Light/Dark Sides

Can you guys tell me a little bit about the differences in the residence halls between the light side dorms and the dark side dorms? Thanks!

You might start by flipping through the slideshows for the residence halls reserved for first-year students by clicking on their names: Note that Hamilton offers a grey side as well:


Wallace Johnson





My son is a first year in Dunham. Third floor. He’s in a double but there are actually two rooms. He and his roommate decided to put the beds in one room and make the other room a living room. He has four friends who are in a quad in Dunham. One room has two bunk beds and the other room has the desks and closets. The third floor of Dunham has gender neutral bathrooms. Dunham is centrally located according to my son.

My student has lived in Dunham for freshmen year (light side) and on the dark side sophomore year. Prefers the dark side because the rooms have nice windows and views and it is closer to KJ, where he has a lot of classes and uses the study spaces. It is cold in Clinton, so being close to the buildings you will have classes in is ideal. For instance, the light side is a better location if you take a lot of science classes. There are stereotypes about the type of students that live on either side, but I think they are overstated or outdated. My student has friends all over campus.

Nesa Wasarhaley’s paper, although possibly somewhat outdated, is an interesting read.

Nesa is currently an assistant professor at Bridgwater State.

Agree about the whole light side/dark side thing being way overstated. OP - are you a newly admitted student trying to choose housing?

Also agree that if you’re taking all science and math classes, it might be more convenient to live on the “light side” Also, if you need a quiet place to study, the science building and library are good options, so it’s nice to have them nearby. But you can also find quiet, cozy niches for studying on the dark side too. Your English, Math, Science, Comp Lit and Language courses are going to be primarily taught on the light side. Economics, political science, Arts, history, sociology, anthropology, are going to be primarily taught on the dark side.

I went to Hamilton in the early 90s. I lived in Kirkland, Carnegie, Bundy and Milbank (and Dunham was my second home) I thought all the housing on campus was pretty cozy. General rule - if you’re more of a middle-of-the-road or conservative person, preppy, athletic, or into partying, you might feel more comfortable starting out on the light side. If you’re more artsy, crunchy, quiet, laid-back, substance-free, you might want to start out on the dark side. But there are no hard and fast rules. By senior year, everyone was in suites, special interest, or Greek housing, so all the “rules” went out the window. If you’re looking to live on the light side, Dunham and South are the most centrally located and are probably going to be the most “happening” (for good and bad). North would probably lend itself to you getting to know people a little bit more intimately, but still be a community if that make sense.

Even though the dorms look really nice, I don’t think I would want to be part-way down the hill in Wertimer (God rest his soul) or Wally J. They aren’t THAT far out of the way - when I started there, that was basically where the student center was, so it was a happening place and not inconvenient for us to walk to, but there isn’t a dining hall nearby, and trudging up the hill in the snow and cold isn’t fun. Better to live down the hill as an upperclassperson when you have a car.

Though all Hamilton dining halls are open to all Hamilton students, note that the recently opened Bundy Café and Lounge is particularly convenient to those living on the east side of campus where the above houses are located. I recommend these houses in that they are among the nicest living arrangements available anywhere for first-year students.

Bundy cafe is not a full-service dining hall. While I realize it’s better than nothing, which is what it had been for some time, it’s still a really crappy option for students down the hill. When I was a Hamilton student, it was open for breakfast and dinner during the week and brunch and dinner on the weekends. It wasn’t just grab and go. I can’t imagine living down there and having to pay the full cost of the meal plan without having easy access to an actual dining hall. In fact, I’d be pretty ticked off. The last thing you want to do on a cold winter evening when you’ve settled in to study for the night is to hike up the hill again for dinner. I imagine there is a lot of pizza delivery going on.

The best house at Hamilton might be 100 College Hill Road, in which the students seem aligned in their belief that parking in proximity to their living environment would be antithetical to their values.

Good for them. I hope they have face masks for that wind that whips down the hill during a snowstorm! Lol. Residents of 100 College HIll are also Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors - they presumably have already established themselves as parts of some social groups on campus.
(Don’t get me wrong. I love Hamilton, and I even enjoyed my time in Bundy, but it was made much easier by having a boyfriend with a car and a dinner option right next door.)

We’re at 415 ppm atmospheric CO2 now. With this in mind, I’d hope most students wouldn’t drive from one part of Hamilton’s campus to another just to avoid some weather.

@Trixy34 , my son will be in Bundy next year as a sophomore. I think that is why he’s begging me to allow him to bring his car next year!