A Freshman’s Guide to Dorms at Brown

Don’t panic. Getting this residential life email was a highly anticipated and nerve racking moment for me, so take it from someone who may or may not have dramatically overreacted upon receiving the email; it will all work out.

The Big Picture:

Andrews (including East and West Andrews), Metcalf and Miler, Em-wool and Mo-champ are all on Pembroke campus, right near Thayer street (CVS!) and the Nelson (main gym).

Right across the Main Green is Keeney (comprised of Jameson/Meade, Archibald/Bronson and Everett/Poland houses) which houses 1/3 of the freshmen, is super close to the Rock (library), Wriston Quad and includes a small Keeney gym. Don’t let anyone scare you into thinking going from Pembroke to Keeney is like crossing coastlines, it’s a brisk 10-minute walk.

Keeney:

Historically known as “the social dorm” Keeney is located near the Ratty and its several stalled bathrooms have a lingering stench of vomit.

Every upperclassmen I spoke with, even ones who don’t go to Brown, insisted that Keeney is 100% the superior freshman dorm that houses all the “normal freshman who like to go out.” FALSE!  

While Keeney-dwellers are known for hosting pre-games, freshmen in other dorms host them too! Physically, Keeney is much less nice than the other freshman dorms. It’s party reputation causes the hallway carpets to reek of whatever substance was strewn upon it the night before.

A classic Keeney moment is showering while that random kid who schemed you last night is taking a massive dump in the stall across from you. Hilarious but gross. Keeney dorms are typically smaller and the halls much louder. So, if your neighbor’s pregame turns into a dorm party you won’t be getting much sleep.

Anyone who’s lived in Keeney will say it’s the best. And, those funny shower moments comprise some of the most memorable first year experiences and close friendships…almost too close for comfort.

The Keeney quad is a scenic place to do work or tan and Arnold lounge is a great study space on Keeney quad. Important: Keeney, like Em-wool but unlike Andrews, is equipped with vending machines that will 100% come in handy.

Wayland

Though Wayland is technically separate from Keeney, it’s on Wriston Quad so extremely close by. It’s in a central location that enables you to have your own space when needed, even though people will assume you live in Keeney.

Andrews:

Physically the nicest dorm on campus.

Though its located on Pembroke Campus, giving it a bad reputation for being “far” and “isolated,” the walk to the main green is a mere 7 minutes. The food options are far superior than any other dorm. People living across campus will make the trek to Andrews Cafeteria daily for its incredible Pizza (better than Antonio’s on Thayer), and create your own salad bar. If you live in Andrews, you DO NOT HAVE TO STEP OUTSIDE to get to the dining hall. On weekends, the brunch lines span out the door and it’s so worth it for the breakfast burritos and yogurt bar.

The dorms are more spacious with higher ceilings, two walk-in closets and… A SINK INSIDE THE ROOM. The closets are so massive you can lay down on its floor.

I don’t know what my academic year would’ve looked like if it hadn’t been for Andrews Study and my proximity to it - living ten feet away from it. If you’re like me and don’t like the serious and claustrophobic environment of a cubicle in a library but you need silence to work, Andrews Study is the perfect place to grind out a research paper, study for Econ or do a long reading. It also has a printer. Warning: the smell of whatever cuisine served in Andrews dining hall wafts upstairs to the study; thankfully the windows open.

Andrews has a beautiful outdoor patio, equipped with a fireplace for the winter and tables and chairs to do work or eat your Poke bowl there. The surrounding lawn space is good for relaxing or playing spike ball. If you have a class in Smitty-B, your professor might have class out there.

Metcalf and Miler

Metcalf and Miler are situated directly next to Andrews. The dorms themselves are recently renovated so they are nice and new. However, they do not contain sinks or walk-in closets like Andrews' dorms. 

Emery-Woolley: “Em-wool”

Upperclassmen will tell you that Em-wool is irrelevant but there has emerged a very social and tight knit em-wool squad. The dorms, while they have less light and look more hospital-esque than other dorms, are significantly bigger and provide access to semi-private bathrooms- a freshman luxury. There is a nice study lounge on the first floor with large windows and extremely close access to the outstanding V-Dub dining hall. The Em-Wool basement has earned a reputation for being a crazy party space that people will mob on any dead night or take over for a friend’s birthday and turn it into a raging party.

Morriss-Champlin: “Mo-champ”

You’re basically in em-wool, just a little less relevant and a little more alternative and edgy.

What use to be the worst dorm to live in is now a very comfortable place. After its renovation in 2017, Morriss-Chaplin is new and improved. While the dorms are rather boxy and basement-like, they are spacious and have direct access to the Mo-Champ lounge. The lounge, which contains a fireplace, pool table and ping pong table doubles as a popular study space.

So there you have it. While students are bias and favor the dorm they lived in, each has its own perks and drawbacks that you are guaranteed to miss when it becomes time for the sophomore year housing lottery.