<p>So, tell me about Mertz. Incoming freshman son was just placed there. Older Swattie brother lived in Willets, ML and Wharton, so we're unfamiliar with Mertz. Give us the good, the bad, the ugly...Thanks.</p>

<p>It's a great place to live as a freshman. No/very few sophomores (only those that got in off the waitlist)--just freshmen, juniors and seniors. It's lively, which means some partying, depending on who happens to live on a given hall, but not as much of a party den as Willets. About on par with Wharton, I'd say, in that regard. Halls of Mertz freshmen can be very tight-knit and close. </p>

<p>Location is nice--on campus, not too far from the library or dining hall. Much nicer now that construction is finished on the New Dorms. Facilities (room size, bathrooms, etc.) are average--not shiny and new like the New Dorms, but certainly nice enough. The second floor kitchen is one of the best kitchens on campus. </p>

<p>Mertz was built in the '80s, and was the college's first attempt at a happy medium between Willets' arrow-straight hallways and Danawell's overly twisty corridors. Still a bit twisty for my tastes, but it works decently well. </p>

<p>It's a great dorm. Congrats to your son!</p>

<p>I'll quickly add a link to the following: several years ago Boy Meets Tractor (the campus sketch comedy group) made a joke commercial for Mertz--the joke being that it's just about the most standard, run-of-the-mill college dorm on campus. </p>

<p>YouTube</a> - Mertz</p>

The link is hilarious and I am forwarding it along to my Swattie '14. I just spoke with my Swattie '07 who said that when he was there that the only downside of Mertz was a rodent problem. Does that still exist?</p>

<p>My daughter lived in Mertz her freshman year. She LOVED it! Great hall life! Convenient location - near the library, and I never heard her mention rodents.</p>

<p>A Mertz dad here, too. My daughter was in Mertz freshman year, one of the highly desireable rooms as the end of the hall with a semi-private common room, perfect for stashing spare mattresses and specs during Ride the Tide.</p>

<p>She loved it. Made good friends with seniors on her hall, who showed her the ropes. Very tight freshman group on her hall, aka "the Mertz cult". All 18 of them even went to NYC en mass for a weekend. Very social dorm. Great for meeting people and having thinks like Sake/Sushi parties taking advantage of the kitchen, but the seniors keep it sane. No prayer of getting Mertz as a sophmore in the room lottery, so figure that you are ahead of the game as a freshman.</p>

<p>A bit of Mertz lore. It was built post-baby boom and post economic mailaise 70s, during a time when colleges were feeling the pinch. To save money, Swarthmore built it with a stucco exterior instead of gray stone. Some alumni thought it was so ugly and out of place that they donated the cash to retrofit the gray stone exterior a few years later. The big architectural flaw with the building is that it is backwards. The lounge with big windows opening up onto an enclosed courtyard lawn area should be facing Parrish Beach.</p>


<p>Oh, and the doubles are bigger than Willets or Danawell.</p>

<p>The only thing I will add is to make sure to take everything important home over Christmas break as the room will be used over break by anyone who stays on campus. It is the perfect place to live for freshman!</p>

<p>Interesteddad, the story is close but not quite right. The stucco exterior was proposed and discussed, but it never came to pass. Mertz opened in 1981 with stone exterior complete. I was one of the first six RAs there. </p>

<p>I'd post pictures, but I don't want to scare anybody away. . . .</p>

<p>I absolutely agree that it's a great placement for a first year.</p>

<p>I lived in Mertz my freshman year and I'll be back again next (my senior) year. I like it a lot. The rooms are okay, some carpeted some tile and of varying size. The bathrooms are really nice. The location is good: you have to walk up the hill every morning, but its close to Sharples and the dorms on the good side of campus. The hall life depends on a lot of things, but I would say Mertz is the best balance between being a social dorm and a somewhat quiet dorm. It's a nice place to live.</p>

<p>Also, there is sometimes a little shieldbug problem. Everyone on my hall had some of them. But its not too much of a hassle.</p>

<p>^^^^Uh oh! I have to google "shieldbug." ;) Andrassy, my '07 grad seems to think that there will basically be freshmen and seniors in Mertz, with very little in between because the singles are snapped up by the seniors. What's your impression?</p>

<p>It will be mostly seniors and freshmen, with an occasional junior who had a really good number or got in off the waitlist, and perhaps a very, very lucky sophomore or two. </p>

<p>Mertz, like most dorms, has at least a few shieldbugs/stinkbugs. They are weird-looking and occasionally loud when they bump into things, but they don't bite or eat things or anything like that (and they don't even stink unless you crush them--which you shouldn't do--just throw them out the window!). They also have rodents on occasion--again, something that happens now and then in most dorms. </p>

<p>This is very important for new Swatties, no matter where you'll be living: you don't want to be the reason for a critter infestation on your hall, so store your food in tupperware, keep the crumbs to a minimum and don't leave food trash (pizza boxes, etc.) lying around. Your hallmates will appreciate it.</p>

<p>Mertz is definitely Senior and freshman top heavy, though there are a fair share of juniors (despite it being one of the better dorms, wharton is for some reason that I don't understand very popular with seniors, and DK and AP also may be more highly sought after. Because of this a few singles/blocks of singles will fall to juniors). The only sophomores in mertz are ones who get in off the waitlist. On my freshman hall there was one double that was supposed to go to freshmen who for whatever reason didn't occupy the room, and it went to two sophomores. Otherwise, I can't think of any sophomores who lived in mertz with me.</p>

<p>I suppose it could be a bit problematic as sophomores may be a little easier to befriend as a freshman than upperclassmen. I will say that almost all of my best friends to this day I met in mertz or through someone who lived in mertz. And I was very close with those two sophomores. I definitely had much less interaction with the upperclassmen, but they were friendly and helpful when we crossed paths. I don't think my year was a fluke: I do get the impression that mertz freshmen tend to get along very well.</p>

Interesteddad, the story is close but not quite right.


<p>Thanks. So, it was designed stucco and the stone was a later design element, but included in the original construction? The building always struck me as just a bit "off" and "heavy" in a way that made sense when I found out it was initially designed to be stucco. I'm glad that they added the stone; it would stick out like an ugly step-child in stucco.</p>

<p>I wonder how the New Dorm and New New Dorm has changed that corner of the campus with Mertz? A significant percentage of the student body now lives in that immediate area.</p>

<p>Wow, this is all really helpful! I'm freshman and I'll be living in a end room double in Mertz! I'm so excited!</p>

<p>The youtube videos are really funny! InterestedDad, I haven't kept up with Swarthmore in a while. So, is the New New Dorm completed already? And what will it's name be?</p>

<p>New New Dorm has been open for a couple of years. I think it opened the fall after our Swatties graduated. It's named David Kemp Hall. It was named in honor of his grandfather( or somebody) by Gil Kemp '72 who founded this website:</p>

<p>Furniture</a> and Home Decor | Home Decorators Collection</p>

<p>He sold the company to Home Depot a few years ago and made a $10 million donation to Swarthmore after getting worked over by Eugene Lang as a young philanthropic protege!</p>

<p>Swarthmore</a> College | On Philanthropy</p>

<p>Somebody finally took a good photo of the new new dorm (with Alice Paul on the right and a little bit of Mertz on the left):</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Looks awesome. Thanks, InterestedDad. I miss Swat!</p>

<p>Just FYI, use of the terms new dorm and new new dorm have died down (I'm not sure new new dorm was every really used extensively). On campus its much more likely youll hear AP and DK now.</p>

<p>That's too bad. I thought it would be great, a hundred years from now, if they were still calling them the New Dorm and New New Dorm.</p>

<p>Have DK and AP started to find a place in the perceived pecking order of dorm desireability. For the first couple of years, it seemed that students weren't really giving AP a fair shot, rejecting the, uh, "newness" of it all. I would think the "on-campus" location and nice accommodations would start to elevate the street cred of the new and new new dorms?</p>

<p>Mertz is a great placement! Next year - my senior year - will be my second year in a row there. This next year will be unique in that a really high number of juniors will be there compared to previous years (unlike other years, basically the whole senior class wanted Wharton), so it'll make for an even more interesting mix of people (my hall will have more juniors than seniors)!</p>

<p>I've lived in Wharton and Mertz, and I really love the environments of both, but I'm really excited for Mertz next year - the lounges are really nice and spacious, I love the 2nd floor kitchen, the little nooks to gather, the bathrooms - as people have said - are really nice, it has its own traditions and lore (M&M Cup, Mertz Love), and I'd say that it's pretty comparable to Wharton in terms of noise, except our courtyard doesn't get crazy parties on the weekends like Wharton's does. In terms of rodents, most dorms on campus have a mouse problem, but Wharton is probably worse than Mertz, actually, and in my time living there last year I saw a total of one mouse, for about half a second - far fewer than the many regular rodent visitors in my 3rd floor Wharton room. It is farther away than Wharton/Danawell/etc from the academic buildings, but it also feels closer to Sharples. There's also going to be a great team of RAs there next year as well. Your student should be really excited!</p>

<p>Lastly, in terms of students living there over winter break, you get to choose who lives there, and if you're adamantly opposed to it, Rachel Head (dean of housing) would probably make an exception for you. Often people choose friends who they know (you pick from a list) to live in their rooms, and it definitely doesn't require moving out all of your stuff.</p>

<p>As for whether people like AP/DK, they're really small, so they fill up really quickly in the lottery. There's definitely competition for blocking there as well. I will say that because of their huge, open lounges they're often pretty loud places to live, and sometimes it's difficult to cultivate hall life because many of the halls are so small. So yes, people definitely like AP/DK, but I still think that Wharton/Mertz would be above them in popularity just because of their social atmosphere.</p>