February 3, 2009 For the past three years, I've lived in the suites, which are two dorms on the dark side (south side) of campus. I've always had options to live in other places on campus, but I've grown attached to Babbitt, where I live now. Each suite houses six people - four single rooms and one double, as well as a bathroom, kitchen, and common area. The dorm is right next to the rugby field and an outdoor pavilion, where barbecues and outdoor concerts are held. There is also a giant windmill behind the building that generates green energy for KJ, a large academic building. You can see stats about the energy generated here. Sometimes when it's really windy, I can hear the windmill spinning from my room.
Babbitt is named after Samuel F. Babbitt, the first and only president of Kirkland College (the women's counterpart to Hamilton when it was an all-men's college) from 1968-1978. I actually just learned that Samuel F. Babbitt is married to Natalie Babbitt, who wrote one of my favorite books from when I was little - Tuck Everlasting.
What's unique about the suites is that they're all completely connected. Once you enter the building, you can walk through every hallway and common room. It gives the dorm a distinctive social feel, and allows all the little suite communities to be linked. Over the past few days, both our neighbors and my suitemates have gone back and forth between suites, lending and borrowing cookware and ingredients as we cooked. It's a very neighborly feel. There are 160 different people living in Babbitt, and I love zig-zagging through the suites and visiting my friends without leaving the building.
My room itself isn't the largest, but I always spend time setting it up every year to make it homey. My walls are covered in posters of events I've gone to, magazine ads, cartoons, and pictures I like, and about 100 pictures of my friends and family. The windows in the buildings on the dark side are gigantic, and take up an entire wall. My window is about 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide, and it gives me a great view.
I find that the suites give you a good balance of privacy (by having your own room) and community (by being connected and living in groups of 6). My girlfriend Brit graduated in 2005, and also lived in Babbitt while she was here. She tells me that whenever the alumni come for reunions, they fight tooth and nail to stay in the same suite they lived in when they went to Hamilton - I'm sure I'll be the same way.