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Dividing the Hill

Campus | February 18, 2014

There are two sides of the Hill: there’s uphill, and there’s downhill. While this may seem like an obvious, unloaded observation, a myth of two distinct cultures and communities seems to exist.

Any kind of “rivalry” between uphill and downhill dwellers seems to be mainly based on Carmichael or Dewick preference and is merely playful. Regardless, it can be difficult, especially as a newcomer, to meet students living on the other side of campus. Your first semester is a time for establishing a group of close friends, whether that’s in your hall, in your pre-orientation group, or on your team. When second semester comes around, meeting people on the other side of the Hill—oh so far away—can seem daunting.

So, how are the differences between uphill and downhill perpetuated beyond social divisions? How much truth is there in the idea that uphill and downhill residents are actually divided by Pro Row?

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FOOD:

“So much of uphill and downhill culture stems from each side’s respective dining hall: Dewick is the nightclub you hit up to see and be seen, Carm is the family kitchen table where you can show up in your pajamas and spend six hours pretending to do sociology reading while binging on Nutella,” said Freshman Blaine Dzwoncyzk.

The banter about Carm or Dewick is a topic that never dies. What Dewick lacks compared to Carm’s exciting stir-fry and fondue nights, it makes up for in a generally more varied selection of food. However, what exactly are we debating? Is the debate over Carm or Dewick really about the food and ambience? Or is it more about convenience? After a long night of studying, do you really want to make the trek up to Carm for a bowl of chicken teriyaki stir-fry, or stick with Dewick Thanksgiving? Students can get too comfortable in their home territory, which contributes to the divide.

DORMS:

Freshman Oliver Gonzalez-Yoakum said, “I could imagine living uphill and I’m sure I’d be just fine, but downhill just divides work and play.” On the other hand, after living uphill for her freshman year, Stephanie Kim comments, “My heart will always be uphill.”

Freshman Blaine Dzwoncyzk said that the uphill/downhill scheme could be beneficial as it creates smaller communities within a larger campus. She wonders if she’s “missing out” on other students across campus but acknowledges that her Houston Hall community is strong.

“There’s something valuable about the smaller communities that the division helps create. Dividing the campus in this way makes it easier for first-years to get to know people well and I feel like part of a more intimate community, even if it’s just Houston neighbors or breakfast regulars at Carm,” Dzwoncyzk said.

Freshman and Lewis resident Rose Banks added that she doesn’t think that the campus is sectionalized or deeply divided into two territories. She, along with many other people, travels up and down the Hill to see people in various dorms.

“People from uphill spend plenty of time downhill and vice versa, and my friends and I just tease each other about which is better. I definitely don’t think we’re all that divided. Granted, people are going to hang out more around where they live just because of convenience, but I don’t think where you live divides you from the other side of campus,” Banks said.

Junior Lauren Taylor lived in Hodgdon her freshman year and Carmichael her sophomore year, so she has had a taste of both uphill and downhill life. She notes that some students are very adamant about uphill or downhill life, while she herself may not be.

“I can certainly say that both dorms were perfect in terms of proximity to food, but making the trek uphill for 8:05 a.m. classes was not too fun. While some people certainly have strong preferences for uphill or downhill, I personally enjoyed having the opportunity to live on both parts of campus,” she said.

So, as the discussion for housing for the upcoming year rolls along, people begin to question or solidify where their hearts lie on the Hill.

 

HOTSPOTS:

  • Dewick: The place to be.
  • Crafts Center: For your last-minute Halloween costume.
  • Campus Center: The cornerstone of campus living.
  • Davis Square: A taste of Boston.
  • Hodgdon: A strange selection, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Tisch: Your worst and best friend during finals.
  • Ginn Library: For the sophisticated (just don’t annoy the Fletcher students).
  • Academic Quad: Snow or sunshine, always a scene.
  • Carm: Calm, cool, and collected.
  • Mail Services: Why can’t we just ship to our dorms?.

THE TREK:

Both lifestyles, without a doubt, involve a lot of walking. Every day, downhill students must walk up to the academic quad for classes, venturing out of their homelands for hours at a time. At the same time, uphill students must wander down if they need to go to an engineering or psychology class, or if they want to grab a coffee at the Rez.

“Walking up and down the Hill with all my guitars makes me feel like a track star. Sometimes it feels like I’m on tour and I need roadies with how much I travel,” comments Freshman Conor Hearn, who frequently travels between his dorm at Hill Hall and Aidekman Arts Center for numerous musical ventures.

Some lucky students avoid the trek altogether. “I have a car,” says Junior Emily Rennert.

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So, does the divide ultimately make our campus better? Or worse?

With Tufts separating our campus—and two different dining halls as anchors—it’s a question of whether or not we accept the separation. And—if we do—is that such a bad thing? While we may be diehard loyalists to the “uphill” or “downhill” cause, we all eventually have to face the Hill.