Freshman college dorms, is there a more uncomfortable phrase? It conjures up images of cramped spaces, sweltering weeks without air conditioning, cockroach infestations, and far walks to any academic building. Each of the options offers its own mix of pros and cons, so read on to discover the ultimate ranking of freshman dorms at the University of Pittsburgh.
6. Litchfield Towers
Why not work from worst to best? The bottom of the barrel is Litchfield Towers, the three battery shaped buildings that nearly everyone becomes familiar with. Since they hold a total of 1,868 first year students, you either live there or know someone who does. Towers A, and B have only a few differences, with B holding a hundred or so more students, while C is the smallest and is mostly single dorms. Living in extremely small rooms with 30 or so people per floor, towers is difficult for claustrophobes, but can be a great bonding experience where you’ll make your closest friends. That said, at least one elevator is broken down nearly every week, forcing you to walk 1 to 22 flights of stairs or wait in massive lines for the other elevators. Everyone who lives in Towers either hates it or loves it (Stockholm Syndrome?). Even though they are the worst dorms on campus, they aren’t truly awful, which is saying something for Pitt’s standard of living.
5. Holland Hall
The most unique dorm at Pitt is Holland Hall. Formerly apartments for well-off Oaklanders, these can be some of the most spacious and interesting rooms. A few lucky ones even have crown molding, built in shelves, and walk in closets. Despite the perks, there are some real downsides to Holland: the lack of air conditioning (won’t be missed by November), a minor roach problem, and the H shaped layout that makes it nearly impossible to see everyone on the floor. There is also the stigma that comes from living in the only all-girls dorm on campus (Ho-Land? Really?). At least the larger sized rooms are a step up from Towers.
4. Bruce Hall
Located in the Schenley Quadrangle, Bruce Hall is similar to Holland, but smaller and instead of four, three, and two person dorms, students live in suites. With four to six people in each one, the suites can get a little cramped, but the residents have least one private bathroom per suite. Another bonus is that it houses the business school Living Learning Community, so freshman business students don’t have very far to travel for coursework help. Though still struggling (slightly) without air conditioning, the freshman residents at least aren’t subjected to the use of communal bathrooms.
3. Forbes Hall
Freshman accommodations improve vastly with Forbes Hall. Housing the Engineering Living Learning Community (and thus the most stressed percentage of freshman), this residence hall has some major perks, as every two dorms have a semi-private powder room, air conditioning, a recreation hall, and a rooftop patio. The major downfall of Forbes Hall is its distance from central campus, making it a bit of a trek to lower campus where freshman have the majority of their classes.
2. Sutherland Hall
Divided into two parts, east and west, Sutherland Hall is the only freshman housing on Upper campus, and having to climb up and down cardiac hill is the main drawback from living here. The residence hall has air conditioned double rooms and suits, with private bathrooms, but what pushes this dorm higher on the list than Forbes it the easy access to food, despite it being farther from lower campus. In Sutherland’s common area is The Perch, a coffee cart, and a Quick Zone area to buy small snacks. And as any college student will tell you, being able to get food without even leaving the building is quite a perk.
1. Mark A. Nordenberg Hall
The ultimate freshman dorm at the University of Pittsburgh is Nordenberg Hall. As the newest building on campus, it has the best amenities of all the residence halls: air conditioned doubles and triples, its own fitness center, a microwave, fridge, and TV in each room, music practice rooms, a patio area, and indoor bike lockers. The only thing Nordenberg lacks is private bathrooms. It is located in between lower and middle campus, making it a short walk to classes. The one downside of Nordy? Since every freshman wants it and very few get it, if you are a lucky resident of Nordenberg Hall, any potential friendships you make will start out from a mix of jealousy and curiosity of what it is like to live there.