July 29, 2015

The Freshmen Four: New South

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new southWohoo! If you’re reading this right now, chances are you totally won the freshman housing lottery and got placed in New South. In my opinion, it’s the best freshman housing at Georgetown, and I hope that you’re as excited as I was when I found out that I was living there. It’s going to be a great year, but I’m sure there’s a few things that you’re wondering about, so I’ll get right to it.

New South has four residential floors, and they each house approximately 100 students. Basically, the floors are single hallways (with one branch coming off that contains the trash room — usually called the “trash” hallway). In that sense, New South is definitely the “typical” college dorm layout that you probably saw at other schools too. There are two residential assistants on each floor (one female, one male), and the floors are co-ed. These floors can be split by gender (girls on one side, boys on the other), but that isn’t necessarily true year-to-year. The floor plan in Housing-at-a-Glance can tell you where you are in the floor, and also the general layout of what’s where. Please, please don’t just friend everybody in your dorm/floor before you meet them because you will immediately become that person, come end of the month.

New South is built into the hill coming up from Leo’s toward Lau, so you’ll be definitely close to the dining hall (most New Southers eat a lot of Leo’s). Also, the Healey Family Student Center is right in your building with all of its yummy food options and hang-out spaces. The library is also a short walk (less than 3 minutes away) up the hill, and all the classroom buildings are relatively close by. This map shows just how close every thing is. Have I said that New South is the best freshman dorm yet?

In terms of amenities, New South kind of has the best of both worlds in terms of the bathroom situation. You’ve probably heard that New South rooms all have a built-in sink area with a mirrored medicine cabinet. (which, two years out, I still miss every day). The sink is awesome because it makes brushing your teeth, washing your hands and other miscellaneous things you do before bed infinitely easier. It also lets you fill your Brita filter and make coffee, instant ramen, mac and cheese or whatever directly in your room. On the other hand, you don’t have a full bathroom, so you do have to shower or go to the bathroom in the communal bathrooms. At least you don’t have to clean the bathroom, though. Shower rooms, which have about eight showers, are separate from the actual bathrooms. Eight showers may not sound like a lot for 50 students (since the floors are pretty evenly divided by sex), but I personally never had a problem finding an open shower when I wanted it. The bathrooms have about five stalls each. As New South is the most newly renovated freshman dorm, its amenities are still pretty new and shiny, so the bathrooms are pretty clean. It changes per year and month, but generally the cleaning staff cleans the bathrooms every couple of days.

A Typical Room

Pretty much every room in New South is exactly the same, except for the corner rooms. They’re pretty rectangular, with the door/windows sides (directly opposite each other) as the shorter ends. New South rooms are typically divided down the middle, length-wise, as you enter through the door. On one side are the closets, desks and drawers (all built-in). Because the drawers are below the desk area, this provides a relatively long desk area (almost like a work bench). There are also built-in shelves above the desk. On the other side are the beds. New South beds are generally not bunked, but it is an available option if you talk to the RHO. The section of the floor by the window (where the sink is) is hard tile, not carpeted, but the rest of the room is carpeted.

Corner rooms, which either are triples or are extremely large doubles, are exceptions. They’re very large and tend to take on a more square-like shape. The closets, desks and drawers are not built-in. Instead, there are wardrobes, drawers, and desks for each person that can be moved around in the room. The sink is still in a corner by the window, however.

Find more detailed measurements and details here. For your specific room, just check out your Housing at a Glance page (linked above) and click “See complete features.” There’s also a video from GAAP, which gives a tour of a New South room.

Lounges, Laundry and Other Amenities

Each floor has a large common room, located in the center of the hallway across from where the elevators come up. The common room contains a TV, a stove, an oven, a full-sized fridge, a large sink, a few tables and a few couches/armchairs/sofas/chairs for seating options. The common room tends to be a typical hang-out location for people on the floor, whether for actual socializing or for working on homework with your floor friends. Events held by your RA will tend to occur in this room.

Another great part about New South is that there is a laundry room on each floor, meaning you don’t have to fight people from other floors for the machines. That said, you can use machines on other floors if you can’t find an open machine on your own floor. There’s four washers and four dryers on each floor. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I honestly never had a problem doing laundry when I wanted to. Just a reminder, each washer load is $1.50, and each dryer load is $3, and all fees must be paid with your GOCard debit balance.

Mailboxes are in the lobby, directly across from the elevators. Most people end up checking for mail while waiting for the elevator, but the elevator is actually relatively fast, compared to the ancient elevators all over campus. The RHO, which deals with packages, lockouts during the day and other services, is also located in the lobby (before the card swipe). This RHO also serves Village A, which is upperclassmen housing, so don’t be surprised if you see random upperclassmen coming into New South to get their packages.

The Community

Time for my favorite part of New South living! As I’m sure you’ve heard, New South (lovingly called Zoo South) is the freshman dorm with the most “stereotypical college dorm” environment. With the long floors, communal bathrooms and central common room location, people tend to be very sociable and friendly. Particularly in the first part of the year, New South residents will form large packs of friends that are large portions of the floor. This, of course, varies each year and varies by floor, but the common room will probably receive a lot of traffic. On my floor, the common room had people in it pretty much 24/7. On the other hand, because the floors are so much larger than other freshman floors, it can feel pretty overwhelming at first, meeting all of these new people at once.

New South can get pretty loud on the weekends, simply because of the amount of human traffic, but the walls are actually pretty thick, which helps with the noise. My freshman year, I lived right across from the stairwell, and the door to the stairwell was usually propped open. I thought that I’d have a problem with all the noise from the stairwell (people running up and down, people talking, etc.), but I never had a problem falling asleep if I was going to bed early.

As I already mentioned, each floor has two RAs (because of the sheer volume of students on each floor). Each floor also has its own chaplain-in-residence, who will host lots of events and provide a support system, if needed. The chaplains will usually provide yummy food and treats throughout the week. New South’s hall director lives in an apartment on the fourth floor.

What to Bring

New South is pretty blessed in terms of its storage options and space but here are some additional items you might need:

1) You don’t have your own bathroom, but you do have a sink/tile area. You’ll probably want to bring some cleaning supplies. Clorox wipes work really well for the sink/mirror, and a simple Swiffer will work for the tiled floor) to keep it sanitary. Cleaning spray and paper towels also work.

2) There aren’t any towel racks or hooks built into these rooms, so I would recommend buying some stick-on hooks or an over-the-door towel rack to hang your wet towel.

3) In terms of lighting, you’re pretty much set — the overhead light is pretty bright, and there’s also a separate light above the sink, which is also pretty bright. Your desk area also has fluorescent lighting. I would not recommend bringing additional lighting, unless you want to get artsy with some Christmas/string lights.

4) Even though there is pretty substantial drawer, storage and shelf space, most people raise their beds to the highest level and place under-the-bed drawers. You can put clothes there or just other miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

5) If you like to check your appearance in a full-body mirror, bring one. The only mirror in the room is the mirror above the sink.

About the author: Penny Hung is a rising senior in the School of Foreign Service and a former city news editor of The Hoya. She lived in New South 329 her freshman year.

Main photo: Ian Tice/The Hoya
Room photos: Alexander Brown/The Hoya
Diagram: Penny Hung/The Hoya

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