Campus Cribs: making the most of the neighborhood draw

Beginning this spring, first-years will be able to pick into the neighborhood in which they spend their sophomore through senior years. The College argues that all neighborhoods provide the same sort of foundation and social scene for students, but is this really the case? Let’s take an insider’s look at the neighborhoods from those who know them best: the Neighborhood Governance Boards (NGBs).

Currier Neighborhood

Currier Neighborhood, home to the traditionally notorious Odd Quad, is reshaping its image and encouraging students to recognize its perks. Nestled between the gym, Driscoll, Goodrich and Griffin Hall, Currier Neighborhood includes East, Fayerweather, Prospect, Fitch and Currier buildings.
“It’s really cool that we have our own quad,” said Quaneece Calhoun ’11, Currier secretary and treasurer. During the warmer months, the NGB hosts barbeques on the quad, complete with cotton candy machines.
As the neighborhood began to distinguish itself, its mascot – the cougar – was in need of a name. After a neighborhood-wide vote, Chauncey was adopted as the cougar’s name.
Because all of its houses are on the quad, Currier Neighborhood is a “more collective neighborhood because everyone is together,” Calhoun said. The neighborhood thinks “outside of the box” to bring events to campus, including class dinners and themed Goodrich parties, according to Calhoun.

Dodd Neighborhood

Dodd is the coziest of neighborhoods in the current system. While home to the most number of buildings for any individual neighborhood, it also has the fewest residents. Between Dodd, Goodrich House, Hubbell, Lehman, Parsons, Thompson, Tyler and Tyler Annex, the neighborhood has enough beds for 248 students. Comparatively Wood holds 292, Spencer holds 301 and Currier is the largest, holding 341.
Since Dodd dining hall was closed this academic year, the neighborhood has been working to maintain a strong community bond. According to Gershwin Penn ’11, president of Dodd Neighborhood, the NGB has made an effort to initiate Dodd dinners roughly once a month this year.
At each event, Dwight Dodd the Dalmatian – the neighborhood’s mascot – will be seen on all fours meandering about. The Dalmatian has left quite a mark on the neighborhood’s reputation: “Who doesn’t love a Dalmatian except Cruella Deville?” Penn said. In fact, at one neighborhood dinner, a faculty member’s child became so attached to Dwight that he wouldn’t let go.
While Dodd offers a host of interesting events for its residents – ranging from Fear Factor or board game nights to pizza parties – Penn stressed that the neighborhood is special because it creates a unique experience each year. He noted that Dodd, because of its house setup, often creates sophomore/senior housing, where students are mixed and get to know each other under the same roof and common space. Most importantly, “check where you see yourself,” Penn suggested. “I don’t necessarily think you can make a bad decision, particularly if you go with Dodd.”

Spencer Neighborhood

Spencer Neighborhood, which Jamal Jefferson ’11, president of Spencer, argues has the best location on campus, contains Brooks, Bryant, Mark Hopkins, Morgan and Spencer.
“Since we’re [one of] the largest neighborhood on campus, we’re very much different than other neighborhoods because we throw bigger events and parties,” Jefferson said. “We’re tailored to fit a lot of people.” While spread in different areas of the campus, the entire neighborhood shares one thing in common: an appreciation for Phil Spencer, the neighborhood’s mascot. In Spencer House, you’ll actually find a plaque dedicated to the real Spencer that served as the inspiration for pirate Phil Spencer to serve as the neighborhood’s mascot.
Included in their arsenal of events this year was a barbeque, trips to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One and buses to Amherst for the Williams basketball game during Winter Study. After spring break, the neighborhood plans on a trip to Boston for a Red Sox game, according to Jefferson.

Wood Neighborhood

Home to Agard, Carter, Gladden, Perry and Wood, Wood Neighborhood left a gigantic mark on campus with its Homecoming tailgate last year.  The neighborhood purchased a seven-foot tall inflatable giraffe at the hefty price of $400 for its tailgate, only for belligerent fans to attempt to steal it. The giraffe was found a few days later, “deflated in a grungy corner of Fitch basement,” according to Charlie Cao ’13, president of Wood Neighborhood.
Despite the disappointment following the giraffe’s demise, Wood has continued to thrive this past year. Cao believes that Wood is a “classy neighborhood,” driven to create events that are bigger and more elaborate than other neighborhoods’ Recently, that has involved catered student-faculty dinners from Red Sauce and Spice Root and a wine and cheese party over Winter Study for students of legal age.
The overall tone of Wood’s events is “in between Goodrich parties and Williams After Dark,” Cao said. The NGB setup allows for a wide array of events under the neighborhood umbrella, according to Cao, and he believes that Wood has made the most of it. While the events have been diverse, Cao described the governance board as “very food-oriented in planning events.” Going forward, he’s planning a “giant pig roast” during April using neighborhood funds.