An inside look into sophomore dorms

The housing lottery is, besides SPG and Spring Weekend, the most infamous event at Brown. And the housing lottery is the most terrifying for the poor, bewildered freshman. Not to worry–we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a 360-degree view of one room in each sophomore dorm (Not pictured: Grad Center D and a few rooms on Vartan Gregorian Quad). To make the housing lottery feel a little less like warfare and a little more like online shopping!

Barbour is a bit far from the center of campus, but is in close proximity to East Side Mini Mart, Louis, Bagel Gourmet, and Wickenden Street. Basically if you like brunch, Barbour is the place for you. While it’s bunker-esque facade (and interior, actually) lacks charm, it’s a great place for those of you hoping for a suite with a private kitchen and bathroom. However, do be warned that not all Barbour rooms are suites with the aforementioned amenities.


Caswell is one of the older dorms, but it doesn’t show. The dorm is centrally located on Ruth Simmons quad, mere minutes away from the Ratty, the Main Green, and the SciLi. The rooms are fairly spacious and the windows are large, meaning there is a lot of natural light. The one downside to living in Caswell is that there is no elevator, making moving in a hassle.


Located on the still centrally located but quieter Patriot’s Court, Chapin is home to the Theta Delta Chi fraternity and Harambee House. Also housing lots of independents, Chapin is your standard fare for a Wriston/Patriot’s Court dorm, offering mostly doubles and the occasional spacious suite.


Half sorority, and half social action house, Diman is all you could wish for in terms of independent housing. Recently renovated, and with prime Wriston location, the only thing to complain about is that weird brown liquid that came out of it earlier this semester. Rooms are standard sized, so don’t expect a palace. However, if you’re late to rise for class, and you have a passion for the Ratty, it could be well worth the compromise.


Goddard Hall is hallmarked by the stone courtyard leading to the entrance of Delta Phi, where you can often spot frat guys shooting hoops or playing a small game of basketball in the spring months. Believed to be named after the dog from Jimmy Neutron, Goddard smells like stale beer. It’s located close to most classes offered on campus and centered at a great distance between the Ratty and Jo’s for late night snacks and the Bear’s Lair right across the street for those needing a quick workout.

This is what you need to know about Harkness: it is mostly inhabited by Kappa Delta and Tech House (Tech Hau5?), its interior is identical to any other dorm on Wriston Quad or Patriot’s Court, it is very close to the Ratty which is a #blessing, it is also very close to Thayer Street (while it is not close to the main part of Thayer Street it still is the closest dorm to the street itself, which is really nice and comforting for some reason–maybe that’s just me), and it is being renovated this summer.

Hope is famous for its central location–you can’t get more central than the Main Green. It may lead you to gorge yourself on Blue Room muffins like an adolescent squirrel in autumn, but you will soon grow to love rolling out of bed 3 minutes before class. Be warned, winning this prime real estate in the housing lottery is tough, and getting the humongous double in the center of each floor is the stuff of myths.


If you want to live in a dorm no one knows of, Littlefield is ideal. But seriously, Littlefield’s location is one of the best: Ratty across the street, Blue Room across the green, perfectly equidistant between the Rock and the SciLi, and you can wake up five minutes before any class on the main green. The building’s pretty old, so it’s far from luxurious but it’s definitely cozy and the huge ceilings make the rooms look bigger. Also if you’re into internalizing you’re creative incompetence, you’ll be happy to know that Littlefield is the spot for RISD-Dual Degree students.


Marcy is a nondescript Wriston dorm. Home to both Alpha Epsilon Pi and Zeta Delta Xi fraternities (both of which are well, untraditional, versions of a frat), Marcy boasts extremely close proximity to the Ratty and a constant weed smell. Then again, which dorm doesn’t?


Once an actual hotel built in 1912 (stop lying Andrews), Minden is now one of the most coveted sophomore spots (after Hope) due to its location. It is (approximately) seven minutes away from the Ratty and the VDub, five minutes away from Jo’s and Andrews, and a minute away from the SciLi. What Minden lacks in renovations, it makes up for with incredibly spacious triples and double-bathroomed quads–and the nice molding and embossed toilet seats, if you’re into that.

New Pembroke #4

New Pembroke is a prime example of the worst and best things that North campus has to offer. You’re located directly on Thayer Street, which puts you next to much of the Providence night life, as well as CVS — Brown’s one stop destination for anything you might need! Don’t expect to get to sleep before 12, or sleep in past 7:30, unless the beeping of reversing trucks and screaming of drunk 25 year olds soothes you on a Monday night. The rooms aren’t the largest, the walls seem to be made of a material as thin as cardboard and every door in the building squeaks louder than any door ever should. With the VDub and Andrews Commons right around the corner, and the Nelly directly down the street, New Pembroke really isn’t the worst place to consider for sophomore year living.


Situated at the top of Wriston Quad, Olney House is home to the Sigma Chi and Delta Tau fraternities. What it lacks in privacy, cleanliness, order, and quiet, it makes up for with its fantastic location. Many rooms have stunning views of the Ratty, Wriston and A Chi O. It was recently renovated, but thanks to its current inhabitants it’s slowly falling back into a state of disrepair. Moderate sized doubles are broken up by the rare single, so if you get lucky you can grab one of those if the members of the Greek houses haven’t already.


Definitely not awesome, but the location isn’t as bad as freshmen think it is. A lot of upperclassmen live in that area, and there’s all of the theater at TF Green (housing PW), so there is plenty to do. Being able to conveniently study at Orwig is a bonus. Buckle down with the ugly color scheme, and hope that you find your future life partner.

Plantations House

If you’re one of the lucky 15 who get to live in Plantations, you’ve really hit the housing lottery jackpot. Complete with a kitchen, laundry machines, and rooms twice the size of every freshman dorm, Plantations is the perfect place to live. It’s located between Andrews and New Pembroke, which is somewhat far from the Main Green. However, you are right by Andrews Commons,the OMAC, and most importantly, East Side Pockets.


Like any Wriston dorm, what Sears has going for it is its central location. Home to the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and formerly home to Phi Si, Sears offers average-sized rooms occupied by a lot of independents. Since Alpha Chi Omega is hardly known for their rowdy behavior and Phi Si is no longer, Sears feels a little less like a srat house than its other Wriston counterparts.

A map with these dorms and locations can be found here.

Images via Dan K., Will C., Jackie K., Thomas P., Blake P., Grace H., Luke O., and Erin R.


  1. hatluver4000

    The decapitated foot in the Olney slide is #HellaCreepy!

  2. Perkins '09

    What room did you use for the panorama of Perkins? I lived there my freshman year and none of the rooms had built-in kitchen sinks. Are they putting people in the kitchens now??

  3. Perkins '16

    Given that all the rooms in Perkins minus two look practically identical, why would you choose to photograph one of those two anomalies as the one reference for Perkins for this article? (In response to your question, Perkins ’09, the photographed room is on the southernmost end of the ground floor. It’s technically a double, a kitchen, and a bathroom, but people often turn the kitchen into a room so there are two singles)

  4. David

    I lived in Diman for a year and my roommate was extremely inconsiderate. He would always bring in friends and I felt I had no privacy. I got a bed tent and I got the privacy I needed. I got one from Privacy Pop. Check it out its pretty useful especially when you live in a party dorm like Diman.

Leave a Reply