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A Gavel Guide to BC's Freshman Dorms

Article co-written by Devyn Casey & Molly Caballero

Upper/CoRo

Being placed on Upper is akin to winning the lottery, or at least that is what anyone who ever lived on Upper will tell you (those on Newton beg to differ). From its proximity to Main campus to the close quad that Upper is based around, this part of campus boasts a lot of benefits. The dorms are placed in a square-ish formation with O'Connell House in the center. O'Connell is a popular place for students on Upper to hang out, study and have club meetings. While it looks slightly haunted, it is home to a pool table, grand piano, laundry, and lots of various rooms complete with TVs or couches.

Another great thing about O'Connell House is that CAB hosts events there for freshmen. For example, this year, CAB had a mini golf night, an arcade basketball/soccer tournament, and a Halloween event where you could pick up pumpkins and art supplies. Pro tip: Watching a horror movie in O’Connell might haunt your nightmares for a bit, so do not attempt if you live in a single. The dorms on Upper are mostly doubles, but they also have a few singles and a moderate amount of triples and quads which, contrary to a common rumor, either gender can get. Overall, Upper campus is a wonderful place to be put as a first year, though you might have a little trouble with the busses compared to your Newton compatriots.

Gonzaga/Fitzpatrick (“Fitzaga”)

Fitzpatrick and Gonzaga Hall are located at the front side of the Upper quad and are across from Kostka, Chevy and O’Connell House. The door for Gonzaga Hall is actually right by the stairs connecting Main campus to Upper, which is handy during the icy winters that BC is known for. These two dorms are joined in the center, like many other freshman dorms at BC, and contain around 200 students each. “Fitzaga,” as it is called, has a couple lounges, though none that rival the ones in Kostka or Chevy. Sara Litteken, LSEHD ‘24, enjoys studying in the dorm and says that, “My favorite study space is the lounge on the second floor with one chair, it makes it super easy to focus.” 

Lara Traphagan, MCAS ‘24, warns new students that despite the conveniently located laundry machines in the basement and the third floor, taking out your laundry promptly is essential to avoid the wrath of your fellow dorm-mates. Lara says that “laundry is accessible, yet competitive.” This experience does not seem to be exclusive to Fitzaga, as laundry is overall less accessible on Upper campus - at least within the dorms themselves. 

Another benefit of living in the Fitzaga community is that St. Joseph's Chapel, where masses are held during the week and multiple times on the weekend, is in the Gonzaga basement. These masses are short and catered to the college audience, making them engaging and most-likely more relevant than any service back at home.

Claver, Loyola, Xavier, & Fenwick (“CLXF”)

By far the largest residence hall on Upper campus when combining the occupancy of the four adjoined dorms, Claver, Loyola, Xavier and Fenwick, CLXF houses around 560 freshman students. The dorms are joined in such a way that you can walk through all four halls without going outside. This makes it easy to hang out and make friends with people in all four of these halls. The lobby in the center is also a good place to hang out and meet friends from other sections of CLXF on your way to class. 

Yiwen Xiong, MCAS ‘24, says that the doubles in CLXF compare favorably to many of the rooms that he saw while touring other colleges and that he can “live very comfortably in the double.” Yiwen also frequently finds himself in the lounge on the third floor of Fenwick as it is spacious and a good place to get work done. Fenwick lounges are popular as Megan Day, MCAS ‘24 and Loyola resident, says of the Fenwick basement lounge, “It’s really the best place to hang out. The only issue is that the TV doesn't have cable so make sure to bring your laptop.” The theme of needing some minimal equipment for the lounges is present in many of the dorms, so it never hurts to carry around your laptop and an HDMI converter. 

Shaw House

Boasting what is possibly the closest-knit community on Upper, they call it a cult for a reason. Shaw House is home to 20 first-year students who are all part of the Shaw Leadership Living and Learning Community, a program which requires an application and is focused on creating leaders for the future. This house has a fun, homey atmosphere and even has a kitchen, though a meal plan is still required for Shaw residents. To read more about some students’ experiences in Shaw, take a look at this article

Medeiros 

One of the smallest residence halls on campus, Medeiros Hall is home to around 100 first-year students and is located on the backside of the larger Upper quad. Situated more like townhouses than a typical dorm, Medeiros is separated into sections that share a bathroom and are single gender. The second floor has one lounge for each section and bathrooms. Rey Perez, MCAS ‘24, states that, “The design of the dorm makes it inconvenient to get from section to section as you have to go outside.” While the design of the dorm can be frustrating to residents when there are sub-freezing temperatures outside, it also creates small pods of freshmen that can forge close bonds. As for the rooms themselves, Rey says that, “The ceilings are higher than any other dorm I’ve seen on Upper, making them feel way bigger.” The rooms also boast large windows and hallways are configured in an interesting manner unique to Medeiros. 

Kostka

Colloquially called “Kappa Kappa Kostka,” this is the only single-gender dorm on BC’s campus, housing only first-year women. Kostka residents benefit from a brand new lounge and laundry room complete with five sets of washers and dryers (which is just as many as Fitzaga—a dorm with about double the occupancy—boasts). What really makes Kostka distinct, however, is the fact that it is an all women's dorm. While some view Kostka as a good way to make similarly-minded friends quickly or even as a way to ensure placement on Upper, there is a lot about Kostka to love. Since it is home to the Kostka Living and Learning Community, the community has frequent events and get-togethers within the dorm itself or in conjunction with other dorms. This Living and Learning Community is also focused on the women's experience, making it excellent for those who are passionate about women's issues or want a place to discuss their experience. The new lounge makes an excellent place to watch movies and the RAs plan lots of activities for new students to get to know one another. 

Cheverus (“Chevy”)

Cheverus is a smaller dorm on Upper and it has a prime location across the road from both Fitzpatrick Hall and O'Connell House. Being a smaller dorm with only three floors, the people from Chevy usually come out with great friends from their floor. Its location also makes it easy to have friends in other dorms because of how close it is to both Fitzaga and CLXF.  When you enter this dorm, you actually enter on the second floor which has a huge lounge and a reflection room where you can work in a quiet and, usually, peaceful environment. The lounge is home to a TV and a seating area. Like many of the Newton dorms, students live on its lowest floor and while the view isn't spectacular, having a room here is great for the early months when it’s hot and a box fan in the window is the only thing keeping you sane. 

Williams

Williams Hall is a bit of an outlier on this list, as it is located on CoRo, which is a historically and primarily sophomore community. Housing 160 freshman and sophomores, Williams is a nicely sized dorm. Maddy McLeann, MCAS ‘24, has most of her friends on Upper but states that, “It was nice to have a quiet place to go back to at the end of the night.” Due to its primarily sophomore clientele, Williams is quieter and more secluded from other residence halls than the dorms on Upper. CoRo has other advantages as well, like its closer proximity to Main and its reduced stair count to get home. Williams also has spacious lounges on the first floor and a reflection room for quiet work and introspection. 

Since Williams is in a sophomore area, Maddy states that, “If your Upper friends want to visit you will have to let them in because their key won’t work, and the same goes for when I visit Upper.” This type of situation also applies to some of the residence hall programming, and freshman Williams residents are occasionally grouped in with their sophomore dorm-mates. This can be an advantage for some as it gives insight on future years at BC and fosters friendships with sophomores who can be great resources for first-year students. 

Newton Campus

While many freshmen feel a sense of dread upon learning they will spend their first year on Newton campus, the Newton pride is apparent among first-year students as they enter and exit the bus doors each day. The 15-minute bus ride to class is certainly a disadvantage, but being surrounded by all freshmen and having access to Newton Center makes up for this drawback. The sense of community prevalent throughout this remote campus is what many students argue is its best element. Jack Diggins, CSOM ‘24, appreciates the sense of community that having one dining hall for all students provides. Walking into Stuart and knowing that everyone around him is a freshman is comforting. Its relatively small student population also fosters the close-knit community of Newton campus. So, if you see the word “Newton” when you receive your housing assignment consider yourself, and the other 40% of freshmen who receive this housing fate, lucky.

While taking the bus is Newton's downside, the class of 2024 knows the tips and tricks of making it to class on time. Devin Klein, MCAS '24, states, "I always make sure to walk to the bus from my dorm thirty minutes before my class starts. Leaving this early leaves sufficient time for both taking the bus and walking to class." Devin also has the TransLoc app downloaded on his phone, which tells him when the next bus arrives at campus.   

Hardey/ Cushing 

Hardey/Cushing is located in the center of Newton campus. Consisting of two dorm buildings connected by a passageway, Cushing Hall and Hardey House are the closest dorms to the dining hall. Hardey is the larger of the two buildings, with 190 students, while Cushing houses 120 first-years

Hardey residents feel the sense of community Newton offers most when in the lounge. On Bachelor Mondays, the lounge is the place to be. On these nights, freshmen get together for a fun beginning of their week and enjoy relaxing with friends. Despite Newton Campus not having a library, you will find the lounge full of hard-working students collaborating on assignments during the weekdays. Jasmine Zhang, CSOM '24, states, "When I have a lot of work, I go to the Hardey side room. It's a great place to catch up on assignments and focus on readings." The Cushing lounge is also a great place to get work done. Though the lounge is slightly smaller, it's typically quieter than the Hardey lounge, so the Cushing lounge is arguably a more ideal study space.

The small size of Hardey and Cushing is a perk of living in these buildings, as students typically know the people who also reside in their dorm. Will Davis, CSOM '24 and Hardey 1 resident knows the majority of students in Hardey. He states, "Most of my good friends live in Hardey and Cushing; I am lucky to be a part of this close-knit community." Will also emphasizes how he appreciates his floor's small size, allowing him to truly know everyone he lives near. 

Duchesne East + West 

Students residing in Duchesne East and West share the same sense of community as Hardey-Cushingers; Their only complaint of the living situation is climbing up the hill each day. Consisting of 260 students and one RA per floor, the dorm sizes are smaller than those of Hardey/ Cushing. A lounge connects the two wings of Duchesne and is typically full of chatter between friends. This lounge also contains a ping pong table, where students from each wing can meet and take a  break from studying. A perk Duchesne offers is the basement's silent lounge, which is an ideal spot to get work done with no distractions. Additionally, Duchesne's prayer room is particularly large, and many students spend time there reflecting or doing homework. 

Behind the Duchesne building lie six Adirondack chairs, a space students utilize on warm afternoons. Allie Burke, LSEHD '24, spent fall nights in this spot, picking up dinner from the dining hall and eating with friends. Allie states, "I love this space because my friends and I enjoyed time together outside as well as getting to know other students from our dorm." An opportunity for friendship bonding and outdoor time, the Adirondack chairs are the place to be. 

Keyes

Like the other Newton residences, Keyes has a strong sense of community, a sense only heightened by its relative seclusion from other dorms on Newton. Thomas Caballero, MCAS ‘24, valued this aspect of his first-year experience and stated that the proximity to Stuart Dining makes up for the distance from other dorms. The largest residency on Newton campus allows many people to find their friends within their own dorm. Thomas also said that his location in the basement made for lots of bonding among residents and a “very convenient” location for doing laundry as the machines are located in the basement (he suggests mornings on the weekends for quiet times). Keyes is a great location for those looking to work an on-campus job as the short walk to Stuart makes it easy to have shifts without having to deal with long travel times.

Editor's note: This article was updated on 2/22/2021 to correct the residency of Megan Day, who lives in Loyola Hall, not Fenwick.

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