Among the many idiosyncrasies that characterize student life at Rochester is the infamous feud between freshman housing locations. Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall (known to most as “Sue B.”) vs. the Residential Quad (typically shortened to “The Quad”). Both Sue B. and The Quad have a unique list of pros and cons that make it difficult, at least from an objective standpoint, to really deem one as “better” than the other. Even so, the vast majority of Rochester students adopt fierce loyalties to their respective freshman homes that often linger even after graduation. Unfortunately, this devotion to dorm locale sometimes comes at the cost of alienating oneself from “the other side.” But from personal experience, I can say it definitely doesn’t have to.
For some reason, whether it be simple proximity or some true fundamental difference between “Quad People” and “Sue B. People,” many freshmen tend to socialize almost exclusively with members of their own housing domain, rarely venturing to forge close connections with their peers across campus. Defying this social precedent can surely be difficult, particularly when the people you see most often—the people you are more likely to befriend—are the people you live by. However, as a Quad resident with a solid group of friends from Sue B., I can attest to the value of Sue B./Quad relationships.
The Residential Quad
From the first time I toured the campus, I was alerted to the legendary housing feud as my two upperclassman tour guides—in the midst of the tour—briefly entertained an argument over which freshman dorm was best. But after extensive independent research on the differences between Sue B. and The Quad, I never really developed much of a preference when it came to housing, and I was happy to leave my dorm prospects up to fate when registration rolled around. In the end, I found myself on the fourth floor of Gilbert Hall, the exclusively freshman and largest of the Quad residence halls. And while yes, after a little over a semester, a large portion of my freshman friends are also housed on The Quad, several of my close friends call Sue B. home.
What I think sets me apart from many other freshmen is not that I socialize with my Sue B. peers (most Quad freshmen are on friendly terms with at least a few people from Sue B.), but that the level of our socializing is equivalent to what I practice with many of my Quad friend groups. I have dinner with my friends from Sue B. at least once or twice a week, I’ve hung out in their rooms, I’ve studied in their lounges, we’ve even gone on off-campus trips together, and while I’ve never had a class with some of them, we have other things in common that have made our unlikely friendships last. And to think, I could have easily missed my chance to meet such wonderful people based simply on the little inconvenience that we live five minutes apart instead of two.
Susan B. Anthony Hall
Ultimately, I’ve come to the conclusion that while there is absolutely no problem with befriending those that live near by (I’ve met some pretty fantastic people right across the hall), freshmen shouldn’t be afraid of venturing outside their comfort zone, defying the supposed feud, and making friends with people that live on the other side of campus.
The great majority of freshmen do not choose where they live, and with a 60%:40% ratio between Sue B. and The Quad, there is a pretty even chance that most freshmen could have ended up in the opposite housing location (which makes the theory that you can tell the difference between Quad and Sue B. residents kind of ridiculous). There’s nothing wrong with being loyal to where you live, but by restricting possible friendships to roughly half the class, freshmen sometimes make the mistake of allowing chance alone to determine their social prospects.
The long-standing feud between Sue B. and The Quad will probably never go away, and it probably never should (I mean, who doesn’t like a little rivalry?). Nevertheless, its important to keep in mind that this rivalry should be a friendly one. By sophomore year, housing is completely shifted and previous Sue B. inhabitants find themselves across the hall or even rooming with residents of The Quad, effectively erasing much of the division of freshmen year. But friendships with the other half of your class don’t have to be postponed until they’re living next door to you. While trudging out into the elements to spend time with people in Sue B. isn’t always as appealing as going down one flight of stairs in the warm confines of Gilbert, it’s never prevented me from favoring one group over the other. Friendships with the other dorm—much like friendships in general—require a little work. But as someone who’s experienced in friendships both near and far, I’ve certainly found them both worth the effort.
For more on housing, take a look at our housing page.