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What are housing communities at Dartmouth? What's so special about residential life?

A: Profile picture of Garrett Crouch

Housing at Dartmouth is unique—here are the ends and outs from a first-year student's perspective!

Housing Community Overview

I like to think the housing system at Dartmouth reinforces, in a sense, our Hogwarts/Harry Potter campus vibe— prior to getting to campus, you're sorted randomly into one of six housing communities as a first-year student,: Allen House, East Wheelock House, North Park House, School House, West House, and South House (best house). I was sorted into South House, and it's been a phenomenal experience. Each housing community at Dartmouth has its own dorms, mascot, head professor, as well as official study/event building. 

The significance of housing communities at Dartmouth, in essence, is community. Once you're initially sorted into your house, you stay in that house for the remainder of your time on campus. Within each housing community, there are specific dorms for first-year students as well as specific dorms for upperclassmen. For example, I live in Fayerweather Hall, so every student inside Fayerweather hall is a South House member—the housing communities are really neat, at their core, they foster a meaningful sense of community and camaraderie. We even have large year-round competitions between all the houses to see who can earn the most points through a rotation of games and activities. Games include everything from trivia to sports competitions, and the housing point leaderboards are displayed all around campus so it's fun to keep up to date with everything going on between houses.

Housing Community Members

Within each housing community, there are professors, students, and UGAS (undergraduate advisors). My favorite resource I've been able to utilize throughout my first fall term has been my UGA. UGAS are essentially upperclassmen who are tasked with organizing a floor of students and fostering meaningful relationships. Each week we have floor meetings and talk about general campus activities and events while bonding and getting the inside scoop into life as an upperclassman. My favorite activity has been the out-to-eat programs each house sponsors. Each housing community is allocated a food budget, so this past week I was able to get off campus and eat at a local cafe in town with my UGA, it was a really fun way to spend the afternoon and I'm super grateful for the opportunity to get close with my UGA. I highly recommend making good use of this opportunity!

Housing Community Closing Comments

I'd like to highlight that even though the housing communities are selected randomly and they determine your dorms for the next four years, there's no need to worry about getting a "bad house." That was a large concern of mine prior to coming to campus. I was also concerned with being able to make friends with other students outside my house. In reality, the housing community isn't restrictive in that sense, it's more so to create an initial sense of community/belonging and to provide opportunities to create foundational relationships, in fact, some of my best friends aren't even in my housing community. Overall, the housing system at Dartmouth is a really cool concept. I enjoy the fact that everything is random, and that outside of your room preference, nobody has any say in where they end up. I think it's something super unique to Dartmouth and adds to the "Hogwarts" vibe!

I'm glad I was able to share a bit of what the housing community scene is like here at Dartmouth as well as some of my experiences with the opportunities and mentors they provide; hopefully, some of your questions have been answered and you're interested in more of campus/residential life!

Your friend,


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