While most argue that Wilson is pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of residential colleges—prepare yourself now for snide jokes from those bums who live in the castles upcampus—there are a lot of factors that contribute to Wilsonites’ steadfast pride. An unbeatable location, lots of singles, great party-ready suites, and computer clusters that actually work help make Wilson well worth it. Plus, you get the automatic street cred of hailing from the “too-cool-for-kumbaya” residential college, ideal for long-suffering eye rolls to impress fellow froshies.
Laundry: There are two laundry rooms, located on the ground floors of Feinberg Hall and Dodge-Osborn Hall. Since Wilson’s only a two-year college, there often isn’t a line for laundry, but be warned: Upperclassmen tend to mooch off of the Feinberg laundry room during peak hours on weekends, so plan ahead!
Kitchens: One mythical kitchen in Dodge-Osborn, which I have yet to hear of anyone using. You need a special passkey to get in, which you can get from your RCA—a bit of a pain, but the fact that it’s locked also means that it’s probably much cleaner than the typical kitchens in Rocky or Mathey. Who knows, it might be a treasure trove of culinary wonders!
Computers: There are two clusters, including one right above Wilcox Dining Hall that only works once or twice a year. While most froshies suffer through the Wilcox cluster (its printer was my mortal enemy for my entire freshman year), you’ll be much better off if you use the cluster on the ground floor of 1937, which has two functioning printers, eight computers (both Macs and PCs), and is rarely ever full. If you live in 1937, Feinberg, Walker, or 1939, don’t even bother bringing a printer—the 1937 cluster will do the trick.
What’s in the neighborhood: One of the genuine, non-ironic pluses of Wilson is its prime location: steps away from Frist Campus Center and equidistant from upcampus classrooms, Prospect Ave parties, and downcampus sports facilities, it’s unbeatable. If you’re on an unlimited meal plan, take full advantage of Frist late meal, which true Wilsonites treat like a twice-daily free trip to the grocery store. From 2-3:30p and 8:30-10p on weekdays, you can stock up on enough prepackaged junk food to curb even the worst all-nighter muchies attacks.
Bugs and pests: Not really a big problem: a perk of being in buildings that were built relatively recently (albeit in the architecturally-illiterate 60s) is that they’re low on creepy-crawlers. Beware of keeping your windows open if you’re on the ground floors: Wilson is notoriously squirrel-heavy, and you really, really don’t want come back to a room that looks like this.
Library: While the Julian Street Library, located above Wilcox Dining Hall (and right next to the aforementioned computer cluster from Hell), has never been much to write home about, that’s apparently all about to change. The Wilson College website advertises that, “the class of 2015 and returning students will find a newly designed, state of the art library which will house the main reading room and J-Street Media Center.” Jury’s out on whether “state-of-the-art” means they’ve replaced the eighties-tastic décor, but we’re ever-hopeful! You’re also steps away from Frist’s silent-as-a-tomb Reading Room, which definitely comes in handy: its great panoramic views of campus certainly beat holing up in your dorm room for the frenzied end-of-semester push towards Dean’s Date.
Noise levels/partying: Wilson’s close proximity to the Street means you get a fair amount of partying on the weekends—it’s one of the top spots for underclassmen pregames, especially in the “Penthouse” and “Playhouse” suites on the top floor of Feinberg Hall. If you’re a light sleeper, you might want to invest in some cheap earplugs, but have no fear—after your first few weeks you’ll sleep right through any revelry.
What’s on the floor: Most Wilson rooms in the 1960s-era buildings—1937, 1939, 1938, Gauss, Dodge-Osborn—have wood floors, which could probably benefit from some quick Swiffer-love on move-in day. Walker Hall has a mix of wood and linoleum. Bottom line: bring a rug!
Other perks: Black Box theater (which hosts dance parties on Fridays and Saturdays), yoga classes, pottery studio in 1938 (keep on the alert for free classes! A great study break), music practice rooms, dance studio.
Bathrooms: Hall bathrooms, with ensuite bathrooms for the larger 5-8-person suites.
What it’ll look like on move-in day:
Rooms in Wilson are pretty much what you make of them: if you want to live a monastic existence in a sparsely-decorated cinder-block room, that’s your call, but even the most bare-bones Wilson room can become surprisingly cozy with the proper TLC. If you come armed with wall decorations and nice mood lighting, you’re well on your way to having a conveniently located crash pad that’ll make you the envy of many a Forbesian.
Wu/Wilcox Dining Hall, shared with Butler, has some of the best food on campus, and you’re also conveniently close to Whitman Dining Hall if you crave some time out of the midcampus bubble. The Butler side of Wu/Wilcox is open for breakfast; the chocolate-chip muffins, for better or worse, are addictive. For lunch and dinner, the sandwich station is a great bet, as is the vegetarian/vegan-friendly salad bar. If you ask for grilled chicken from the grill station, you’re well on your way to a fairly healthy meal; steer clear of the oft-offered onion rings, fries, and burgers, which inevitably disappoint.