You don’t drink often, but from time to time you like to get a little bit smashed. Maybe you’ve vaped before, or smoked some weed at a party. Or maybe you’re just the type who doesn’t quite remember what water tastes like anymore. Some people spend their lives away from anything that intoxicates them, but you, like many others at Vassar, instead opt to have a social life. So what do you do when you’re placed on a Wellness floor, where no drugs or alcohol are allowed?
Wellness floors are parts of Vassar dorms that outlaw the activity elite liberal arts colleges are most known for (getting absolutely smashed). No using illegal substances, smoking or drinking is allowed in any part of a Wellness corridor. Occasionally, every few years, people who do not opt into Wellness are placed there anyway due to a lack of space, but most years nearly everyone opts in. However, when fans of illegal substances aren’t placed in regular dorms where they’re banned anyway, they either conform quietly or continue brazenly.
Sean Ober ’23 is a regular drinker who, not realizing what “Wellness” meant on the rooming form, now shares a double with a teetotaler. “It’s hell,” Ober told me. “I drink a fair bit on the weekends and such, but living in Wellness means I can’t keep anything at home, and it’s just annoying.” Despite his distaste for Wellness, though, he still follows the rules. “I don’t want to be expelled, you know? And I know that my roommate and everyone else on my floor care about it, so I don’t wanna piss them off.”
Dylan Runk ’22, two rooms down from Ober, makes do with a similar predicament. Unlike Ober, Runk is completely aware of Wellness but was forced in due to the fact that all other rooms are occupied by people not even old enough to drink legally anyway. Unsurprisingly, he isn’t a fan. Previously a serial smoker and card-carrying member of the Vape Nation, Runk has replaced his habit by collecting USBs. “It was a major bummer when I found out I was put here, dude,” he sighed as he paused to pop a gummy bear into his mouth. “But it’s good now, you know? I’m just, I’m chill about it, man. I’m chill. Life is chill.”
Will Asted ’21, voluntarily opted into Wellness despite being voted “Life of the party” and “Most likely to be the after photo of an anti-smoking ad” in high school. “The way I see it, all it means is that I’m the only one throwing up in the bathroom. I mean, if they catch me, what are they gonna do? Expel me?” He took a puff of a cigarette, and grinned. “They don’t care enough to lose all that tuition.” Asted’s floormates are all well aware of his deviant habits, but haven’t reported him to authorities. “If you open [Asted’s] door, the room puffs out smoke like it’s a train,” said Sam Nitch ’21, a floormate of Wesley’s and voluntary resident of Wellness. “Of course we know. We just let him be because he doesn’t bother us too much.”
We tried to find a senior in Wellness, but none exist. Ober, Runk and Asted have all found themselves in Wellness despite inclinations towards the exact lifestyle Wellness does its best to shut out. In spite of this, they’re all doing well, and none have asked to be moved elsewhere. Asted remains in Wellness due to its cleanliness, and both Runk and Ober think the annoyance of having to keep drinks out isn’t worth moving. At the end of the day, the important thing is that leftover drinks means you’re doing it wrong, and so even the most ardent of bottle lovers can thrive in Wellness. If you want proof, ask a Wellness StuFel.