is a common setup for first-year students. These impressive housing standards are reflected throughout the tour, particularly when walking by the relatively new crescent townhouses. It is difficult to criticize Trinity for showing potential applicants such a positive view of on-campus housing. Those that can remember their own college processes will similarly remember the immaculate dorm rooms shown through countless college tours.
This positive view of housing at Trinity is continued during students’ first day on campus. First-years move into singles, quads, and split-room doubles. Meanwhile, parents cannot typically recall such great housing options their own freshmen years and are given another reason to be incredibly impressed with Trinity. Singles, quads, and split-room doubles are often a rarity at other schools. The recently renovated kitchens and common rooms that the first-year dorms boast as well are comfortable, practical, and attractive.
Those that argue against the quality of first-year housing often point to North, the decades-old staple of Vernon Street commonly considered to be the worst dorm on campus. However, most residents of North reflect on their first-year ideal location with nothing but fondness. Most upperclassmen remember their close community and an ideal location on the weekends, nestled between the frats and Goldbergs. For the nine unlucky first-years that find themselves in North triples, there are dozens of better housing options for their classmates in the concrete jungle.
Despite this happy picture of residential life, housing can often take a turn once sophomore year comes. Those that are not lucky enough to obtain desirable numbers go through their first housing lottery process, one of the most stressful and confusing annual events on campus. Many are not lucky enough to secure housing in Hansen or Summit and find themselves on the absolute outskirts of Trinity: Stowe, Clemens, Park Place, or Boardwalk. They may be placed in High Rise, with desirable quads and bathrooms, but may be subjected to days without hot water. The Cook quads, while undoubtedly ideally located, are extremely small, and students, returning to Trinity after their first year, can’t imagine finding themselves in cramped bunk beds. Students reported rats in Park Place upon their move-in day, while students in Stowe found themselves constantly subjected to the noises of New Britain Avenue.
At the Tripod, our offices in the basement of Jackson Hall have not changed much throughout the decades. Most students at Trinity are even unaware the Tripod has its own offices, but, though small, it does exist behind the first-year laundry room. Throughout the semester, the twice monthly cleaned offices have been subjected to mice (and mice droppings), two broken doors, and wildly changing temperatures. The photography club’s studio (located in Jones) has been flooded.
Housing at Trinity often gets more credit than it deserves among students, alumni, and material geared towards college advocacy. The Crescent town houses are undoubtedly great, but they offer an extra price tag on top of regular room and board fees that just isn’t accessible to many students at Trinity. College dorms rarely provide an exceptional experience for students and, again, it is unfair to criticize Trinity for its housing in relation to other schools. Trinity’s housing lottery, though stressful, is a relatively fair way to assess where students have the right to live.
While the typical problems of Trinity- its social culture, its outrageously high tuition, its lack of student/administration communication- are constantly criticized, the problems of housing are often overlooked, and are too easily praised as good. While college dorms are never romanticized, many of Trinity’s problems could be easily fixed if more attention was placed on them.