Copeland ranks as one of the most controversial dormitories

Photo by Ray Freedman

By Kendall Arlasky

Choosing your housing situation is kind of like going on a Tinder date: you really only decide where you want to live based on pictures and a vague profile. Sometimes it is love at first sight and sometimes it’s a flop. But unlike Tinder you can not say sayonara to the dorm you choose after the first date: you have to commit to your dorm for a semester. At Lewis & Clark, certain dorms are more controversial than others.

Chloe Safar ’21 said that Akin is one such dorm.

“I have a love/hate relationship with my dorm,” Safar said. “I really like the location, it’s close to Templeton and to my classes. I like my roommate. But sometimes the environment is a little exclusive. People tend to think Akin is boring, studious or an office building.”

For Safar, the community aspect is what is missing in Akin.

“Most of the people in my hall are a community and so being outside of that community can be difficult,” Safar said. “I think this sense of exclusivity is because it is so small. So people either become close friends with everyone or you’re outside of that. ”

It is not only the social environment that Safar finds unappealing about Akin.

“The worst thing about living in Akin is how messy people are,” Safar said. “The kitchen is a nightmare. People leave their dishes and food in the sink. Last semester the sink got clogged constantly. The common area is strewn with people’s things all the time.”

Despite all of this, other buildings in the Stewart-Odell-Akin complex are  appealing to Safar.

“I would live in Stewart or Odell because I love the big rooms with the walk-in closets and the location is great,” Safar said. “But, I don’t think I would want to live in Akin again.”

Not every Akin resident feels this way. Isabel Whitelaw ’21 has a different outlook.

“Akin was my first choice,” Whitelaw said. “When I looked through the various dorms online, Akin’s rooms just looked the nicest.”

Whitelaw appreciates Akin’s quiet atmosphere.

“There’s an air of solitude surrounding Akin,” Whitelaw said. “If you keep to yourself and you like having your space, Akin is a really good place for you.”

Whitelaw also enjoys the location and finds community there.

“Akin is really close to academic campus,” Whitelaw said. “My RA is super supportive and nice. If you’re an international student, there’s a really big community here.”

Another dorm, Copeland, is also considered to be controversial to students but for very different reasons. One former Copeland resident, who asked to remain anonymous, moved out of Copeland at the end of their freshman year. They said that living in Copeland was an unpleasant experience.

“It doesn’t provide a homey atmosphere,” they said. “The walls are cinder block. It kind of feels like a prison. Other people’s descriptor, also my descriptor. It’s very … dark and sterile.”

This former resident noted that Copeland was an environment best suited for athletes.

“If you’re on a sports team, it’s probably a really good fit, because you have your community there,” they said. “But if you’re not on a sports team and you don’t like to party, it’s not quite the place for you. There’s not really a sense of community there for the most part, unless you’re on a sports team.”

This former resident said it could be difficult to sleep at night during the parties hosted in Copeland’s quad rooms.

“Quad parties get pretty loud,” they said. “There was some pink throw-up in our bathroom for awhile. They had parties on Friday and Saturday. So on Friday night, there would be a huge quad party, and then there’d be pink vomit on the ground until Monday, because they don’t clean on the weekends.”

After this student moved out, one section of Copeland was converted into a Living-Learning Community for the STEM department.

“I knew someone who was in the STEM dorms,” the student said. “They said it was really good, that it created a good community.”

Some people, like Dale Des Enfants  ’21, relish living in a community like Copeland.

“I don’t know any other dorm who is as close as my floor is,” Des Enfants said. “I feel like that’s a big part of the reason that I love Copeland because a lot of my friends live there. It’s where I can go to feel safe and comfortable.”

Des Enfants said that living in Copeland gave her opportunities she could not have anywhere else.

“Living in Copeland, I’m friends with people I never would have been able to be friends with,” Des Enfants said. “I choose it because it has such a broad variety of people and it’s a majority of freshman residents.”

Nonetheless, Des Enfants recognized Copeland’s controversial reputation.

“There are people who thrive in Copeland and then people who should definitely not be living in there,” Des Enfants said. “But, in Copeland you can be friends with whoever, whereas I think the other dorms on campus are more exclusive.”

LC  has a variety of living situations, some highly coveted by students and some not so much. If you have not found your perfect match yet, the housing lottery will help you swipe right.

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