All nine dorms, ranked: The official, unobjectionable listicle

Leila Raines/The Miscellany News.

Correction: In the first print of this piece, it was stated that Strong House does not house men. Strong House does house some men.

As I make the great leap towards senior housing, I have begun to reminisce about the time I’ve spent within Vassar’s most brochure-able architecture. Now that it’s time for me to say goodbye to the life of communal bathrooms and room draws, it would only be right for me as a certified campus elder to impart my knowledge to the younger among you. Plus, there’s nothing I like more than starting unnecessary drama about things that literally do not matter at all. So, for you ’26ers who just moved in, I encourage you to use this list to see how you measure up. And, remember: This list is both objective and scientifically proven, so any attestations to the contrary will not be entertained at this time. As a disclaimer, of course, I must remind us that ALL of these dorms are good, and this is more of a list from most good to least good. Basically. Kind of. 

1. Strong

(a) Low capacity, (b) no lax bros. Need I say more? There’s a reason a bunch of seniors move there!! Quiet AND clean. I wish I could say more about Strong and its strength, but all I’ve heard is that it’s a great place to be if you like lowkey vibes and clean  spaces. When was the last time your friend from Strong had friendship or relationship drama? Strong-ites strike me as people who can talk it out. 

2. Lathrop

Okay, I must admit that I am biased as a Lath girlie (gender neutral) through and through. But the bathrooms are STELLAR, and the people are lovely. If you are unfortunate enough to not be eligible to become a part of the Strong crowd, Lathrop is a pretty close second. We are also blessed with a pretty low capacity, so it never feels overrun. We have a lot going for us; if the broken grandfather clock and central location aren’t enough for you, maybe try out our easy roof access (as long as you have friends in third-floor places) or explore our creepy basement. I don’t mind telling you all about the beauty of this house considering I don’t live here anymore. Move there all you want! Now if only somebody could deal with the horrific smell in the MPR…

3. Davi

This one used to be number one for me, it really did: The new rooms, the quad views, the stainless steel kitchen! There’s famously a tunnel in the basement if you want to pop over to Joss without having to walk the four steps outside. Also, my God. It smells SO GOOD in there. My friends think I am crazy for thinking that it smells like anything, but I know the truth. And the truth is that it smells delicious: clean, new, beautiful. Plus, you all are so nice. I’ve never met a Davi-dweller I didn’t like, and I mean that from the heart. You are the best. If only its ventilation wasn’t gastrointestinal-disease-outbreak-inducing. It’s true that this is the only thing that bumped this dorm down on the list, but I must admit that it’s a pretty big thing to think about. Davi is not for the faint of heart…or stomach. 

4. Joss

Big rooms, big windows, solid bathrooms. Joss people barely talk about their dorm, probably because it’s so nice. It’s the biggest dorm, so it loses points for threat of triples your first year and doubles sophomore and junior. The hallways can get quite labyrinthian with their twists and turns (the fluorescents don’t help), but overall, it’s a solid pick. Every time I walked on the tennis court path to go to Crafted my first year, I would look up at the rooms on the fourth floor and see plants spilling over the ledge and think, “I bet those kids think they’re so cool. And they’re right.” I did once get water splashed on me by a very violent Joss sink, however, so it’s going to get pretty majorly dinged for that. No one threatens Madi’s jean shorts and gets away with it.

5. Jewett 

Talk about views! Yes, it’s hot as hell on those top floors, but Jewett is an icon of this campus for a reason. Clean bathrooms and that beautiful lobby are sure pluses. I have many fond memories of Jewett, one of which involves almost falling asleep in the front lobby during a meeting for my brand new job that I had literally just gotten. And nobody said anything, which was a win. Plus, the suites are a lovely choice for junior year housing. That the sizes of the singles are likened to places where one would take their final rest, however, I do not think I can condone. The rooms in Jewett are split up in the weirdest way imaginable, and the coffin threat is real. Save yourself—get that suite junior year and settle for a double for your sophomore. I promise, you will thank me later.

6. Cushing

Cushing is a “meh” for me, I’m sorry. Listen; I’ll concede that the vibes are impeccable. There is no common room where I would rather debase myself running after a ping-pong ball. The leaded windows really give off the vibe that we’re at a certain unnamed institution of magical persuasion (which for trans rights reasons I will not be mentioning here). Truly, the ever-present threat of lead and asbestos poisoning always brings a little excitement. But the state of the rooms is abysmal! You’re telling me I have the chance of getting stuck in a double my junior year?? I’m sorry; that is not worth ANY dark academia-core window-seat realness.

7. Raymond

Fortune favors the brave, and you have to be truly valiant of character to survive in the land of the Rat King. Everyone I’ve met from Raymond has been lovely and cool, and every room I’ve been to in Raymond has made me say, “God, you live like this?” The bathrooms look vaguely institutional, and the red paint on the walls just kind of puts me in fight-or-flight mode. I’d prefer a calming hue, like the olive green of Strong’s bathrooms or Lathrop’s safe vomit-beige. None of you deserve to live in the worst quad dorm; you are all too cool for that. Please know that I am praying for you. 

8. Noyes 

You knew you would be down here, so don’t pretend to get mad. I have experienced the horrors of Noyes firsthand. The showerheads are far too low, even for me (insert quick Google search for “Madi Donat height” here: The answer is 5’4). They painted over the bathroom tile but didn’t let it dry so now there is paper towel stuck to the floor. Also, who paints tile? In a bathroom, where it’s wet? Now all the showers are peeling and we all are probably huffing the fumes. Add to that the Stanley Kubrick elevator and graveyard views, and you’ve got yourself some real horror-movie material. One of the only redeeming factors here is the Jetson lounge, a room where, despite its inclusion of various species of chairs and other sitting furniture, nowhere you plant yourself is ever comfortable. I’ve had my fair share of traumatic memories in this lounge, too, so it will always be tainted in my eyes. If you live in Noyes, please know that your kitchens are fun to bake bread in, your doubles are roomier than many of your friends’ rooms combined and your people have unionized in the face of chaos. That doesn’t mean I have to like your house, though.

9. Main

We all saw this coming. Historic site my absolute ass! Drips in the ceiling, asbestos in the elevator, windows in the hallway. Listening to my friends’ funny tales of living in Main has me positively angry for the state of it. I have to deal with an MPR that sometimes kind of smells like fish, meanwhile my Main friends have to deal with the possibility of a nip slip in every shower they take and indoor lighting which is positively post-apocalyptic in its dimness. “But if you live there you never have to leave on the weekends…” I heard one protest. And that’s a good thing? To be trapped in this backup brewery prison with the ghosts of Matthew’s past? Is the Express eggncheese worth this agony, this torment? I, for one, think not. Main Haus, it is time you came together to protest this madness. Be strong, like an elephant! Don’t let anyone tell you what to do! Never forget your power! Together, we can show the big Brewer in the sky that we are worth more than carpet in the hallways and staircases to nowhere. I am with you.

5 Comments

  1. Boo. In the 70’s we had t-shirts made with “In The Beginning There Was Main. Erected 1861.
    Where else can you go to ring the bell on the roof?
    Class of 1978. Still the One!

  2. Noyes resident for 3 years 1960-63, when it was truly space-age avante-guard, I initially failed to realize how unique this structure was on the Vassar campus—except possibly Ferry and Chicago. Only possible negative feature was the narrow curved hallways that you couldn’t see all the way down. I suspect that structurally it may not have aged gracefully over the years, as some mid-century construction hasn’t. Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for it these many decades later.
    Jane Slabaugh Johnson ’64

  3. To think that we in the late 60s could not wait until we were seniors and got to move into Main. What has happened to the building that held almost all of us and did not require going outside for days… but to classes and the lib, of course.

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