Boston College's College Road housing consists of three buildings: Williams, Welch (no, not Walsh), and Roncalli. The buildings themselves are quite conveniently located near McElroy Commons and a brief walk away from most academic buildings. Aside from its geographical perks, it is arguably one of the least cohesive communities to exist at BC. As said by The Tab in 2015, “students’ most feared result is clear: people usually just do not want to end up on CoRo,” so why is that? The community houses a mixture of freshmen, sophomores, and international/exchange students from every grade. While this could be seen as an opportunity to get to know people from other grades, it is notorious for making students feel isolated from their classmates.
Williams Hall is the only dorm on CoRo that houses entirely freshmen, which gives it a distinct feel compared to the rest of CoRo. I (Maddy) live in Williams, and I’ve personally enjoyed my time here so far. Williams used to be predominantly sophomore housing, but recently switched to accommodate entirely freshmen, and I think this change was crucial to making Williams feel like a freshman community, despite its detachment from Upper and Newton, the other freshman-only communities. In my opinion, it is important for freshmen to live with other freshmen as they navigate an entirely new environment that may feel scary or overwhelming.
Although I generally consider Williams to be rather unproblematic, it has recently become the subject of a lot of gossip, mainly on Herrd, regarding the firing of all four of the Williams RA’s. However, we were not informed that all of the RA’s were gone. Instead, three days before the first day of the second semester, each floor received an email titled “Williams [floor #] Update,” saying that their individual RA “would not be returning to the role this spring.” No indication was given that every RA was gone, and I actually found out through a post my mom showed me on a parent Facebook page. The mass firing of these RA’s appears to be somewhat unprecedented, yet the administration will not release anything official regarding what took place. As a result, rumors have been circulating around campus about potential sex scandals, the prohibited use of substances, and the misuse of the building’s master key. Considering BC’s history with sweeping things under the rug, it is unlikely that we will ever be given the full story. I don’t know the truth about this situation, but I do know that the people I have heard from in Williams really liked their RA’s and are shocked by this situation. It is important to remember that these RA’s are students just like us, and these rather outlandish rumors can have serious consequences.
That’s not all that’s happening on CoRo Hill, because right next door to Williams is Welch Hall. Welch is a mix of transfer sophomores, international students, exchange students here for a semester or two, and forty freshmen, one being yours truly(Anna). Even though the floors were organized by these groups in years prior, this year everyone is scattered across the floors seemingly at random. Upon my arrival to Welch in August, I was disappointed I wouldn’t be sharing a dorm or floor with people my age, missing out on the “freshman experience” of living on Newton or Upper, but I attempted to stay optimistic about my unique situation.
I’ve had some good experiences living in Welch. I’ve met wonderful people on my floor coming from many different countries, and I’ve met older students who helped me transition to college. However, most of my Welch experience has been subpar, to say the least. Many of the exchange students are twenty-plus years old in one of their later years of college, somewhat similar to many Americans going abroad. This mindset has led to lots of reckless and inappropriate behavior–for example, the cops coming to our building multiple times during finals week due to disturbances and alcohol poisoning. At times I’ve attempted to sympathize with this behavior, recognizing that they’re in a much different position than me; nonetheless, the awkward gap in age and situation has made many freshmen disastrously uncomfortable. Even if this behavior of the small group of Welch residents was ignored, it doesn’t take away from the fact that most of Welch is either in the “transfer student” community or “international exchange student” community and aren’t looking to form meaningful relationships with the six-to-ten teenage freshmen on their floor. Not only is the setup of Welch disadvantageous to its forty freshmen, but at times it has certainly been frightening and upsetting to have to deal with disorderly (and at times dangerous) older students in and outside my supposed “home.”
Roncalli Hall, the last of the three dorms, is thought of as a metaphorical “hell on earth” for the majority of sophomores. After freshman year at BC, it’s tradition for students to move from Upper or Newton Campus to live together on Lower with the other upperclassmen. However, Roncalli is always a potential threat looming over rising Sophomore’s heads as they go through the housing process (as we are now). Aside from the location, Roncalli also has traditional style dorms, including doubles, triples, and quads, as well as floor-wide communal bathrooms. While the majority of their classmates have moved on to suites and private bathrooms, Roncalli residents are seemingly trapped in their freshman year living situation.
CoRo not only creates a dynamic that isolates freshman and sophomores from their peers, it simultaneously lacks a community between each building. One sophomore interviewed by The Tab for their article titled “We interviewed CoRo kids to see how bad it really is,” one student said, “I’ve met a lot of nice people from our hall but I don’t feel like in general there’s a CoRo community between buildings.” CoRo is often viewed as “overflow dorms” and it seems as though almost all residents living there have somewhere else they would rather be. We (Maddy and Anna) have had a lot of positive experiences on CoRo, and by no means want to diminish that, but the community itself isn't without room for improvement to create a more positive experience for all of its residents.