When I found out last July that I’d be living in Read, I thought it would be really helpful to ask current students if they could tell me anything about what it was like to live there. I ended up with a couple of opinions and stereotypes about the building, but no actual firsthand accounts. So, for all of you incoming freshman or any other students waiting to hear about housing assignments with worries about moving from home to the dorm or getting along with your new roommate, here is a firsthand review on everything and anything you need to know about living in Read!
Read is located in the Southeast neighborhood of campus along with Forest, Rose and Willkie. The building is split into four sections by gender, excluding a few floors. The sections are Clark, Beck, Curry and Landes, each six floors high. The top two floors are mostly single rooms. There are a few LLCs or Living Learning Centers (based on certain floors) within Read, including performing arts and a few academic communities. I personally lived on Landes 3, an all girls academic community. Read is currently under construction, as the main lobby and dining areas have just been renovated, and rooms are next on the list. Read is well-known for being one of the three dorms on campus that doesn’t have air conditioning and for having too many fire alarms.
Read is in the Southeast neighborhood, making it one of the most convenient places to live. It’s really easy to get to almost any building on campus in a decent amount of time. It’s the closest residence hall to Ballantine (where you’re almost guaranteed to have at least one class!), you’re right across the street from the Jacobs School of Music, you’re a five minute walk away from the Fine Arts area of campus and just ten minutes from the Union. Plus, there’s a bus stop just down the street at 3rd and Jordan Avenue. You can easily keep warm in the winter and use the bus system to your advantage when you aren’t up to walking. Read is also really close to a Village Pantry and the TIS Bookstore, which is useful when you may need something specific for school as well as a cheaper option for books or buy one get one free t-shirts!
The rooms at Read are relatively small, but no smaller than anywhere else on campus. Read is one of the dorms that allows you to loft beds. You and your roommate have the option to loft your beds, have both on the floor or a mixture of both. Read is also a suite-style dorm, so you and your roommate will share a small half bathroom, or “johnette” as they’re called, with the two people living next door. Rooms have two decent sized closets with an overhead storage space, giving residents a lot of extra room. You’ll also have a desk, a dresser and some shelving space. Read, however does not have air conditioning, which makes the first and last few weeks of school a bit miserable. However, the lounges, lobby and dining areas are all air conditioned, making them a good place to cool off.
The rest of the building
Read has a brand new main lobby and center desk area full of booths and tables for homework, group projects or socializing time. The cool thing about Read is that each floor has four lounges, one for each section of the building. There’s always an open space to study and work on projects, or in the case of my floor to socialize, watch movies, play games and eat. There are five laundry rooms in the building, one in each section and then a large main laundry room located in the Clark wing. There are walkways on the sixth floor roof, so you can hang out up there and get some fresh air at any time. There is a computer lab, plenty of printers, the CLDC which provides you with any and everything you could possibly need to work on a project and a Movies, Music and More, where you can rent CDs and DVDs for a few days. There are also TONS of music practice rooms that can be used by anyone that lives in the building, not just Jacobs students. There is also a kitchen on every other floor, so you can make cookies whenever you’d like! This year, Read had some major issues with the fire alarms. Most of them were caused by students, but the building is older and the alarms are sensitive. But hey, you’re not getting the full dorm experience until you’re rudely awoken at 3AM by a blaring alarm, right?
Read has a brand new RPS dining facility on the first level. It includes four different dining options, all of which are usually referred to as “The Bistro” throughout the building. Presentation Station changes every day, so for example, there might be Indian food on Monday, pasta Tuesday and Wednesday, BBQ on Thursday, hot dogs and such on Friday and generally pancakes in all different flavors and toppings on the weekends (my favorite!). The Bistro serves any kind of sandwich you can think of, but if you want something that isn’t on their sandwich menu you can create a personal one of your own. Bueno serves Mexican food such as burritos, quesadillas, chips and salsa and tacos. There is also a section (my absolute favorite) that serves breakfast from 7 am to midnight. You can get eggs, toast, bacon, omelets, those campus-famous breakfast buddies or the building famous waffles. There is also an array of donuts, cookies, brownies and other delectable treats, as well as plenty of customizable coffee options. The Bistro can get old though, but thanks to Read’s great location you can easily walk to Woodlands, which is considered the best dining option on campus and is right across the street at Forest. The Wright food court and the Union Street C-store are just a mere five minute walk away, so you can easily stock up on groceries and anything else you may need.
Read is usually considered the dorm full of music students and anti-social students. There are a lot of music students within the building, but not everyone is a part of Jacobs. There are students from every major living in Read! Nor is everyone anti-social. We may not be as loud as those living in the Northwest neighborhood, but I did not have any trouble making friends or meeting new people within the building. As a matter of fact, nearly all of the friends I made my freshman year were due to leaving my door open and talking to anyone hanging around in a lounge. It also helped to attend building or floor-wide events. I even bonded with people over the occasional fire alarm.
So, altogether, Read is a pretty cool place to live as long as you have some fans to keep you cool. I’m moving into an apartment next year with a bunch of people that lived on my floor from Read. I absolutely do not regret living there one bit. It’s an experience, that’s for sure.