Question #7: What is dorm life like? Which is the best dorm for me?
To answer the first question, Gallaudet tries to promote interaction and community between dorm dwellers. This means that floor meetings may be held once or twice during the semester to establish rules, goals, and a sense of community. Every dorm hosts a couple of activities throughout the semester that anyone is allowed to attend. These could range from discussion topics and informational meetings on drugs, effects of alcohol, sex, and domestic abuse prevention to fun activities like game nights and movie nights.
Also, dorm life experiences can greatly depend on which dorm you live in. For example, having three roommates instead of one or sharing a bathroom with the entire floor verses only with your room buddies, can effect your experience in the dorms. Also, what you get out of dorm life depends on how much effort you want to put into it. All of the activities I listed above are optional. If you choose to do one, two, or even three of those, you are going to get to know other dorm dwellers better. There are also common rooms in every dorm that allow for more socializing.
Now, knowing what dorm is best for you will probably depend on how much you want to socialize, what type of personality you have, and what grade and GPA you have. Sadly, if you are a freshman, you do not have a choice as to where you will live, you must live in the Ballard complex (although some overflow is put in Benson Hall). Eventually though, all freshmen will be moved to Benson. The pro to living in Ballard is that there is a common bond shared between students in Ballard who will one day walk across a stage and receive their President-signed diploma. There are a couple of cons. For one, if you are in Ballard, there is only a staircase to get to the upper floors. Second, if you are not the party type, you probably won’t like Ballard much. I’ve also heard the bathrooms aren’t exactly “modest.”
If you are the party type or you just enjoy socializing and you don’t mind noise or loud music, then Benson Hall is the place for you. The upper floors are primarily labeled the “party floors,” but the closer you live to earth, the less noise and partying you’ll experience. However, no matter which floor you live on, you’ll never be short of socializing. Another positive to living in Benson is that it was just stocked with new furniture last year. Other than the noise, there is only one other complaint I have heard from students: there is no secure place to store their stuff over Christmas break. Students are allowed to leave whatever they want in their dorm room over the holidays and, for students in all of the other dorms, this is easy because they can lock their things in their closet with a padlock. Students in Benson do not have lockable closets; they have wardrobes instead.
Clerc Hall is also a great socializing-friendly dorm but with less partying. It is reserved for older students, mainly juniors, seniors, and graduates. A community environment is encouraged simply by the set-up of the rooms. Rooms can accommodate up to four students, so this is great if you like having multiple roommates. It has private bathrooms instead of community bathrooms like Ballard, Benson, and Peet. Also, Clerc is supposed to get new furniture, I believe, in the fall.
Peet Hall, like I said, has community bathrooms. It has only double rooms which works well for those who don’t like having multiple roommates. Eventually, from what I’ve heard, Peet will be torn down to make room for more landscaping and a re-positioned, re-designed library. Peet is mostly used by older undergraduate students and seems to be one of the quietest dorms on campus.
Another quiet dorm is Carlin Hall. Carlin is mostly used by graduate students, older students, students with high GPAs, students in the Honors Program, and International students. It has rooms that accommodate up to four roommates and it has private bathrooms. It has large, open community spaces for socializing in each wing that are shared by two floors. The upper floor has a balcony that opens into this area.
If you want to see pictures or know more about the dorms visit: http://sa.gallaudet.edu/Student_Affairs/Residence_Life/Residence_Halls.html .
You can also check out http://sa.gallaudet.edu/Student_Affairs/Residence_Life.html for more information.