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Brook Street residents reflect on experience as inaugural dorm cohort

Students discuss theme communities, dorm features

<p>The Brook Street dorms include three thematic communities focused on sustainability, religious and spiritual life and civic engagement.</p>

The Brook Street dorms include three thematic communities focused on sustainability, religious and spiritual life and civic engagement.

The five-story Brook Street Residence Halls, which include Chen Family Hall at 250 Brook St. and Danoff Hall at 259 Brook St., opened to their first resident cohort of sophomores, juniors and seniors fall 2023. 

The residence halls are made up of two-, three- and four-bedroom suites that include a full bathroom with a shower stall. Several two-bedroom suites also include kitchenettes with a stovetop, microwave and refrigerator. Beyond the common areas within suites, the residence halls also feature gathering areas, study spaces and full kitchens.

For Andrew Rovinsky ’25, the Brook Street dorms were a particularly attractive housing option when navigating last year’s housing lottery. The Brook Street dorms were his “top choice” because they seemed “nicer” and boasted “new facilities.”

“We got lucky with the housing lottery,” he said.


While a majority of the beds in the Brook Street dorms are available to the general public, the residence halls also include designated communities that focus on three themes: religious and spiritual life, sustainability and civic engagement. Students have to apply for space within these communities.

For Emily Colon ’25, a political science concentrator, the civic engagement community was particularly appealing: It “was the only program housing option that involved something that I am passionate about: … social justice issues,” she said. 

But according to Colon, her theme community hasn’t “met as a group or decided on any programming” so far this year.

Rovinsky is not involved in any theme communities because he was not “that interested” in any particular themes and found the application requirement somewhat inconvenient. 

The residents also provided insight into some of the dorms’ unique features. “There are not enough suites on campus to accommodate everyone who wants them,” Rovinsky said. So he appreciates “having a suite with singles” in his new dorm. 

For Adam Orlow ’25, having an en-suite bathroom “separate from the shower room” is a particularly nice feature. He added that he also likes the “well-furnished” public kitchens, one of which is always available for use.

For Colon, the elevators and study spaces throughout the residence hall provide a sense of convenience by allowing her to study within her dorm building, a distinguishing feature from her previous on-campus housing.

But the residents did not like every feature of the new dorms, which can sometimes feel “cramped and stuffy” due to limited ventilation in the shared spaces, Orlow said.

Colon added that there could also be more washers and dryers in the buildings and that she prefers built-in closets, which enable her to store more clothing, to the wardrobes in her suite. She also noted that the timed lights throughout the dorm often “just go off” when she is not moving, particularly when she is reading or doing work.

Rovinsky said that residents should be able to control the air conditioning and that he would prefer if there were “couches” rather than “two chairs and two stands” in the common area of his suite. Nevertheless, he noted that these “minor complaints” will not prevent him from trying to “live here (again) next year.”


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