The College Houses were what drew me to Bowdoin. Growing up in Brunswick—and later supported by a tour I took—the College Houses were, in my eyes, Bowdoin’s social life. As a first-year, I have experienced nightlife, a cappella, jazz, capture-the-flag and poetry through the College Houses, all of which have lived up to my expectations of what these houses provide.
Baxter House is on House probation until spring break due to an incident in the house one week ago. Baxter hosted a small gathering of a few house members in which they played “Champagne and Shackles.” In the game, two members of the house are handcuffed together and have to drink a bottle of champagne before being “unlocked.” The house members left the handcuffs unlocked, and there was no obligation to drink.
On Monday, the College announced that Ladd House will close following the end of the academic year and will undergo renovations. The changes to Ladd are meant to create a space for students with a multiplicity of identities to explore themselves and their lived experiences.
Ladd House will no longer be used as a College House following the end of the spring semester. When asked for comment, the administration said that announcements regarding the future of the college house would be forthcoming.
“This story, in a funny way, begins in Paris,” remembered Robert H. Edwards, President of the College from 1990 to 2001. Now 86 years of age, Edwards sat upright at his spotless dining room table in his farmhouse near Wiscasset, Maine.
After a disjointed year on (and mostly off) campus, the Class of 2024 returned to campus this fall as sophomores. Having experienced an atypical year at the College, the class is still expected to step into leadership roles within the community.
Due to unforeseen weather and poor field conditions, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) cancelled the annual College House Olympics, which was originally scheduled for the night of August 30 at Ryan Field from 8 p.m.
On Tuesday, August 31, Associate Director of Residential Education and Residential Life, Stephanie Patterson left the Bowdoin College Office of Residential Life to join the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Maryland.
College Houses were once centers of social life on campus. But due to COVID-19, they have been forced to reimagine their position. This year, they have become smaller living environments for “pods” of as few as 10 people, forgoing their typical role in campus-wide programming and community building.
More students are expected to live on campus next semester than in past years, primarily due to returns from personal leaves of absence, gap years and decreased participation in study abroad. Despite the projected increase in the on-campus student population, the College is positioned to meet increased demand for housing because of the recent openings of Harpswell and Park Row Apartments.
The College released its Campus Community Agreement on Blackboard Thursday for students who intend to live on campus or be in residence for the spring semester. Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi also sent the agreement to these students in an email yesterday evening.
On Tuesday, Lisa Rendall, director of residential and housing operations, sent an email to students with information about the Spring Housing Lottery, which, for the first time in Bowdoin’s history, will be conducted entirely online. The College had been planning to conduct the housing lottery online in April, before it was announced that most upperclass students would reside off-campus for the fall 2020 semester.
With most first years living on campus and a majority of sophomores, the House residents during a typical semester, remote, the College Houses are facing a unique set of challenges in facilitating and building community this fall.
After two years of housing juniors and seniors, Ladd House will again house only sophomores for the 2020-2021 academic year, said Director of Residential and Housing Operations Lisa Rendall. College House decisions were sent to applicants on Monday.
After two years as an all-senior College House, Ladd House will accept applications from all class years for the 2020-21 academic year, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) announced this week. The change comes after ResLife struggled to fill the house with seniors for the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Residential & Student Life Mike Ranen.
For eight weekends this fall, College House residents will gather in their respective chapter rooms and embark on an hour-long discussion about the implications of class at Bowdoin. Students will share stories, ask questions and reckon with the issues of class on campus.
Last weekend, College Houses hosted their annual house crawl. This time, however, something was noticeably different: there was less alcohol. Though the College’s policy regarding parties has not changed since last year, the volume of alcohol allowed at College House events has been reduced.
Walking into Reed House basement on Thursday night, you might have been pleasantly surprised—gone are the toppled red solo cups and sticky beer pong table. The space has been scrubbed anew, with colored lights and works of art adorning the walls.
Four students have received court summons in the past two weeks for charges of jaywalking and possession of liquor by a minor. One of those summons resulted after the Brunswick Police Department (BPD) showed up at the annual Cold War party at MacMillan and Quinby Houses last weekend, while the remaining three were issued the previous weekend.
The number of College House applicants reached a five-year low this year, with 247 students competing for approximately 179 spots. The College House applicant pool for next year is smaller than any in the past five years.
In an effort to reduce plastic waste, all eight College Houses will begin using reusable cups in place of traditional single-use cups this semester. Last year, the College Houses used over 25,000 plastic cups, according to the College’s Sustainability Office.
Citing student concerns about the short timeline for applying to live in Ladd House, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) extended the deadline for the senior-only College House to next Wednesday. ResLife initially notified the junior class that living in Ladd for the 2018-2019 academic year was an option on January 18.
Ladd House, one of the eight College Houses on campus, will be senior-only housing next year if enough rising seniors apply next week. The decision to convert the House, traditionally occupied by sophomores, into senior housing was proposed by a group of juniors, and occurred amid numerous conversations about how to make College housing more appealing to upperclassmen.
The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) revamped College House officer positions for the 2017-2018 academic year in response to feedback from students, who said that work was distributed unequally among the five officer positions. The new House leadership structure eliminates the old positions (president, vice president, treasurer, communications director and programming director) and replaces them with two house chairs and two programming chairs.
The College working group on off-campus housing has been gathering opinions from a broad range of students with a goal of formulating a comprehensive off-campus housing policy to present to the administration later this month. Since forming in February, the group has hosted focus groups, general surveys and two public forums.
Students who applied to live in College Houses for the 2017-2018 academic year received decisions from the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) on Monday. Those who were offered a spot in a College House were required to respond to their offers by Wednesday afternoon.
At a panel entitled “Why do College Houses Feel So White? Part Two” hosted by Reed and Ladd Houses on Wednesday night, students discussed how music, drinking, sports and other factors perpetuate racial divisions—in College Houses and at other parties on and off campus.