Party like it’s freshman year: All the things I miss being able to do on the South 40

| Editor-in-Chief

Living on the South 40 for my first two years at Washington University was pretty nice. I liked going through the Underpass everyday and reading about a bunch of different things happening on campus. I liked that I could walk to the Danforth University Center in six minutes even though I lived in one of the furthest dorms for both years (thanks, Office of Residential Life!). But even though I liked living on the South 40, I can’t help but feel like I never quite took full advantage of the location.

Disclaimer: I’ve really enjoyed living in the Village as a junior. There’s definitely something to be said for being able to get to Seigle Hall in literally two minutes. But there’s also something about the South 40 that feels like Disney World, whereas the Village is exactly what I pictured a college dorm looking like before I ever actually set foot on a campus.

Students purchase food from Cherry Tree, located in Bear’s Den on the South 40. Bear’s Den, the largest eatery on campus, is located within close proximity to freshmen and sophomores.Adam Tarshis | Student Life

Students purchase food from Cherry Tree, located in Bear’s Den on the South 40. Bear’s Den,
the largest eatery on campus, is located within close proximity to freshmen and sophomores.

That said, here are some things you can do on the South 40 that I sort of miss being able to do.

Frequent Bear’s Den

I’m going to say it: I started to get sick of Bear’s Den at the beginning of sophomore year. Yes, some people absolutely love the place, but all of a sudden I found myself sick of every meal offered, including the rotating specials in the world fusion station. What bothered me even more was that I couldn’t just saunter over to pick up a quick snack without being accosted by every person I’d met since Summer Orientation Advisement Registration. There’s also a lot of noise in Bear’s Den at all times (have you heard the six songs that play on repeat over and over again?), and I appreciate some peace and quiet alongside my salad. Anyway, I tried to avoid the place as much as possible last year (by eating a lot of meals at the DUC or in the Village or off campus or literally just anywhere else). But now, I sort of miss Bear’s Den. There’s something so comforting about knowing a massive eatery sits within near walking distance of your residence, where you can purchase anything with the swipe of a pre-paid card. Also, Cherry Tree is significantly better than any other cafe-like area on campus. There are so many more dessert options available!

Attend events on the Swamp

I’ll be honest—even though I lived in Danforth House freshman year and was mere steps from WUStock, I sort of just complained from my dorm about how noisy it was, went outside for 10 minutes, proclaimed the Swamp “dead” and headed home. And the same thing happened with pretty much every Greek philanthropy event that happened during my first two years at the University. But last year, I made an actual effort to go to WUStock, and I actually had a pretty fun time. And this year, I’ve trekked out to a couple of Greek philanthropy events and—actually, those were still pretty terrible. The Greek philanthropy system is in need of some reform.

Play basketball

It seems like there are always (always!) people playing basketball outside on the South 40 even if the weather is awful. I haven’t played basketball since senior year gym class, when one of my classmates was mortified after I beat him one-on-one (For context, I quit soccer in fourth grade and haven’t really done the whole “organized team sports” thing since then, so he was embarrassed because of my lack of athleticism rather than because he lost to a girl). But yeah, even though I hate basketball, I’m apparently I’m not that bad at it. I should have taken up pickup basketball while I was still living on the South 40. Or, perhaps better, I could have adopted a golden retriever and attempted to recreate “Air Bud” because that film is a true classic.

Use the Estrogym

The Estrogym, er—the South 40 Fitness Center—is actually the least intimidating workout environment that’s ever been designed. There’s not enough space for even the most navigationally challenged person (that’s me) to get lost. There’s also an excess of cardio equipment, and there’s almost always a treadmill or elliptical available. For someone who doesn’t really understand how more complicated athletic equipment works, this is a godsend. If you can find a place more well-suited to a 30-minute trek on the stair climber, let me know, and I’ll pick up a gym membership ASAP.

Throw a dorm party

I went to one dorm party on the South 40. Let me set the scene for you. It was August of freshman year. I knew no one and knew nothing. I went to some lame dorm party where a bunch of people were sitting on a couch drinking beer and then left after five minutes. End scene.