Oberlin Blogs

A Tour of Kahn

May 25, 2023

Natalie Frank ’26

Before I came to Oberlin, I applied to Kahn Hall for my first year. I didn’t care about living with other first-years, and I didn’t really care about sustainable housing. I don’t think that makes me a bad person. I just already composted, recycled, took short showers, and biked everywhere. Sustainable housing wouldn’t magically turn me into a better person. 

No, I chose Kahn because, according to all the blog posts I read and from all the students I talked to, Kahn was the best hall. It was the newest, cleanest, and biggest. After a short application, the Office of Residential Life assigned me to Kahn with a random roommate. Nine months later, I celebrated Kahn and the memories I made in it. Maybe I can credit Kahn’s new establishment (2010) and how it didn’t have some of the wear and tear of other buildings. Maybe I should point to the clean(ish) bathrooms and unstained carpets. Maybe my love for Kahn stems from the lounge spaces and their TVs, nice couches, and armchairs. Maybe it was the dance studio, the piano room, the laundry room of high-efficiency washers and dryers, the TV room, or the game room that sold me.

I only know that I had the best year at Kahn Hall. From Saturday night hangouts on the back porch to watching Parasite in the first-floor lounge, I became friends with people I never would’ve met. First-year housing throws together a bunch of students who want–and need–friends. Other dorm halls house students who may already have friend groups or social circles. Coming to Oberlin, I had none. Living in FYRE (First Year Residential Experience) in Kahn welcomed me to a community and multiple friend groups I’m still in touch with.

For instance, I met Nathaniel and Matthew in the piano room when we hauled out our respective instruments and played together. I met JP and Layla in the kitchen when Matthew threw together a weekly event called Monday Sundaes, where we shared ice cream every Monday night. I met Ethan and Karthik in the first-floor lounge while they sat discussing philosophy and topics my exhausted self could not handle. I’ve made dozens of friends more, even if it’s the connection of living in Kahn together. Each floor had a different energy for the school year of 2022-23, and every resident and non-resident knew it.

At the end of May, I reflect on my time in Kahn. When deciding on my second-year housing, I deliberately chose housing that allowed me to maintain a community. It’s so fun to live with people you are friends with, and I’m glad I can continue that next year. 

While I could continue entertaining you with stories about my time here, I decided to use some evidence to back my sources. I’m attaching a photo gallery of my dorm room at Kahn Hall and some memories I’ve made there. If you are considering where to live when coming to Oberlin, I highly recommend Kahn for making some of your best friends, enjoying high-quality dorm living, and a little sustainability while you’re at it. (;


PS alternative titles for this blog: Out of the Frying Pan and Into FYRE; Playing with FYRE; Add Fuel to the FYRE; Where There’s Smoke, There’s FYRE… (they are all fire puns).


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