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Pros and Cons of Clark University Upperclassmen Residence Halls

If you’re like many Clark U students during this time, you may be struggling to figure out where you’re going to live next year, and with whom. To help facilitate the process, here’s a list of some of the pros and cons of all the different living spaces here at Clark University:

Johnson Sanford Center: This is the quintessential upperclassmen hall for those looking to stay in a simple, traditional dorm room, either in a single, double, or in some cases, a triple. Housing 297 students, it’s on the larger side of the dorms on campus, though certainly not the biggest.

  • Pros: JSC includes a variety of recently renovated study rooms and lounges, which can be great resources if you and your roommate have different sleep or study schedules. Being a traditional dorm, it’s also one of the most inexpensive places to live on campus (assuming you’re in a regular double or triple). In addition, if you have a large group of people that are looking to live together, the recently added 8-person suites in JSC can be a fun place to live with friends.

  • Cons: Unless you’re in a suite, living in a dorm does still involve sharing a bathroom with people who you may not know. The large, maze-like layout of having two buildings combined into one also means that it can at first be easy to get lost. The fact that JSC was built before the idea of a standardized size for dorm rooms also means that, depending on your luck, you may get a smaller room than your neighbor. On the bright side, if you’re lucky, you may also get a larger room!

Dodd Hall: This all women’s dorm can be a very cozy place for anyone who’s looking for a unique experience of living only with female individuals. With a large variety of singles and doubles, and kitchens galore throughout the building, Dodd is an excellent dorm for those who are looking to reside in a female only space.

  • Pros: One advantage of Dodd is the fact that many of the rooms are slightly larger than the rooms that exist in JSC and other traditional dorms, which is always a perk for décor and furniture purposes! It also includes a limited amount of apartment style rooms, which is advantageous for anyone who is looking to go off the meal plan and cook more of their own food; for those looking to stay in a traditional room, however, Dodd has a plethora of nearby kitchens that students can use to make snacks in between mealtimes. For women looking to live alone, Dodd also contains a large number of single rooms.
  • Cons: The fact that Dodd has no elevator means that, for those living on the 4th floor, leaving one’s room can be a serious trek down 4 flights of stairs. Also, the somewhat limited number of washing machines and dryers that exist in the basement means that on busy nights, residents may end up making this long trek only to discover that many of the machines are taken. For some, the quietness of Dodd may also be initially off putting- while attempting to do work or sleep, however, many “Doddesses” are thankful for the silence!

Hughes Hall: One of Clark’s smaller housing options, Hughes houses 148 students of various class standings. Its central location near the campus green makes the building’s exterior a fun spot for students to play frisbee and study with friends- assuming of course that the weather provides!

  • Pros: Hughes is one of the only dorms at Clark that includes a wellness floor, which is a great option for students who are looking to stay in shape and refrain from using drugs/alcohol. It also includes a handful of larger suites for those who are looking to live with friends; in addition, the mixed class element of Hughes makes it easier to meet people from other class standings that you might not otherwise meet!

  • Cons: For some upperclassmen, the idea of residing in the same dorm as freshmen may be one that is unappealing. Like Dodd, Hughes also lacks an elevator, though fortunately for residents, it only has 3 floors instead of 4. Depending on the location of one’s room, sometimes there is a lack of natural lighting that causes certain rooms (i.e. those in the basement or the ones facing away from the sun) to be on the darker side. For those who do choose to live in Hughes, I would recommend investing in some twinkly string lights, which can make the atmosphere more cozy and relaxing while trying to study at night!

Maywood Street Hall: With 225 residents, Maywood is the physically largest dorm on Clark University’s campus. Its 4 and 6 person suites are a great option for people who want the experience of living with friends in a separate unit, but are not yet ready to prepare their own food or go off of the meal plan.

  • Pros: For many people at school, the idea of a communal bathroom is one that sends shivers down the spine. In Maywood, residents share a bathroom with only their immediate suitemates; 4 person suites include 2 sinks, 1 toilet and 1 shower, while 6 person suites include 2 sinks, 2 toilets and 2 showers. Maywood suites also include a suite common area with a variety of Clark-provided chairs, tables and couches, which are especially nice for hanging out or doing work during times that students don’t want to be in their rooms Unlike at many other schools, physical plant actually comes in and cleans the bathroom and lounge area twice a week, meaning that students don’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to clean! Many (though not all) of the rooms also include walk in closets, which are especially nice for days that you’re having trouble finding that perfect outfit for class.

  • Cons: Maywood costs slightly more money than living in a traditional dorm room ($300 more per year), which may be a deal breaker for some people. For students who want to cook their own food, the fact that Maywood residents still must be on a full meal plan may be somewhat of a letdown; the building only contains one communal kitchen, which would get cramped if everyone tried to make their own meals every day.

Blackstone Hall: This state of the art dorm was built in 2006, and it features apartment style rooms in 4 and 6 person layouts. Clark students looking for the crème of the crop of dorms will find it in Blackstone, as it is by far the newest of all the Clark halls, and it includes all of the latest and greatest amenities.

  • Pros: Blackstone includes central air conditioning, which is a major perk for those who are looking to beat the heat in the beginning and end of the school year. It also includes kitchens with dishwashers, ovens and granite countertops, as well as living rooms that have new couches and chairs. Students living in Blackstone also have the option to go on a reduced meal plan, or simply forego the meal plan altogether, which is ideal for those who are looking to save money and have more control over their diets at Clark.

  • Cons: The high quality living in Blackstone comes with a high price tag, as it is the most expensive living option at Clark. There is also a high demand for these rooms, meaning that students with lower lottery numbers might not have the option of living there. In addition, the rooms in Blackstone, particularly the doubles, tend to be quite small, which may at times leave some students feeling cramped.

RLH Houses: Clark owns a variety of apartment style houses, with some being close to the school, and others being further away. In total, there are ten undergraduate Clark houses, each with a different layout, all of which include utilities, as well as the standard furniture that one might expect to see in a dorm room.

  • Pros: For many upperclassmen, living in a real apartment feels more “adult” than living in a dorm, with groceries, cleaning and a larger space to share with friends. RLH houses are also slightly less expensive than Blackstone, making them a great option for people who want to live in an apartment without having to pay as much money out of pocket. In general, Clark-owned apartments feel more authentically “grown up” than living in a residence hall, particularly for seniors who will be living on their own soon after college.

  • Cons: Depending on the location of your apartment, some may feel far away, especially for those who are used to living directly on campus in a residence hall. For people looking to have their own room, the “small singles” that exist in some apartments may be a downside, as are the attic spaces on the upper floors of apartments that include rafters.

Overall, the experience one has in a residence hall is what you make of it; whether you end up in an apartment or a regular dorm room, it is most important to focus on academics, and on campus living should reflect the most ideal conditions for each individual Clark student to thrive. Remember to enjoy your time here at Clark; wherever you may choose to live, these 4 years really do fly by!

Allison is a sophomore at Clark University who is majoring in history with a concentration in women and gender. During her free time, she enjoys singing, playing the violin, and getting involved with theater productions on campus. 
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