Art by Kristian Maestri
As a newborn baby Camel taking my first steps in the desert of New London, I was frequently faced with the question, “So, like, where do you live on campus?” I usually relpy with something like “I live in JA”, only to be given some sort of odd facial expression from whomever asked. After having this conversation half a dozen or so times, I realized that I was bound to receive one of two reactions from my peers. Scenario one, I am the luckiest freshman alive being able to live in South Campus my first year. Scenario two, I am sleeping with the devil.
When it comes to housing, Connecticut College is divided into three areas: North Campus, Central Campus and South Campus.However, on campus we have our own code for each area; a hospital-ward like dormitory where the anti-social students live with their doors closed in North; a place where people live who sometimes choose to be social in Central; and finally party central down South. After being on campus a few months, I quickly realized that JA had a strong reputation to protect and was proud of it. South Campus, or “The Dirty South” as many refer to it, is known to be the most social part of Connecticut College’s campus. With Harkness dorm being rumored to have made the top 25 Most Sexually Active Colleges Dorms in America, who is to argue with the fact that Conn College southerners like to have a good time?
I often find myself asking why we swarm to South and not to any other area. On Thursday and Saturday nights, flocks of people migrate down with hopes of finding some sort of social gathering. South is stereotyped to be solely a party scene, and southerners fall victim to the label of “hardcore partier”. Therefore, by default, if you choose to live in South, people assume that you live there for a reason.
However, what many fail to see is that South is an intimate community. Once you become a part of South Campus, you can’t help but call it home. South may be known for the weekend party scene, but what many fail to see is the overall friendly culture. We leave dorm rooms and even bathroom doors open. Together, we brush our teeth, eat meals and yes, have fun. Even with the party culture considered, South Campus offers more than a place to go wild.
South Campus is a unique place at Conn. For starters, South houses the cozy, intimate dining halls in JA and Freeman, where you are guaranteed to find at least one person you know at meal times. Knowlton allows for its residents to both live and eat with fellow students who enjoy multilingualism. The South Campus dorms overlook Temple green, meaning proximity to academic buildings and easy access to athletic games, which is an awesome bonus. Walking outside your dorm and being a few steps away from a soccer or lacrosse game is not something many college students have available to them.
Other parts of our campus get rowdy as well, but for some reason South gets criticized the most. Morrisson, for example, struggles with its inhabitants urinating in water bottles and then tossing these bottles into the recycling bins for the custodians to clean up. Nonetheless, South Campus is blamed for being the most disruptive.
We need to ask ourselves if South is the dirtiest part of campus, or is it simply more acceptable to be open about our social life down here. Let’s face it, no matter what part of campus you live on, you’re guaranteed to meet diverse people with a wide range of interests. South Campus seems to be recognized for its socialites. I think the question becomes whether South Campus is actually cursed with being forever labeled as the party side of campus, or if the stereotypes have simply fostered a name that Southern camels feel forced to live up to.
To a visitor, South Campus may seem to be like the city that never sleeps, but there is more to our end of campus than sex, drugs, and EDM. •