Thursday, February 01, 2007

Magical Mystery Biathlon

Dear Friends,

Libby and I read your comments on our proposal last week with great interest. We recognized quickly that most people seemed to want to see dorms (which is what we would want to see, if we were in your shoes), so concluded we had two options. We could either spend many weeks taking pictures of one dorm per week, or do all the dorms close to campus in a single lunch break and move on to other things! We knew which one of those two options excited us, so we set off this afternoon on the College Admissions Winter Biathlon of 2007, aiming to see four dormitories and all three dining halls in one hour.

The biathlon seemed to be a uniquely appropriate event, because it involves skiing and shooting (in this case shooting pictures, not rifles). The participants were Jeff Hreben (representing Norway), Libby Pearson (representing Andorra), Jon Quinn (representing The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and me (representing the Motherland - the Russian Federation). All participants won gold medals. There are no losers in the College Admissions Game, so there certainly would not be any losers in the College Admissions Biathlon.

We set out from the main quad towards Burton Judson. It was at this point that we abandoned our skis for lack of snow to ski on. All participants agreed to this, so no one was penalized or disqualified. We continued with only our wits and our cameras:

As we approached Burton Judson, I called Caroline, the student who had agreed to show us her room. She lives in Dodd-Mead House on the first floor of Burton Judson:

Here is a view of Burton Judson from where Jon and I were standing. Notice - not enough snow for a real biathlon on skis:

Here are Jon and Austin approaching the entrance to Burton Judson. The portcullis is raised except when the building is under siege by the Ostrogoths, who tend to appear yearly during the Spring Quarter:

Caroline and her roommate live in a 'walk-through' double. Most rooms in Burton Judson are singles. Caroline and her roommate have singles too, but Caroline must walk through her roommate's room to get in and out. This is her roommate's room:

And this is half of Caroline's room. She didn't want us to take a picture of her desk on the other side of the room because it was messy. We interrupted Caroline while she was doing her physics homework:

We left Caroline's room and headed for the Burton Judson dining hall, which is in the rear corner of the building. As you can see, Burton Judson was built in the Gothic style. What you cannot see in this picture is that the architects took this so seriously that they included battlements with spaces for archers and cauldrons to be used to pour hot oil on invading enemies (like the Ostrogoths, for example).

Before reaching the dining hall, we passed the entrance to Chamberlin House. Libby lived in Chamberlin as a first year student, many, many years ago (ok, maybe five and a half years ago) and as you can see, she really enjoyed the experience:

This is the interior of the Burton Judson dining hall, which resembles the dining hall from the Harry Potter movies (as does Burton Judson as a whole, and most of our campus). In fact, the same technology which is used to suspend the candles above the floor in the Hogwarts dining hall (i.e., magic) is employed at the Burton Judson dining hall to suspend the chandeliers. Magic was developed here in the early 20th century. We are not lying.

After stopping in Burton Judson, we decided to add an unscheduled stop to our course - the NEW dorm. If you are admitted, make the right choice and decide to enroll, and then live in the Shoreland during your first year, you will be moved to this new dorm when it is ready during your second year. The dorm has been nicknamed the Panopticon, because of the resemblance it bears to Jeremy Bentham's design for a prison. We think the new dorm is going to be quite amazing and any comparisons to a prison are without merit! In fact, Jon, Jeffrey, Austin, Libby, Isabel and Kate have all considered applying to be Resident Heads in the new dorm when it opens:

Right now the new dorm is not ready to accept any students:

We left the new dorm and headed up Ellis Avenue. This is a view of Harper from the south side of the Midway. The tower at the right of the photograph is Rockefeller Chapel:

We went through the Classics Quad, on to the Main Quad, and into the Snell-Hitchcock quad (for those of you following along on a map), to see the Snell-Hitchcock dormitory, which is pictured here:

We entered the building and stopped in Ayn Sauer's room. If any of you visited during the summer, you may have had Ayn as a tour guide, or seen her on a student panel. She has a really excellent room, which she shares with a friend of hers. She wants us to tell all of you that you will not be able to live there next year, because she is staying in her room forever! This is half of it. The other half is as cool as this half:

Here is the other half of Ayn's room. Again, it is every bit as cool as the first half. On the left, you can see Ayn. We think she would want you to know that she is not named after Ayn Rand:

We stopped on the way out to take pictures of Snell-Hitchcock's Green Room, which is often used for tea parties, masquerade balls, and frivolous frippery:

We next stopped in the Bartlett Dining Hall to try to find a student who would let us in to Max Palevsky East. Here is the stairway up to the dining area, which is on the second floor:

Once inside, I tried to convince a student from May House to take us in and show us around. Unfortunately, I had little success. This might be because I spent three years living in Alper House (which is on the third and fourth floors of Max East) and often made fun of May House and Hoover House, with which my house shared the building. In my humble and completely biased opinion, Alper House is the best house in the housing system:

Since we could not enter the building, I decided to show my feelings for it to all of you by hugging it. It's a wonderful dorm. I really enjoyed living there:

On our way from Max Palevsky to Pierce, we passed this sign in the window of the Hoover House, which I think every student at the University (and most of our applicants) could endorse with enthusiasm:

This is a picture from Pierce Hall from University Avenue near Henry Crown:

Before checking out a room, we decided to stop at the Pierce dining hall for lunch. I had some pizza, ravioli, a salad, and some ice cream which is not pictured here. We took a picture of Jon's lunch because everything he was eating was pink, which matched his tie, but unfortunately for you (and fortunately for him) it did not come out very well:

This is the first floor of the house lounge in Tufts House, from the second floor of the lounge. Tufts House is located on the second and third floors of Pierce:

Tufts House has about 10 video game consoles lying around. Here I am playing a Nintendo Wii. The last video game system I played was a Sega Genesis, which I am now realizing was released in the year most applicants this year were born. Here I am noticing that the cars in this game are steered by tilting the controller from side to side. I am really, really amazed. I was not able to try the Playstation 3, so I can't compare the two:

This is one half of a Pierce double:

Jeff and Jon both lived in Pierce during their first years, and here they are demonstrating how much they love the building:

On our way back to Rosenwald, we ran in to Ryland, who I admitted two years ago and who lives in Max Palevsky East. He agreed to show us his room, which he shares with the student I am pictured talking to earlier. Ryland said "everything cool in this room belongs to me, everything which is not cool belongs to [my roommate]!":

After leaving Max Palevsky we returned to our offices in Rosenwald, which is pictured here. If you visit in April, look for this building. We hope there will be more leaves on the trees and less snow on the ground by then:

Please tell us how you enjoyed this, what else we should include and what you would like us to photograph in the future. Thanks for reading!


Austin, Jeff, Jon and Libby

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