We deserve more than a tool shed
As a first-year veteran of the Annex, I was quite delighted to hear that this year no students are forced to live there. I can clearly remember getting my dorm assignment, and then looking up the image on the Wooster website, only to see the castle-like Holden Hall and be convinced that I was living in that lovely building.
Wrong. The day we moved in, my parents and I pulled up to a dingy, crumbling, defaced building that I would be calling home for the year. Between the cockroaches (yes, there were cockroaches) and the crumbling walls, I found myself dreading to retire to my own room, the place I was supposed to be able to call home.
On stormy nights, the unlucky lot of us would wander to each otherís rooms nervously, listening to the wind beat against the building and feeling the rumble of the foundation as it struggled to remain erect. Our lounge furniture went missing over time, and eventually we were left with nothing but a wobbly chair and telephone book. I understand that your dorm room shouldnít be set up like a mansion, and that you donít have to stay there all the time, but the fact is, we dressed, slept, studied, ate and relied on the Annex for shelter and warmth. It is unfortunate that it was in such a horrible state, and I am very happy to hear that first-years this year donít have to suffer like we did.
Obviously it is not needed this year, and first-years have been dispersed to other housing assignments. If the Annex must remain, why not turn it into a quarantine unit for the Wellness Center? I bet they would love the extra space. It doesnít need to be a permanent residence facility. Or if that is not possible, then just tear the thing down. I can say from the bottom of my heart that it will not be missed.
If it turns out that in the future students must live there, the least that can happen is to fix the building up a little bit. Make the doors actually shut. They never did for my closet because the door frame was so bent. I ended up having to shove a chair under the doorknob when I really wanted the door to stay shut.
When we bump into walls, please make the plaster stop crumbling behind them. Nothing is more unnerving than trying to hang a poster or loft a bed then to hear plaster crumbling inches away from you. Is that even safe?
Whatever the College decides to do with it, donít make students have to live there. College should be the home-away-from-home, and the Annex certainly does not live up to that image.
Benefits outweigh the drawbacks
Standing just behind the towering Holden Hall you will find the two-story Annex, a joyous architectural achievement in temporary dormitories, which is nearly a century old. This year the building stays in darkness, not because the light bulbs were stolen but because of the decision by the College to close it. Although the dorm remains admittedly the worst excuse for a habitat in the College (save perhaps Bissman on a Saturday), the Annex should stay open.
There are plenty of downsides to living in the Annex. To name a few ó the winters are freezing, heaters either donít work at all or are impossible to turn off, the windows donít close, a stair broke, the only lounge is tiny and it probably would burn down with a single dropped cigarette. Only one dryer works, the walls are the complete opposite of soundproof and the outside door wouldnít close for a few weeks in the winter. Just look at the building; the plaster looks decrepit and chipped off in several places. Everyone who lived in the dorm understands that itís an awful set up.
And yet, the first year on a college campus should encourage one to meet new people, reside somewhere relaxing and secure, and live around those like you in the formative year of college. The Annex works perfectly for this. Yeah, itís a dump. Yet I had a great time there last year, and a majority of the 40 person Annex class of 2012 feel the same.
Everyone knew the entire halló we played intramurals together, stayed up late doing absolutely nothing and invoked an incredibly intense loyalty to the dorm. The lounge was in use 18 hours a day, and although itís the size of my current room in Douglass, it crowded Annexers with student-bought furniture in its extensively decorated walls (most notably the scores of colored princess pictures complete with witty and often perverse captions). Camaraderie seemed to ensue through the disadvantages of the living quarters.
If the rationale for closing the dorm is facility based, the College can upgrade it. Babcock had an ìextreme makeover dorm edition,” and the Annex is not exactly a complicated dorm to improve.
If there werenít enough first-years, well, that makes sense. Itís the smallest first-year dorm, so obviously that would be closed first. If next year there are more applicants, re-open it. Financially, the Annex doesnít seem to require anything special, and in fact this newspaper earlier published statistics showing that the Annex actually used the third least amount of power per resident.
I canít vouch for everyoneís first-year experiences. Some people have a great time meeting people, others end up alienated and uncomfortable. All I know is that my first year was great because I lived with a rag tag group of misfits in a shanty.