Ladd House—occupied by sophomores in recent memory—has a new set of residents: class of 2019. As the only exclusively senior space within the College House system, the iconic red facade of Ladd now represents an experiment in keeping the social scene for upperclassmen centered on campus.
Although it’s still too early to tell how Ladd will navigate its role as a communal space, House members have embraced this uncertainty and are looking forward to what the year will bring.
For seniors Amber Orosco and Sadie LoGerfo-Olsen, the wooden-walled common room looks familiar. This year, the two women, joined by 20 other housemates, are experiencing College House life in a completely different way than when they lived in Ladd as sophomores.
“Coming back I wanted to do a lot of things differently, and I also think it’s totally different to have seniors than sophomores,” LoGerfo-Olsen said. “You’re not trying to impress anyone anymore.”
Tapping into a desire to create a space for seniors, Ladd has already hosted a few small-scale events which have catered to an upperclassman audience. On the second weekend of classes, students aged 21 and above filled the House and were allowed to be served alcoholic beverages. Underage students who attended did not receive the coveted wristbands, which are part of the House’s new system of ID-ing at the door.
LoGerfo-Olsen is also excited by the prospect of a partnership between Ladd and the Senior Class Council, which has a budget of $30,000. Council funds can also be spent on alcohol for 21-and-over events, whereas Ladd House money cannot.
The talk of events only for students of age distinguishes Ladd from other College Houses.
“People really do see it as a separate space and people really do have it in their mind that Ladd is considered different from the rest of the College Houses,” Orosco said.
Even though House members feel the importance of creating a unique space for seniors, they have also worked to generate dialogue about how Ladd can function for the rest of campus. At the beginning of the semester, members met with officers from the other seven College Houses.
“I’m feeling very confident that they’re being proactive about that and thinking about it intentionally, and I feel like it’s gonna work out well,” said Interim Director of Residential Life Assistant Tim Coston.
While it has prioritized senior events, Ladd plans to continue hosting campus-wide events to bridge the gap, and members hope they see widespread participation. Tomorrow night, the House will host another campus-wide after the football game, “The Football Results Party.” They will also continue to throw trademark Bowdoin parties such as Epicuria.
“If you really focus people’s energy on a few events per year it will be pretty awesome,” Orosco said.
In addition to parties, Ladd House members have talked about using the space for more art-oriented and creative events, like the existing Ladd House Art Show.
“We have a really cool space for music and fostering a more laid back yet still party scene,” LoGerfo-Olsen said. “That’s something we’re really looking forward to.”
While the programming and potential for Ladd is exciting, questions of how the House will generate attendance at its events and unite various communities on campus remain.
Eddie Akubude ’18, a first-time College House resident, said that he doesn’t know if Ladd’s presence will stop upperclassmen groups from going off campus.
“I think it’s a good idea as long as upperclassmen are receptive to it. They need to see that this is their space too,” Akubude said.
Darius Riley ’19 echoed a similar sentiment.
“In order for it to be successful it can’t be just us,” Riley said. “It has to be the student body. The more people we have, the more active it is, that is what our definition of success is.”
While the effects of an all-senior College House on campus life remain to be seen, Orosco is excited to see the House potentially serve the role as a unifying space on campus.
“This space is versatile enough to be able to do a lot of different things, just a lot of opportunity there,” she said. “There’s this whole emphasis on Bowdoin community and bringing people together, and I think that Ladd is the perfect opportunity to do that. And we’re still figuring out how, but I’m optimistic.”