Spoiler alert: I am a tried and true Swiftie. I bought her first, self-titled, album back when it was released on CD in 2006 (or I had someone else buy it for me) and when I was first given it I spent weeks memorizing the lines to all of her songs. I couldn’t yet tell my R’s from my W’s, but I could give you a heartbreaking rendition of “Should’ve Said No”. Over the years, I continued to collect her music and made amazing memories pretty much soundtracked by it, so it was a no-brainer for me to combine two of my favorite things, Taylor Swift and UVM, and describe UVM residence halls as Taylor Swift albums. This article was totally inspired by a friend of mine’s article for HerCampus UMass Amherst, which compared Taylor Swift albums to UMass residential areas, and which you can read here.
If you have never been to UVM before, our residence halls are split up among four campuses: Central, Athletic, Redstone, and Trinity, and in each residential area are a variety of different learning communities (LLCs), community-based living centered around a core idea or theme. I chose to focus my ranking less on the learning communities and more on the actual residence halls/areas themselves, but some of them do have tie-ins to their LLC. Also, I would like to preface by saying that this is all my personal opinion, and certainly not a definitive comparison. Without further ado, here are the UVM residential halls as Taylor Swift albums.
- Taylor Swift (debut) – Harris Millis
This one was a no-brainer for me. Many first-year students live in Harris or Millis, or have at least been to the dining hall once, and when I’ve spoken to upperclassmen who have moved off-campus, their most fond memories are always those of “Harry Milly” late-night chicken nuggets. Like Debut, Harris Millis is the jumping-off point for a lot of UVM students, and, while Debut is arguably not the greatest album on the list, it holds memories for all of us Swifties who have been there since the beginning.
- Fearless – Christie Wright Patterson
I can’t really explain this one, but as a student who currently lives in CWP, I have a gut feeling that it is the best comparison. CWP, which is part of the Wellness Environment on campus, is usually a very chill group of like-minded individuals who are interested in keeping their brains and bodies healthy. Like Fearless, CWP has its times where it is loud and full of activity, but it also has plenty of times where it is more laid-back and a great community. Christie has been such a great place to live this year and brings back memories of me finding a community of friends in elementary school when I first found people who had also listened to Fearless. Also, I dream of having a Love Story balcony-esque moment when I look out the giant glass windows of our common room.
- Speak Now – U Heights South
I have been in U Heights South once, home to the upperclassmen of the Sustainability learning community, and it was an interesting experience. I got lost easily in the stairs and hallways and different towers just like how I kind of got lost in the songs of Speak Now the first time I heard it. However, this is still a great album and a great place to live, and the energy coming out of UHeights is, as always, quite impeccable. The creativity that is the Sustainability learning community, and the bright energy that radiates from this building make it the perfect equivalent of Taylor’s third album.
- Red – U Heights North
Ah, U Heights North, home of the Honors College and Undergraduate Research offices, your energy is impeccable. I used to wake up to the opening tracks of State of Grace on my old alarm clock, which might make me partial to this album, and to the Honors College to which I belong. Honors College students at UVM are some of the most fun, creative, thoughtful students on campus, who are always down to get together with their friends and have a great time, which are the exact same vibes that Red gives off. Taylor’s fourth album is able to balance love, heartbreak, sophistication, and having a good time, just like Honors College students are able to balance our super busy, usually overwhelming, schedules. Have I listened to All Too Well while walking back to Redstone in a rainstorm on one occasion too many, simply to see if I can make it door to door in 5 minutes and 28 seconds? Perhaps.
- 1989 – Living and Learning
Living and Learning. L/L. Home to the Cultural Crossroads learning environment and LASP, where I spent my first 6 months at UVM. Like Living/Learning, 1989 is a party album. Even the more heartbreak-tinged songs like Clean or I Wish You Would are pop-fueled, power anthems and mirror the vibes of L/L. A lot of people on campus want to live in Living/Learning because of the awesome suite situation and great location, just like how I have never met anyone who didn’t like 1989. It has something for everyone, and the best pop vocals behind it, making it the perfect match to the hustle and bustle of Living and Learning. I have yet to hear “Shake It Off” while waiting in line for Skinny Pancake, but I assume they just blast it when I’m not there.
- Reputation – Trinity
Trincity, baby! Trinity is home to the most creative, cool, and all-around fun individuals I have met at UVM, and the Arts and Creativity learning community is full of fun events and great opportunities and experiences for students interested in expressing their creative spirit on campus! reputation, like Trinity, was an album that people were wary of at first, and full of much heavier tunes than the bubblegum pop vibe of 1989. However, after having listened to reputation on repeat one too many times, there are so many hidden gems on its tracklist, just like how I have found out that Trinity is full of great people. Trinity’s reputation, as an outsider, further away from campus, has made new students wary of it, but I can say for a fact that the community and creativity on Trinity’s campus is full of flair and pep, just like Taylor’s vocals and instrumentals on reputation. Look, if I sing Getaway Car loud enough while walking through the back five, maybe I’ll be recruited to join a student band
- Lover – Central Campus Residence Hall
Central Campus Residence Hall (CCRH) is home to most of the first-year students in the Wellness Environment, just like how Lover brought in many new fans of Taylor’s music after her voyage into calling out her haters in the lyrics of reputation. Lover is polished, peppy, upbeat, and easy to listen to, just like how CCRH, brand-new and full of fresh-faced first-years, is close to all of your classes on the central campus. I have been in CCRH once, but the fresh feeling you get upon entering is akin to what Taylor sings of in “I Forgot That You Existed”, where she reflects on how she does not need to dwell on her haters or negative press anymore. The whole of Lover is about rebirth and refocusing your identity, and CCRH is where many first-year students get that opportunity.
- Folklore – Wing Davis Wilks
Wing Davis Wilks, or WDW, is home to outdoor experience, which makes it the perfect comparison to Taylor’s return to laid-back, folk-inspired tunes. WDW lives on Redstone campus, the area of UVM that feels the most magical and folklore-ish due to its surrounding trees and the Redstone Woods. Outdoor Experience students are usually content to just relax in the trees, like Taylor in “seven”, and find themselves amongst nature. The whole magical aspect of folklore, that return to nature vibe, is perfectly captured in the adventurous nature spirit of Wing Davis Wilks hall.
- Evermore – Redstone Hall
If WDW is folklore, its sister building, Redstone Hall, is the epitome of evermore. The feelings of evermore bring up the same feeling of being amongst nature, yet it also envisions fantastic galas and vengeful friends. Redstone Hall, what I would call the most interesting and gorgeous building on campus, is almost a miniature castle and inspires dreams of running up and down the stairs in gorgeous dresses and crying over champagne problems. While it was my dream to live in Redstone Hall when I first came to UVM, that dream will not be fulfilled, and I continue to yearn for the magic of Redstone Hall, just as evermore digs past the bubblegum pop of Taylor’s last albums before folklore and returns to us a haunting dream of what happiness could be.
Taylor Swift’s musical library is one of many shifts and changes over the 15 years she has been creating and producing music, just as UVM is full of different pockets of students in their learning communities. As a mere Taylor fan, my word is not the final judgment on what residential areas correspond to her albums, but it helps illuminate the living, breathing, communities on UVM’s campus. If you need to find me, I will be listening to Getaway Car on repeat with the rest of the UVM swifties.
Edited by Atti Shepherd