Dascomb, Part Two
June 12, 2011
Ida Hoequist ’14
Enough of my Part One jibber jabber. Now for the part you actually care about: what Dascomb looks like from the inside! I hauled my favorite Ma'ayan along with me on a walking tour of the building the night of May 9th, and the pictures that follow are what came out of her camera.
As we walk in the front entrance, this is what Ma'ayan sees. I am gesturing happily to my home, bag and flute in hand and sleeping pad tucked under my arm.
Five steps later, to her left, there is an alcove with phone booths, a secret crawlspace, and a piano. Voice majors often use the piano to help them work on aural skills assignments, and amateur pianists also play around on it occasionally. I don't because I would rather walk to the Con and use a Steinway, but I definitely posed at this piano for one of Will Passannante's photoshoots there.
Five more steps takes us directly in front of the inside entrance to the dining hall. I know those doors well.
Bonus! Herbs and veggies grow just inside the other entrance. They end up in our meals, apparently. (CDS1 is pretty good about using local foods, can you tell?)
Double bonus! A fourthmeal in progress, as seen from in front of the plants.
Snapping back to our walking tour, the first floor lounge is behind us on our left as we stand facing the dining hall doors. It's pretty huge and includes a ping pong table, several couches, and a TV. If we stroll past it, there is a small, dark hallway that leads to the west staircase (and some restrooms and private residences). If we turn and go in the opposite direction, we enter the collection of dorm rooms on the east side of the first floor. There's a staircase at the end of that hallway, too.
We choose to go up the main staircase by the front entrance; this is the view from the landing. (These stairs alone have three bulletin boards that are plastered with fliers during busy parts of the semester - performances, lost and found notices, potential rides, anything.) Up ahead, the blue door we see open leads to the west side of second floor Dascomb; the white one leads to the second floor lounge.
Taking a peek in the lounge reveals one of the two couches and one of the two tables, and some surprisingly studious-looking Dascombites. In my experience, this lounge is generally used for socializing and not studying, though.
Turning left and going through said open blue door points us down one of Dascomb's many misleadingly nondescript corridors. It is not as drab and uniform as it seems here (although I concede that it has always felt distinctly dormitory-like).
The first door on the right as we amble down the hall leads to the kitchen in which I prepared many an omelette or bowl of couscous. Be warned: the funky-looking tap is an insta-hot faucet that spouts boiling water. It burns your hand and tastes funny. The stovetop tends to smoke, so any real cooking necessitates opening the window and closing the door to avoid setting off the fire alarm just outside. Please, do avoid setting off the fire alarm. Don't be the one who makes us all evacuate at three in the morning because you didn't think easy mac needed water. (True story.)
Further down the hall on the right, there is an all-gender bathroom. It has four sinks, four regular toilet stalls, and four regular showers. There is also a larger toilet stall and a larger shower, the latter of which I prefer to shower in due in part to its adjustable, removable showerhead. Probably the best thing about the row of showers is that you and your friends can all shower at the same time and sing silly songs (or contemplate starting an a cappella group that rehearses exclusively during shower time, if you're me and my friend Jeremy).
I've heard that many freshmen (and parents) are leery of all-gender bathrooms, but I see it as a source of pride more than anything else. We all vote on whether we want them to be male, female, all-gender, or E-system2 at the beginning of the year, and the vote has to be unanimous to make it either of the latter two. I'm proud that we all ended up choosing to be inclusive about our bathrooms, because it's an accepting gesture to extend to those in our community who are genderqueer, and really, it's not a big deal. Putting all genders in the same bathroom does not mean increased sexy rumpus time - there's nothing sexy about pooping at the same time as someone else - nor does it mean unwanted sexy rumpus time. I don't think a single person streaked all year; certainly, no one did anything that made me feel uncomfortable in my own bathroom.
Now that we're done with bathroom policy, back to the tour! At the very end of the hall is my room. The superb Sarah Francis and I lived in the right-hand corner room (No. 214, holla to whoever gets it next year!), and this is the kind of view casual passersby could expect to get when glancing in our direction. We like acro.
Did you see the chair under Sarah's legs in the last picture and wonder why it was turned away from my desk and piled with books? I bet you didn't. That chair was established as the Reading Chair very early on first term, because Will had all kinds of subscriptions to magazines (The New Yorker, The Economist, Foreign Policy) that he wanted to share with us and we had all kinds of brilliant book recommendations that we wanted to share with each other. Over the course of the year, it accumulated a corresponding mixture of novels, newspapers, and magazines, along with pointers for excellent reading that we jotted down on a pad of paper.
Here, again, is my room, this time seen from on top of my bed. Please note the clothesline zig-zagging over our feet; while other people were spin-drying their laundry, I was saving money and the environment. You should, too. Extra points if you can do it in a headstand with a tie flopping over your face.
Back out in the hallway, I am standing in front of my neighbor's normal-looking door, disgruntled because he's not home and I wanted to show you his superhuge room. His double has an extra section that goes behind the elevator that's to my right - it's so big that Will and I both stored the extra armchairs that came with our furniture in there because they ate up too much space in our rooms, and it still felt big. (Perfect size for homemade ice cream sundae parties to celebrate hosting a prospie, though!)
The rugrats on his door were name tags our RA put up before we got there and the scraps of paper were also tacked on by various people - I stuck a valentine on all of my friends' doors, for example. The only thing he and his roommate put on there themselves is the whiteboard, which they (both being Connies) updated with dates and times whenever they knew they had a concert coming up. Sarah and I and Will and his roommate did the same. It was an easy way to keep up with which events were crucial for us to attend.
Moving along, we pass the west staircase and our RA's room on our right, and come to Halle and Sam's room. They, too, wisely avoid paying to dry clothes, albeit with a drying rack instead of a clothesline. I swear, nothing beats coming home to the smell of fresh laundry and a colorful jungle of sheets, socks, and shirts to duck under and weave through. It just feels so homey.
Sam and Halle had recently discovered that Expo marker wipes right off of mirrors, and, being equipped with markers and also mirrors, they set to work personalizing their room just a tiny bit more. I once did the same thing, but I drew a bunch of kinds of facial hair on the mirror and then stepped back to make it look like they were on my reflection. Great fun.
The next room up is occupied by Kelin and Lindy, a swimmer and a bassoonist, respectively. Encouraging messages often blossom on their door the day before Kelin has a meet - doors can serve as pep talks as well as event calendars and name tags!
A bit further down, past the bend in the hall, is the aforementioned a cappella afficionado Jeremy's room; his roommate won a giant Pikachu at Cedar Point during Orientation and promptly hung it over his bed. As a present to me on my birthday, he let me keep it in my bed for a day and a night, which spawned another of Will's photoshoots.
Halfway between the bend in the hall and the main stairs, on the left, we open the door to Dani and Elizabeth's room. They are girls. Can you tell? Dani is a Jewish Connie with a voice of solid gold, and Elizabeth plays violin in the Con like a boss, and I coveted their little paper lanterns all year even though Sarah brought enough Christmas lights to go once around all the walls. Protip for you soon-to-be dorm residents who care about having rad decorations: bring lights.
Elizabeth's door is one of my favorites to walk by every day, simply because of this string of violins cut out of a magazine. They are cute and cheerful and personalized, and it turns out that a great way to bond with people over orientation (when you still have time for these kinds of things) is to make room decorations with them. You get shared experiences and a more lived-in room! Win-win!
Winslow's room, diagonally across from Elizabeth and Dani's, is actually quite clean and well-decorated for a male-occupied space. I've only spent time in there once, to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but it strikes me as a very chill place.
So I lied. It's a very chill place except for two very exciting things: this Picasso and the Renoir next to it. Winslow braved the day-long lines to take advantage of the amazing Art Rental3 and snagged himself some serious art as a result, something I always envied him for. Sarah and I have promised each other to get art next term, even if it means sleeping in front of the AMAM (which it definitely will).
The very last room on the right side of the west hall belongs to Joel and Ben. They are more typically male in their use of space (not to promote stereotypes), but to be fair, I think Joel had also started packing to go home at this point - hence the unsightly cardboard boxes. The keen of eye will recognize that the furniture in this room differs from the furniture in previous rooms; this one in particular actually was not built to house students, which is why it doesn't have the wooden cabinets and drawers built into one wall. At some point along the way, Oberlin overenrolled and realized they needed to stick kids somewhere, so they shoved new and different furniture in this room and proclaimed it good. Ben and Joel didn't seem to mind.
Extra special last picture! This is the first room on the right in the land of mystery, a.k.a. the east side of second floor Dascomb, where I rarely ever went! It, too, lacks wardrobes built into the wall, but here the floor is actually clean, and you can see how much extra floor space that provides. The lack of a wall of cupboards does also make for a bit less shelf space, but that's not so bad.
This concludes our tour of the west parts of the first and second floors of Dascomb. I hope you have enjoyed the ride, and if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Best of luck with your housing!
1. Central Dining Service provides dining halls with food. From their website: "Through progressive procurement policies, including an extensive Farm to Fork program, sustainable seafood principles, animal proteins free of human-therapeutic growth hormones and antibiotics, socially-aligned coffee choices and cage-free eggs, Oberlin College and Bon Appétit Management Company provide nutritious meals that invest in nearby farms, dairies, ranches and aquaculture operations, preserve the bounty of our oceans, lakes and fields so they can feed future generations, and provide sufficient incomes to food producers so they can live with dignity."
2. The E-system goes like this: there's a piece of paper with a capital E on it tacked to the door. When it looks like an upright E, it stands for 'everyone,' meaning all people are welcome in the bathroom. When it's rotated ninety degrees clockwise, showing an M, it means the bathroom is for men only. Another ninety degrees turns it to a 3, which stands for 'me, myself, and I' - in other words, it's a private bathroom. A final ninety degree turn flips the symbol to a W for women.
3. Art Rental is a program through which Oberlin students can rent art (surprise, surprise) from the Allen Memorial Art Museum for $5 - but only two pieces at a time. It has been blogged about before!
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Responses to this Entry
Thanks for the visual and written tour. Love the photos. Love the reading chair: What a concept! Some things about college residence halls don't ever seem to change, clutter being one of them. Wow.
Posted by: Marsha on June 13, 2011 9:59 AM
Yay photo tour! Yay herb garden (I love that herb garden so much)! YAY Dascomb!
(Also I'm glad you used that photo that has me in the mirror covered in dry-erase marker writing. Sekret photographer is not so sekret.)
Posted by: Ma'ayan on June 13, 2011 2:36 PM
To elucidate for incoming freshmen - Dascomb is best characterized as 'institutionally homely.'
Posted by: Will on June 14, 2011 12:49 PM
Oo, looks like the redid Dascomb. It looks much nicer than when I was there, methinks.
Posted by: Dani on June 28, 2011 7:19 AM
Actually, they just replaced all of the windows last week, so it looks even nicer than these pictures now! (I'm a little bitter. The old windows rattled so much they kept me up at night, and insulation was apparently not a familiar concept to them.)
Posted by: Ida on June 28, 2011 4:40 PM
THere are no longer dining halls in Dascomb which were replaced in 2018 with offices
Posted by: Melinda Ballou on August 12, 2020 2:40 AM
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