And so I return. You of course by now have likely figured out the contents of this list, but what matters now is the order. Perhaps your building will be the bestest of the worst, or perhaps it won’t. Perhaps this whole list was paid for by Big Bridge, and nothing I say can be taken seriously. Perhaps there are little gremlins living in my brain controlling my every move and I have stumbled upon the genre of the listicle like monkeys at typewriters stumble upon “Hamlet.” Or maybe, you will have to accept the fact that some of these buildings are, as the kids say, “not it.”
I have never had a class in Kenyon, but for some reason I find myself going there a TON. VRDT performances are very nice, sure, but Kenyon is simply a place of cognitive dissonance for me. It’s kind of Old College Gothic on one face, but then the other side has remnants of our countrywide mid-century obsession with glass bricks and concrete. It’s giving… reform synagogue. Washington, D.C. suburb public pool. Certainly not experimental theatre and squash. What happens in Kenyon? Besides the classes, I guess. It’s so off-to-the-side, and it keeps staring at me as I drive past it on my way to the Deece (yes, sometimes I drive to the Deece from the TAs okay we all have THOSE DAYS). I wish I was more amenable to its mystery, its duality. But unfortunately I am not, and I am resigned to enter it with always a little more trepidation than when I entered it last. Worth noting, however, that I have not yet visited the roof. Perhaps that will turn things around for me. Until then, though, here it stays.
Anyone who can make things with their hands deserves an automatic win at life in my book. That said, art studios always strike me as very sterile and sad. Maybe it’s because you know you’re gonna get stuff everywhere, so you don’t bother making it nice. Doubleday just kind of looks like a garage. Which is cute, I guess, if you like doing sculpture and printmaking and whatever else in your garage. Also, once I went in there at like nine at night and I gotta say, those human forms are terrifying in the dark. I do not want to experience that again. Put those away when you’re done with them! At the end of the day, though, Doubleday simply suffers from the fact that nobody knows what or where or why it is. And, sure, that’s not your fault, but you could do more in the way of advertising. Not saying that that will fix it, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Chicago is nice, mostly. I mean, the bathroom situation is odd at best and hostile at worst—you can either pee in the middle of the hallway basically, or the darkest, saddest basement you have ever, ever seen. Seems like a bad deal to me. I do love how it kinda feels like a little house. But, and this comes from a place of love as an ex-French correlate, it is so ugly. At least a building like Kenyon has the grace of being cool and futuristic on the inside. Chicago is not futuristic. It is stuck in the ’70s and it has a lasagna roof. And it so much faces the road. I can’t imagine being someone who only drives past this campus by way of Raymond Ave. and has only seen the back part of the library and, of all things, Chicago. Couldn’t we have at least secluded it a bit more? I don’t like how close it is to the quad, either. Classroom buildings and ResLife do NOT mix. At least Rocky is stately and closer to central campus. Chicago is simply wrong. And now that we don’t have a Sex Tree anymore, Chicago really doesn’t have much going for it.
- Sanders Classroom
Listen. I have a lot of English major friends. Kind people, all of them. But the truth of the matter is that I simply cannot get behind a building that budgeted for both marble and carpet. Pick a lane. Also, the temperature of that building is never quite right. It hits you right when you walk in, and whatever it ends up being it is never what you expect. Plus, I almost failed Astronomy 105 in the Sanders lecture hall, so that’s certainly not helping its placement. Let’s have a frank discush about that lecture hall, shall we? The amount of… unfortunate comedy experiences I have had in that room does more than enough to lend it a less-than-nice energy in my mind. I admire you all for trying, but sometimes I don’t want to hear how you are a woebegone straight man at Vassar. And I especially don’t want to hear you, a woebegone straight man at Vassar, tell me a story about pee.
- Old Laundry
Ah, the Old Laundry. Home of the specialest majors at Vassar! Yes, you’re right; you ARE not like other girls because you have to take 10.5 units in TWO disciplines instead of one to get your degree!! The home of the acronyms: AMST, URBS, MEDS, STS, AFRS and of course WFQS. Only the funnest major names to say aloud! I am sad that you all get squished into one building, and even sadder for the state of said building. The OLB needs some serious TLC. IDK how much you actually hang out in there, considering all of your classes are cross-listed, but IMO it’s not the most fun place to work or study or take classes. I only hope that you could assess the real problems of our terrible world and make the change you want to in a building that can actually house what I’m sure is like 500 students. Next time your building makes you say OMG, push for the change you are all studying about.
Ely is the home of rocks, nude models and social dances. A very Vassar building for sure. Remember when the Aula was the home of our COVID testing site? Wasn’t that so fun? Wasn’t that so cool and interesting and not soul-destroying at all? I need to let you all know that, while I am not anti-geology, I am very anti-your-building. Though the arch has given me shelter from many a rainstorm, I will never forget the day in Spring 2021 when I received the most soul-crushing email while wandering the upstairs art galleries. An email which caused a weeks-long spiral and much much crying, all experienced as my friend and I peeped our heads into the model studio which did not, at that time, have a nude model. And don’t even get me started on the modeling stuff— apparently, the professor doesn’t tell the models what body part they’re doing that day, so you might get stuck with the misfortune of having everyone look at your feet for two hours straight. Sounds terrifying.
Is Olmsted nice? Sure. Does it have a very beautiful greenhouse that makes me extremely happy every time I walk by it? Absolutely. But let’s get one thing straight, friends: Olmsted is the only building on the Vassar campus to have a collection of dead birds lined up in a hallway for your viewing pleasure. Sure, taxidermy is an art, and sure, I bet I could learn something from reading their little individual placards. But that does not change the fact that those are dead birds, and I don’t want to look at them right now. The rest of the building doesn’t make me too happy, either; the bricks are dark, the ceilings are low, the light from the windows seems oddly slim given how big they are. It feels like a building from an office park, not an educational institution. I’d rather hang out in the greenhouse, or even in the bird hallway, and that’s saying something. At least the birds get a bit of light.
- New Hack
What a joyous trek, across Kills and atop Bridges and through South Lots. It’s like a whole episode of “Dora the Explorer” to get to New Hackensack. That, and you’re right next to the security office, so don’t even TRY to park there illegally. If you’re in the SoCos it’s a nice leisurely stroll, but I have seen the pain of kids who live on the quad rolling their gallon bins of art supplies over the river and through the woods all for a two hour class that ends at 11:50, so don’t even pretend like you’ll be able to schedule a noon class in any other building. Do you feel special, on that walk? I feel like you’d have to, otherwise you’d have no way of effectively deluding yourself into dragging a full-size canvas three-quarters of a mile from where you live. I feel like, if you lived in the city, at that point you’d just get on a train. I dunno, I’ve never done it, but I think it must be a severely humbling experience. Have some more self-respect, New Hack-ers. I beg.
Dead. Fucking. Last. And there are many reasons. You probably know most of them. The Euthenics stuff, firstly, certainly doesn’t help. Why is there still a Euthenics plaque by the Blodgett courtyard, huh, Vassar? I like that a good Samaritan put an Anthony Bourdain plaque next to it that definitely steals its thunder, but I would appreciate a light edit to that façade. Of course, though, why students hate Blodgett more day in and day out, is its incomprehensibility. Not every door leads to every classroom. Let’s think about that for a second. Isn’t that like, the goal of a building? To be able to go into one of the doors and then go into any room in the building once you’re inside it? Wouldn’t that make more sense? There’s a building at Amherst College, where I spent some time in my youth, which is known apocryphally to be “riot-proof.” I do not know if that fact has been substantiated, but I do know that the measure for “riot-proofing” is that it takes more than 90 seconds to run from the front door to the back door. If that is riot-proof, then Blodgett doesn’t even have “riot” in its vocabulary. Blodgett is just regular walking-proof. Existing-proof. And certainly me-proof.
And there you have it, folks: every classroom building at Vassar, ranked definitively. I didn’t miss any, so if you think I did, remember that I didn’t. Tune in next week for another posi-TEA-vely great listicle, one that you definitely won’t want to miss. Until next time.