Living in Read: A Dorm Review

Look at this! All this magic!

The new school year is right around the corner, and if you’re an incoming freshman, you may have just found out that your new housing assignment says you’ll be living in Read! Lucky you! I lived in Read my freshman year and absolutely loved it… and I’ll tell you why!

Awesome Things About Living in Read

~The Dorm Rooms~A dorm room

  1. The way the rooms are set up actually really gives you a lot of space! The default floor plan for a double room has two beds that are lofted with your desk underneath on one side and some shelving space and drawers on the other side. Along the opposite wall of the room are your GIGANTIC built-in closets! Above the closets you have even more storage space with little cubbies with sliding doors. These cubbies are actually a lot bigger than the ones in Teter. Seriously, the amount of storage space you get is one of the best things about living here. It’s awesome.
  2. Living in Read means that you get your very own half-bathroom that you share with the room next door. This is super convenient – great for brushing your teeth without having to leave your room. Sharing this space with your neighbors really helps you be able to better meet and get to know the people next door. And there’s more! The janitors come and clean your half-bath (called a “johnette”) once a week. You get the best of both worlds: you have your own bathroom right there as a part of your own space, and you don’t even have to clean it. PLUS you get in on the social benefits of sharing.


  1. Not to mention, you can still move the furniture around to customize as with any other dorm room at IU. I de-lofted my bed and made it into a half-loft…. (please pardon the slight mess).
  2. There is also a bigger bathroom of showers located down the hall, so if you were really worried about missing out on the comradery of sharing a communal bathroom, don’t worry — you still get that in Read!
  3. Every floor has a floor lounge — a room where you can meet up. These lounges DO have air conditioning and plenty of couches! Some floors have a TV in the lounge, but not all. Not having a TV is not a big deal; if you want to watch TV in the lounge you can also use another floor’s lounge that has a TV.
  4. The building is X-shaped with four wings: Clark, Beck, Landes, and Curry. Clark and Landes are the females’ wings, and Beck and Curry are the males’ wings. The wings are pretty sectioned-off just with the structure of the building, but if you live in Read and have a key to the doors, all of the wings and floors interconnect.

~The Atmosphere~

  1. Read is known for being located right next to the Jacobs School of Music… which probably means it is full of band geeks and music majors, right? Social suicide, right? Wrong. There are a lot of really cool people living here, music majors and non-music majors alike. This “all music people” stereotype most likely got started because of the Fine Arts LLC on Clark 3, and also because incoming freshmen music majors often preference the Southeast neighborhood when choosing housing because of its close proximity to Jacobs. While living in Read I had the chance to get to know so many people of a variety of majors. There were several people on my floor in Kelley, several in Jacobs, some journalism majors, some education majors (Read is also very close to the Education building), plenty in the College of Arts and Sciences, etc., etc., …you get the idea.
  2. Like any of the other dorms, Read offers tons of ways for you to get involved. Last year I was my floor’s programmer (student government), so believe me when I say that there are always things going on that are planned for the residents, which is a great way to meet the people you live with. At the end of the second semester, the Read student government and the RAs put on Huge Fest, which is this awesome festival with bounce houses, a dunk tank, free T-shirts, comedy shows, free food… You should definitely go!

~The Food~

  1. Unfortunately, the rumor is that the Bistro and the Landes Dining Room were taken out of Read this summer as a part of a renovation :'( but actually. This is a huge disappointment because both of these places offered really good food. And all last year it was super awesome to have three food options without even having to leave your building. I honestly don’t know how students manage to live in residence halls that don’t have any dining options. You have to leave the building to get food every time? What if it’s raining?? Living in Read has made me so spoiled.
  2. BUT! There is good news: The Hoosier Cafe is still standing on the main floor of Read so you can still eat without having to leave the building. Last year the Hoosier Cafe was basically a mini C-store (convenience store), which means that you could buy a lot of pre-packaged food here. There is also hot food available: 99 times out of 100 they are serving chicken strips. I believe it is actually being expanded this year into a full C-store, so hopefully we’ll be able to buy things here that are not food-related, but will be super awesome to have access to in the residence hall (Floss! Yay!). Oh, and did I mention there is a mini-Starbucks? I repeat: Starbucks. Enough said.
  3. Looking at food options lying outside the building, there will be a brand new really nice food court in Forest, which is pretty much 10 steps outside the building (I exaggerate, but you get the idea). It’s also a really quick walk to Wright food court. The walk to Union Street Center isn’t bad at all. The walk to the suuuuupppppper nice (arguably the best) C-store on campus in Willkie is also not bad at all.
  4. And finally, looking at food options not within your meal plan (because you will get tired of it eventually), there are sooooooo many restaurants really close to Read. Mother Bear’s Pizza is right next door on 3rd street. Also on 3rd street, Ami – a sushi restaurant. But it’s actually delicious. I was really nervous to try sushi for the first time and ended up loving it. The entire menu is 20% off on Tuesdays, and they take your Campus Access card. And continuing our pattern of restaurants on 3rd street… there is another Asian restaurant with a name that I forget at the moment. From Read it’s about a 10-minute walk to Kirkwood where you can basically find restaurant after restaurant after restaurant.

~The Amenities~

  1. There are laundry rooms scattered throughout the basement of Read… just a quick elevator ride away. Tip: laundry on Sunday afternoon is crazy. Try doing laundry at seemingly odd times. But hey, if you’re up studying on a Tuesday night anyway, you might as well have a load of laundry going, even if it’s 2 a.m.
  2. Read is the only residence hall with a CLDC, or Community Leadership Development Center. Basically, this is where all the RAs at IU come to “craft,” or make your floor bulletin boards and door tags. But the CLDC is open for the residents to use as well! If you ever need to make a poster for a class, or you need access to scissors, glue, glitter, whatever, — all for free — this is the place to come. AND there are also computers and printers in here where you can print in your choice of black and white or in color. I believe this is the only place on campus I’m aware of where you can print in color for free. There is a limit of 5 pages (I think? Maybe 10?), but that’s 5 pages per visit… meaning if you print 5, leave, and walk right back in you can print another 5 pages… #cheatingthesystem
  3. There is a computer lab in the basement where you can also use a printer. It can get pretty crowded at about 3:00 – 4:00 and again at 10:00 pm and later, so I’d advise taking care of print jobs at basically any other time. It’s very convenient to have this in your dorm, so you don’t need to walk to the library every time you need to print something, and you don’t need to buy your own printer.
  4. In the lobby there are: three extra computers (sometimes I come here instead of the computer lab when it’s a busy time), a printer, a copier, and the main desk area where there are always RAs working if you ever have any questions.
  5. There is an MMM in the basement – Movies, Music, and More. Here you can rent DVDs, and also CDs, for up to 2 days. Renting from the MMM is waaaaayyy easier than bringing all of your favorite DVDs from home, and they actually have a really good selection!
  6. There is a Game Room in the Basement of Beck Wing. I don’t think I ever did more than just walk through it, but I believe it has a pool table.
  7. There are a few formal lounges located on the main floor. These big rooms are full of couches and tables, which is really nice for studying.
  8. If you are a musician, there are practice rooms in the basement.

~The Location~

  1. Read is located in the Southeast Neighborhood of IU’s campus… which means it’s super far away from everything and basically in the middle of no where, right? Wrong. So wrong. I have no idea how this mentality got out there that Read is far away from everything. The walk from Read to Wright and Teter is literally not even 3 minutes.
  2. Being a freshman, or any of class really, you will probably have multiple (if not multiple, at least one) class in Ballantine Hall. Read is without a doubt the closest dorm to Ballantine. Also, if you have classes in Jordan or in Swain, Read is the closest dorm to these. You have a class in Sycamore? The Chemistry building? Anywhere around the IMU? Read is the closest dorm to this entire area of campus where a huge amount of classroom buildings are located. Yes, Read is closer to these buildings even than the dorms in the Central Neighborhood like Wright and Teter.
  3. Read is also really close to:
  • the HPER (where you can work out!) The SRSC is a little farther, but if you’re serious about working out you probably won’t mind walking a little farther
  • the TIS Bookstore (where you can buy your textbooks if you choose)
  • The Village Pantry on 3rd street (for all of your occasional Village Pantry needs)
  • Frats on 3rd street
  • The College Mall! If you prefer walking over taking the bus, the walk is about 15-20 minutes and totally do-able

Things About Living in Read that are Less Awesome, but Not a Big Deal!

  1. No Air Conditioning. Yes, Read dorms don’t have AC. Please calm down right now. The first two weeks of the school year will not be so fun, but for the entire rest of the year I hardly noticed that I lived in a building without AC. Buy a fan. Buy a few fans, actually. I recommend a box fan to put in the window and a personal fan for yourself. Also:
  • The main floor and the basement ARE air conditioned.
  • Your floor lounges ARE air conditioned
  1. It is a long walk to the stadiums on the northern-most part of campus that takes about 20-25 minutes. Walk with your friends — I’m sure if you were going to a game, you’d be going with friends anyway — and the time will fly. Or take the bus if you really don’t want to walk.
  2. It is an older building, so the fire alarms are sensitive. Just try to be careful about not scorching your popcorn… also, really don’t light candles, and get used to the fire alarms going off occasionally. It’s not a huge deal, just an adjustment to living here, and it’s all part of the dorm experience.

And Everything Else

  1. There are seven floors in Read: the basement, the main floor, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Students live on floors 2-6. Floors 2-5 are all doubles for the most part, meaning you have a roommate, and the 6th floor is all singles.
  2. Each wing of the building has its own elevator. The elevator will pick you up and take you to any floor except the 6th floor. If you live on the 6th floor, you take the elevator to the 5th floor and then walk up one more flight of stairs.
  • There is also a flight of stairs in every wing, and one flight in the center of the building.
  1. Your RA’s room will have AC (so make friends with your RA!)
  2. Each floor has a supply closet where you can use a vacuum or broom if you need it, get more trash bags, more toilet paper for your half-bath, etc.
  3. You have to supply your own hand soap for your johnette!
  4. The mattresses are a size Twin XL, as with every other dorm.
  5. Some of the floors have a small kitchen (stove, oven, sink, and some counter space) and others do not, but if you want to use a kitchen and your floor does not have one, you can always use another floor’s! Just walk to a different floor, no big deal.

I hope you enjoy living in this residence hall as much as I do! Thanks for reading!

Anne Riley

Anthropology Major, Tutor, Volunteer, Class of 2016

"I'm in the class of 2016, I'm from Greenwood, IN, and I'm majoring in anthropology with minors in Spanish and geography at Indiana University! I am most interested in studying biological anthropology and archaeology. Last summer I went on my first archaeological dig, 6 weeks of backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park - it was awesome! I am a member for IU's chapter of Global Brigades where I am a part of the Water Brigade - over spring break we went to Honduras to build sustainable water collection and filtration systems to bring clean water to rural communities that don't currently have access to safe water. This year we are planning another brigade to Ghana in May! I intern in the Anthropology Department's Zooarchaeology Lab (zooarchaeology = zoo + archaeology = animal bones). My goal for future semesters is to also have a museum internship. I also work as a tutor with the writing center, Writing Tutorial Services (WTS). I am a musician as well and have played flute in the All-Campus Band; although I also play piano and saxophone. And of course, I am a student blogger for! I also love:
Indiana basketball
the SRSC
indie rock music
Pizza X
How I Met Your Mother
long walks on sandy beaches I'm psyched to share my experiences and advice! Thanks for reading and GO HOOSIERS!"

Tags from the story