Archive for July, 2006

Maintaining some South Bend on the South 40: How to be a true WU sports fan

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Scott Kaufman-Ross

When you walk through North Carolina’s main campus in Chapel Hill, or down the drag in the University of Texas’s home city of Austin, you will notice a sense of conformity in collegiate apparel. One would be hard pressed to find anything other than Tar Heel blue or burnt orange in their travels to those two cities. At Wash. U. things are a bit different. Of course everyone cheers for the Bears and gets excited when one of the teams makes a run at yet another D-III title, but at Wash. U., we don’t have to let go of our roots. In other words, we don’t have to abandon our previous college loyalties. And, believe me, there is something to be said for that.

Going to camp in Blacksburg, Va. I grew up a die hard Virginia Tech fan. I lived through the Michael Vick era, as well as the Jim Druckenmiller era as passionately as anyone in southwest Virginia did. Making my college choice as an avid sports fan was difficult. How could I ever give up the opportunity to be a part of big time college sports? Simple. I would never give up my roots. No matter where I decided to go-Michigan, Notre Dame, even Miami or UVA-my Hokie fanaticism would never have wavered.

Every Saturday in Ann Arbor, every student files into the big house or around their TVs to cheer for the maze and blue. Even if a person hails from East Lansing (home of rival Michigan State), everyone will be cheering for the Big Blue. That’s great, but you lose the competitiveness of rooting against your friends. There is no better feeling than sitting with your best friend, watching your team annihilate his team, and then throwing in it his face. You lose that at a big time sports school, as everyone morphs into the same fan. Not here, though. Here we stick to our roots.

Every Saturday in Clayton, a number of different games can be seen. When Michigan and Notre Dame face off, people wearing different jerseys sit on the same couch cheering against each other. At Wash. U., a school without major college sports, it’s very easy to keep your loyalties while also cheering for the Bears. At other schools it’s not an option. You shed your ties, or become ostracized. And shedding your ties is much more difficult for some than others.

“I can’t imagine rooting against UF ever, ” said junior Scott Stern of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. told me. “If I went to somewhere like Miami and they played UF, I never would have been able to root against the Gators, no matter how much everyone hated me for it.”

Neither could I. No matter where I went in the country, if they played Virginia Tech I would be sporting my two sizes too small, four-year old number seven Virginia Tech jersey. A Division III school gives you a unique opportunity to root for your own school, but maintain your D-I roots. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Fighting off the “freshman 15:” a guide to where to work out

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Carrie Jarka

Even before you step foot on campus, advice will be thrown at you from every angle. Those “How to Get into College” magazines will analyze everything from academics to campus food (both of which, incidentally, are good at Wash. U.). But one area that is rarely discussed is how to avoid the “Freshmen Fifteen.” You may have the best self-control in the world now, but you have yet to taste Bear’s Den chicken fingers or buffalo chicken sandwich. If you are not planning on playing a varsity sport at Wash. U., keeping the freshmen fifteen monkey off your back will require a little time. But fear not! Washington University offers more than just academics!

Many students take refuge at the South 40 Fitness Center in the upstairs of the Wohl center-nearly 400 students buy class passes. If you haven’t already, check the little box on your housing information sheet saying you would like to join the South 40 Fitness Center for the entire year. In addition to the free weights, treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines, and circuit machines, the Fitness Center offers approximately 20 programs each semester to help you elude any excess weight. These programs are taught by professionally certified instructors and include personal training, aerobic, dance, mind and body, combination, strength and toning workouts. In addition to the classes offered at the Athletic Complex, the chances to stay active are quite ample.

“We are trying to instill a more active and healthy lifestyle in the WU community,” said program coordinator Martha Tillman. For more information about the South 40 Fitness Center, contact Tillman at 935-5023 or email [email protected]. The classes discussed below are offered at either the South 40 Fitness Center or the Athletic Complex, check out for more information on class times and locations.

Personal Training

With either a staff trainer or a certified master trainer, you can schedule individual, partner, or group (up to five) workout sessions. Providing the full range of services, these trainers can help design a personal workout regimen, set fitness and weight loss goals, and design workouts for specific sports. In addition, they provide daily motivation or an occasional pep talk after a hard week. Personal trainers are more expensive than drop-in classes with sessions ranging from $25 with a staff trainer to $50 with a master trainer, but they are a great way to keep your motivation up and the freshmen fifteen down.

Aerobic Workouts

If personal training is a little pricey, drop-in classes are the way to go. Individual classes cost only $5 and an unlimited pass for the school year is only $70. The Fitness Center offers kickboxing, spinnin’ (is it really titled this way), and step-n-box classes each weekday evening. Kickboxing involves high-energy cardio and boxing moves for 45 minutes of kicking ass. Spinnin’ meets at the Athletic Complex and incorporates fun music mixes into biking hills and sprints as cued by the instructor. It is a great choice for people of all abilities as an individual can tailor the workout to its particular needs. Step-n-box classes combine traditional step aerobics with kickboxing.

Dance Workouts

If you want cardio but biking or kickboxing isn’t for you, dance workouts are a great alternative. Belly dancing and hip-hop classes are very popular high intensity workouts for all dance abilities. The Latin Shine dance class teaches basic salsa patterns, flexibility, and dance combinations. Lastly, ballet classes work on agility and grace through stretching and poses.

Mind and Body Workouts

As the name implies, mind and body workouts include yoga and a more advanced fit yoga. The basic yoga class is one of the most popular classes. It involves breathing techniques and stretching aimed at enhancing flexibility, strength, and relaxation. If you have yoga experience, the fit yoga class incorporates pranayama and basic asanas into a more active workout. And for the exceptionally busy student, lunchtime yoga classes are offered at the Athletic Complex. These 40-minute workouts are a great way to limit stress before or after classes

Strength and Toning Workouts

The strength and toning workout classes are perfect for problem areas. Ab lab is one of the most popular classes. While it is only 20 minutes, it focuses on abdominals and lower back and can be added to other classes for a complete body workout. H.A.B.I.T. stands for hips, arms/abs, back/buns, and incredible thighs. As the name implies, this class strengthens and tones all the major muscle groups while improving flexibility. Also offered is mat pilates, for which you need previous pilates experience or must take an introductory pilates class (offered throughout the semester) before you can attend.

Combination Workouts

For the more ambitious, many of the previously described workouts can be combined into larger workout sessions. After 20 minutes of Spinnin’, core conditioning focuses on the abdominals and lower back. The class named ‘Stretch and Sculpt’ lasts only 40 minutes but includes upper and lower body exercises followed by full body stretching to soothe the muscles.

The fastest way to get in shape is the total body pump that combines cardio and muscle toning into one workout session. Last but not least, the Super Saturday class is a 90-minute complete workout. Twenty minutes of “butts and guts” is followed by at least 40 minutes of cardio and finished with 20 minutes of ab lab. It’s a great way to wake up and feel refreshed after a long week and prepare for the weekend.

If all this talk about workouts, lifting weights, and cardio is pushing you closer to the Snickers ice cream bar, then you will be happy to know that the Fitness Center also offers massages. Licensed therapists provide 30 or 60-minute sessions for $20 or $40 respectively. These can be perfect for relieving stress and muscle tension.

Knowing how to avoid the freshmen fifteen means one less thing to worry about before starting college. Funnel some of the academic motivation into a belly dancing or spinnin’ class. Classes are great ways to meet new people and keep in shape without joining a private gym. During the first week of school, all fitness classes are free.

“The classes usually fill up that week,” said Tillman. “If the student doesn’t make it to classes during free week, they are welcome to ask a staff member or come in and talk with me about the classes. 98 percent of the classes are geared towards all levels as the instructors try to accommodate the beginner or intermediates in each class.”

If you have time during the chaos of the beginning of school, check out their fall classes during orientation. Otherwise, a few closing words of advice: don’t try the buffalo chicken sandwich.

Ball games, beers, and the bars at which to enjoy them

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Brad Nelson

A group of kids was once spotted tailgating in the Athletic Center parking lot before a Bears basketball game. But that was it. Students will pre-game, but never tailgate before any University event of any kind, including sports.

It should come as no surprise to incoming freshmen that Washington University isn’t exactly an athletic powerhouse. After all, we play in the University Athletic Association, Division III’s answer to the Ivy League. And it should also come as no surprise that students don’t flock to every home football game, despite the bribes of free pizza and raffles to win miniature iPods.

What should the college sports fan do? First, realize you won’t be spending the next four years of your life destroying your liver before and after every home game. Second, if you don’t already have one, find a team and cheer for it. And third, create your own game day experience.

To do that, we suggest spending your Saturday afternoon in one of St. Louis’s many fine sports bars. We’ve listed some of our favorites below.

Plush Pig BBQ
7814 Forsyth

Full disclosure here – Plush Pig isn’t a sports bar and we’ve never tried to drink there. If you’re looking for big screens and leather couches, this is the wrong place for you. As if the name didn’t give it away, Plush Pig is best known around Clayton for its reasonably priced barbecue sandwiches, which taste like they’re homemade, except unlike most home cooking, they’re actually delicious. The cheap wooden floorboards and patio furniture give Plush Pig the feel of a country smorgasbord. Another downside: there are only two televisions in the joint. Make sure you don’t go there for the Saturday night games, because Plush Pig closes at 8 p.m.

Mike Duffy’s
6662 Clayton Road
Richmond Heights

Duffy’s is considered to be a great place to take a study break midweek. Tuesday is especially popular, when upperclassmen pack the place for karaoke night and cheap pitchers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go on Saturday. If you can get over the tacky interior – which looks like it was the inspiration for just about every TGI Friday’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, and every other lame chain restaurant in the country – you’ll find this a great place to eat some cheap pub grub and take in a football game being played by the big-name school you wished you had attended.

15 N. Meremac Avenue

You won’t find too many college kids here. In fact, when a few friends and I went to Barrister’s for dinner Saturday night, we were surrounded by poorly-dressed, slick-haired schmucks who had no business getting with the tight-stomached, faux blonde beauties who sat across from them (but if they’re offering you a free meal, why not take it?). All ranting aside, this place managed to combine upscale dining with a casual atmosphere in a way few others can. The walls are lined with soccer jerseys and the televisions were showing the British Premier League football-or as we call it soccer-games. The food, which runs the gamut from chops to seafood to Italian, is good, but will cost you a few more shekels than the other places on the list. They have a varied selection of beers, from big time beers such as Blue Moon to the full array of Schlafly microbrews. Barrister’s has a live cover band play on Saturday nights. They’re not very good, but their mediocrity is good for a few laughs- although I must admit we were pretty annoyed when they refused to play “Freebird.”

Tom’s Bar and Grille
20 South Euclid
Central West End

With its exposed brick walls and creaky wooden floors, this place looks like it came straight from Boston. If you need any more proof, we even saw two, pot-bellied Irish guys having a spirited conversation over a pitcher. In fact, most of the clientele seems to be working class, only reinforcing that “Cheers” feel. The burgers and sandwiches are okay – nothing spectacular, but nothing tantalizingly mouthwatering either. The wings, however, are another story. Marinated in hot and spicy deep burgundy sauce, these wings, according to one taste tester, are some of the most “legit” he’s ever put in his mouth. On the back wall there are a bunch of televisions with ESPN always on.

J. McGraugh’s
8405 Maryland Ave.

According to its Web site, this quaint bar and tavern hosts viewing parties every Saturday during the football season for Nebraska fans (apparently, there are a lot of Cornhusker fans in Missouri). When we went there one Saturday afternoon last fall, we saw no such thing. The interior is surprisingly airy for a tavern, almost atrium-like. The soups and sandwiches are good if you’re looking for a light Saturday lunch. What we really like about this is place is that it carries ESPN U, something that apparently a lot of other bars near Clayton do not. ESPN U allows geographic transplants to view games they’d like to see but can’t because of ABC’s regional coverage. (For instance, we watched the Miami-Duke game to see a friend play on the Blue Devil’s offensive line). The wait staff is friendly and the location to school is close by. We’re not sure if the Cornhuskers had a bye week or what. Either way, it’s not a bad place to spend a Saturday afternoon with your friends.

Becoming a Bear: inside the Wash U. recruiting process

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Arden Farhi

Two overnight visits. Countless emails. Unanswered phone calls. A missed game of pick-up soccer. Finally a chance to play on the women’s soccer team.

The story sounds like a MasterCard ‘Priceless’ commercial. But for incoming freshman Becca Heymann, it was all part of her journey to landing a spot on Washington University’s women’s soccer team.

“My first impression was bad,” said Heymann. “I kept emailing and emailing and [women’s soccer coach Wendy Dillinger] never seemed to be interested.”

Heymann, who will play mid-field or forward for the Bears this fall, attributes Dillinger’s initial disinterest to geography. She hails from just outside of Boston, an area of the country that gets little attention from most Washington University coaches when it comes to recruiting simply because coaches cannot watch these players compete. More than half of the women’s soccer team is from Missouri, Illinois or Indiana.

But when Heymann decided to visit the University in October of her senior year of high school, Dillinger was quick to respond. And ever since, “she’s [Dillinger] been really great about keeping in touch,” reported Heymann, who went back for a second visit in April.

Heymann will join eleven other soccer recruits (and likely some walk-ons) who will be vying for spots on a team that went 11-7-1 (3-4 in the University Athletic Conference) last season. According to a number of current players, this will be the first year Coach Wendy Dillinger will have to make roster cuts.

While each coach takes a different approach to recruiting student-athletes, all have to hurdle the same obstacle – the admissions office. Unlike Division I schools which frequently admit athletes with less-than-qualified test scores and GPAs, the Washington University Office of Undergraduate Admissions holds athletic recruits to the same standards as non-athletes. And because of the school’s Division III affiliation, there are no athletic scholarships.

With one of the most successful programs in women’s collegiate volleyball history (at any level), Head Coach Rich Luenemann often has to compete against Division I coaches for recruits. But Luenemann starts at somewhat of a disadvantage in the recruiting game since he cannot offer any scholarship money and must find players who meet the University’s stringent academic requirements. He can offer something that other coaches cannot: a degree from a top-notch academic institution and four legitimate chances at winning a national championship.

The University presented the best combination of volleyball and academics for incoming freshman defensive specialist Jennee Montijo.

“The volleyball team is not only great [athletically], they are extremely friendly and love to have fun,” said Montijo.

Luenemann says he spends much of his day emailing, calling and writing high school students and coaches in order to identify potential recruits.

“We evaluate the academic and athletic profiles of the 1,000-plus recruits in our database,” says Luenemann. “We cull that number down to our elite recruits and then offer roster positions to 3-4 players based upon the needs we anticipate for the coming season.” With the departure of three seniors from 2005, Luenemann has restocked his roster with four freshmen and three transfers.

Luenemann also recognizes that sometimes he just gets lucky. “Many of our contacts occur when recruits take the time to fully investigate their collegiate opportunities, become intrigued by the incredible combination of academic and athletic excellence Washington University offers, and then contact us.”

In seven years at the helm of the volleyball Bears, Luenemann has guided his team to the NCAA tournament each year, reaching the Final Four four times and winning the national championship in 2003. The last time a University volleyball team missed the post-season (1988) most of this year’s recruiting class had just been born.

While football coach Larry Kindbom still faces many of the same common recruiting obstacles as other coaches, his coaching staff has at least one luxury which many other Division III football coaches do not: the ability to recruit nationally. The thirty-five football recruits reporting to training camp on Aug. 11 hail from as far away as California and Florida. A list of 1,000 potential recruits gets pared down to 200 and from that number, Kindbom and his staff scour the country in search of the best available players for the final roster.

Kindbom, who enters his 18th season guiding the Bears, says it is necessary to start with such a large pool of potential recruits in order to guarantee 30 or 35 new players each fall. Kindbom expects a roster between 100 and 105 players this season.

According to Kindbom, recruiting is about two things: communication and numbers. The longtime coach is meticulous when it comes to keeping in touch with his players – future and current. In the off-season he is in frequent contact with his players over e-mail and on the phone. At the time he was interviewed for this story, Kindbom was in the midst of composing a series of newsletters he sends to his players each year.

Besides evaluating a player’s academic and athletic prowess, Kindbom insists that an evaluation of a player’s character is equally if not more important. “Each recruit stays with a player when they visit so that we can get a sense of him as a person, not just a football player. We want good guys on this team in addition to good students and good football players.”

Indeed, many Wash U. athletes report that athletics was only one element which convinced them to come to the Danforth Campus. Said Montijo, “I loved the atmosphere of the school and the personality of the students [when I visited]. I remember I saw a group of people playing frisbee on the field late at night and I remember thinking this is the type of school I want to go to – one where people work hard but also have time for fun.”

Welcome to Bear Sports: everything you need to know

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Justin Davidson

Washington University’s athletic program has a long and rich history that has established itself as a key player in the world of Division III athletics. In 1890, the University first started its men’s athletic program, functioning independently of any conference affiliation.

In 1946, the University enacted a policy that was, at the time, completely unheard of in the world of collegiate athletics. It was in that year that Chancellor Arthur Holly Compton adopted a policy whereby no athletes would receive financial assistance in the form of scholarships or grants based solely on athletic ability. Prior to World War II, male student-athletes received specialized financial assistance for their participation in intercollegiate athletics, similar to what many Division I athletes receive today. This would eventually become the basis of all schools which competed in Division III athletics under the auspices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“We honor and cherish the history, traditions and achievements of Washington University athletics,” said current Athletic Director John Schael. “Former athletes and coaches alike were talented and displayed intelligence and vision. Champions on and off the field, they laid the foundation for others to follow in their footsteps.”

As for women, the earliest documented female varsity team played in 1909. The yearbook indicated that due to the lack of competitors on the collegiate level this team competed against various high school teams.

By 1950, women’s athletics had become such a vital part of campus life that 70 percent of the female students were members. However, for an unknown reason, the women’s intercollegiate athletic program was disbanded following the 1955 season and didn’t return for 20 years. In 1975, intercollegiate athletic programming was revived with the re-introduction of swimming, tennis and volleyball varsity teams for women. In 1977, track was added on the varsity level and basketball began in club form. By 1980, all coaches for women’s sports were employed full time by Washington University. Throughout its history, the women’s athletic program has offered the female student the opportunity to participate on different competitive levels ranging from club to intramural to varsity.

Since the mid-1970s, the Bears have competed as a member of the NCAA Division III. The University became a founding member of the University Athletic Association (UAA) in June 1986, when it joined seven other leading independent research universities (Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and University of Rochester) to compete in intercollegiate athletics at the varsity level for men and women. Brandeis University was accepted to the Association in the fall of 1987 and has been an active member since. Johns Hopkins left the UAA after the 2000-2001 school year.

“The student-athletes and coaches today, like their predecessors, are spirited, dedicated and determined to succeed,” said Schael. “Their needs are not that different from those of past generations. The success factors to achieve athletic excellence that have been part of our past history are remarkably the same for our current sports programs.”

The UAA and Division III>

Undoubtedly, the Division III level is quite different from that of major Division I universities. “In the fall of 2002 a research firm conducted focus groups to determine awareness of Washington’s successful athletics programs,” explained Schael. “One question asked, ‘How are Washington’s student-athletes perceived on campus?’ The response: ‘just like us, they take the same classes, have the same majors, are admitted on the same standards, receive the same financial packaging, graduate with their class, belong to the same organizations and share all aspects of campus life. Washington’s Division III athletics program is unique because there are no distinguishing differences between student-athletes and non-athletes.”

The eight current UAA schools compete in a single round-robin format for football (though only three member schools send teams to the gridiron), men’s and women’s soccer, and a double round-robin format in men’s and women’s basketball. For all other sports, the schools schedule league tournaments or championships at one of the eight UAA campuses, save for softball and baseball which hold unofficial league tournaments during spring break.

One of the most unusual aspects of the UAA is the geographic locations of the eight institutions. To reach the Bears’ farthest opponent, Brandeis University, the team must travel 1,141 miles from St. Louis to Waltham, Mass., and the closest opponent, the University of Chicago, is 289 miles away. With these distances, the UAA is the most geographically expansive athletic league in NCAA Division III.

“Association members exist within a cooperative atmosphere..The conference members are a cohesive group who work together within a spirit of cooperation, understanding and mutual respect..The tie that binds is the idea that the UAA exists for the benefit of student-athletes. We have not wavered on that belief,” explained Schael.

Year in and year out various teams of the UAA are nationally ranked and are competing for National Championships. As a highly competitive conference, every game against a rival UAA opponent is a crucial one for all University teams. Despite this, the Bears’ current fiercest foe is generally considered to be the Emory University Eagles. In recent years, the Atlanta school has competed with the Bears for the National Championship in a number of sports, including swimming and diving, volleyball, and tennis.

Bear SportsToday

Today, Washington University boasts one of the most successful programs in all of Division III athletics. Frequently contending for national championships in various sports, the University has displayed its prowess athletically in addition to its well-known academic success. The success of the athletic program continues to grow and many capital improvement projects have been taken up in recent years.

“We keep making progress with facility enhancements with the most recent being an artificial turf on Francis Field, press boxes for baseball and softball and on the horizon, new tennis courts,” said Schael.

Easily the team with the greatest success has been the women’s volleyball team. Along with a Division III-record eight national championships and 17 of 19 University Athletic Association titles (including 16 straight titles), the squad boasts an all-time record of 66-12 in NCAA Tournament play. The Bears’ 66 wins rank as the second most in D-III history behind Juniata College. Last season, the Lady Bears were the unanimous No. 1 ranked team in the nation for much of their fall campaign, posting a perfect 33-0 record heading into its final game of the regular season against UAA rival Emory. Despite holding an 11-0 record in conference play, the Bears lost to Emory in their final game of the season, dropping to the No. 3 ranking in the nation and losing the UAA title for the first time in seven years.

However, the women’s softball team is making a run at the volleyball team’s glory. In just seven seasons as a varsity program, the Washington University softball team has had a number of successes. Former head coach Cindy Zelinsky posted a 178-68 (.724) overall record, as the team made four NCAA Tournament appearances, and won three University Athletic Association (UAA) championships in her six years with the Bears.

The most notable highlight in the softball program’s short history was the team’s 2005 season when the squad posted a 47-3 final record. Heading into postseason play, the Bears were the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, but lost in the Midwest Regional final, slipping to No. 7 in the final national rankings. Last season, in her first season as head coach, Leticia Pineda-Boutt‚ led the Bears to a 37-7 regular season record (8-0 UAA) and a solid showing in the Midwest Regional tournament.

For the men of the football gridiron, the 1990s marked the best decade in team history (66-35) since the inception of the program in 1890. It saw the Bears post the second-highest winning percentage among four-year football playing schools in Missouri. Over that 10-year stretch, the Bears won 65 percent of its games, produced 14 All-Americans, won six University Athletic Association titles, and had eight players named UAA Player of the Year (three offense, four defense). Last season the Bears finished the season, following a tough schedule, with a 6-4 final record, while posting a 2-1 mark in UAA play.

The 2005 campaign was a season to remember for senior wide receiver Brad Duesing. The Cincinnati, Ohio product had a school-record 75 catches for 1,136 yards and 10 touchdowns. He became the second player in NCAA (Division I, II and III) history to record four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

Each and every team boasts its own uniqueness and quality of play that one will not find at many other Division III institutions. The women’s soccer, men’s tennis, men’s and women’s cross country and indoor track, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s swimming are of particular promise in the upcoming year. All have come off of winning and successful seasons, and should prove to impress the Wash. U. faithful in the next year.

“We have an atmosphere where great things can and do happen,” said Schael. “As in past years you will find your Bears to be talented and setting a goal to be the best they can be. With that being said, my crystal ball says that your Bears will be very competitive and will enjoy success during the 2006-07 sports year.”

Historical and statistical information gathered and compiled via

Roommate relations-how to share space with a stranger

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Jessica Sommer

All summer long, the members of the class of 2010 have eagerly awaited the most important letter before the start of their Wash. U. careers. There will be lucky ones and there will be unfortunate ones, but despite the hand they’re dealt, destiny has brought them together and everyone will have to learn to live with their new roommates.

Roommates are a whole new breed of people, requiring entirely new guidelines for even the simplest everyday interactions. You may have lived with other people before, but whether your prior experience hails from camp, siblings or anything in between, nothing compares to the close proximity of freshmen roommates. The beginning of freshman year can be stressful enough, so this guide to roommate etiquette is here to take at least one worry off your mind.

Privacy is a key issue in the realm of roommate relations, especially when it comes to nighttime (or daytime) coed extracurriculars. Unless you prefer an audience, try to communicate your intentions with the other resident of your room, because nobody wants to hear the sweet nothings whispered (or not quite whispered) in a lover’s ear, and, you certainly do not want those incriminating quotes repeated. While your lusty partner may make you squeal, that information is not for your roommate’s ears.

Locking the door during romantic escapades is essential, but don’t let those lustful nights keep your roommate from seeing the inside of the dorm for a full week. If you choose not to heed this warning, be careful, for you’re playing with fire to engage the wrath of anyone who has a key to your room.

Despite passionate nights, often it can be the virtual rather than physical presence of your roommate’s beloved keeping you far away from your bed. Whether you’re overhearing pillow talk or fighting words, sharing a room should not include sharing the intimate details of your roommate’s relationship via cell phone or Web cam.

While private conversations should remain confidential, certain things, such as a microwave, television and refrigerator are meant to be shared. Personal items, such as clothing, computers and toiletries, however, are usually best when used exclusively by their owner.

It is typically advisable to abide by the golden rule of asking before taking. If per chance you choose not to, make sure that your screen name isn’t left up on your roommate’s computer or that you don’t get pictured in his or her clothing-not only is it a bit obvious, but it adds insult to injury to think that it will go unnoticed when your roommate’s favorite shirt is featured in your Facebook photo.

Dorm living not only entails living with a roommate, but also with about 50 new floor-mates, all sharing common areas. Although living issues are trickier with the person who sleeps in the bed next to you, there are important guidelines to follow to ensure a happy floor community.

First and foremost is ‘floorcest’, or, in other words, dating or hooking up with other residents on your floor. At first this may seem like a great idea as you don’t even need to walk outside for a late night booty-call, but once you or your partner moves on to another playmate, jealousy rages as the former apple of your eye is seen locking a different door.

Some will love their roommate as a best friend, some will hate their roommate and many will fall somewhere in between, but in the end, the most important factor is that you can get along and live in the same space. If you feel you simply can’t, just remember that dorm rooms have thin walls, so when divulging the latest horrible thing your roommate did, wait until you’re at least four rooms down before sharing the gossip.

Disclaimer: The preceding information is a fictional account not portraying any actual person.

Romance 101: those first strides into the world of college romance

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Laura Alexander

Let me begin by welcoming to the world of college romance where you can look forward to: being sexiled by your roommate, having late-night conversations about the writing style of your favorite poet with your crush, recapping the night’s events over brunch at Center Court and even watching the beginning of relationships which might result in a wedding at Graham Chapel someday.

As the romance columnist, you might be looking to me for advice on how to catch that hot senior’s attention in your calc class or how to get the freshman girls to stop drooling over the frat guys and instead pay attention to you. I won’t be helping you out with that (yet) because the best advice I can give to you now is don’t race into romance.

That first floor meeting during orientation you’ll be looking around to see who’s attractive, who’s funny, basically who could be a quick hook-up or who could be the person you want to spend the next four years with and even beyond. When your RA’s tell you to hold hands to form the Human Knot, you’ll quickly jump up and place yourself strategically next to that certain someone so you can have a few minutes to chat as you try to untie yourselves. Not only does this bring up issues of floorcest (usually not the best idea, think about that awkward walk past their room on the way to the bathroom), but it’s just too fast. Slow down, take your time…you have the next four years to find someone.

If you jump quickly into a relationship just to have someone (and get to declare it officially on Facebook), you’ll miss out on the fun art of freshman flirtation. Think about it: you will be in a new place with no curfews, no parents and thousands of new people to meet. You will want to be able to strike up a conversation with the cutie in your chem lab, dance with whoever you want at W.I.L.D. and spend a few extra moments chatting in the laundry room with the hot guy from the third floor who you always run into at Bear’s Den. Freshman year is a perfect time to have fun and polish those flirtation skills.

Relationships take a lot of time and hard work, and believe me, getting used to life as a college student will also require both of these elements. You will be amazed how quickly you form a relationship with Olin Library. As you get adjusted, you will be spending many hours trying to figure out what the hell the professor was talking about in the lecture, reading countless pages and getting involved in the exciting extracurriculars that you read about months ago in the thousands of brochures that Wash. U. sent you. Before long, that new relationship will shift to a lower priority and then slip out of your schedule completely. Give yourself time to get college figured out first and then add a relationship into the mix.

Probably the most substantial reason to not immediately dive into a romantic relationship is because of the much more important relationships you will form-friendships. Instead of looking around at that first floor meeting for who you’d like to hook up with that night, start getting to know the people who could become the most influential part of your four-year career at Wash U.

College friendships are a completely different species than high school friendships, as you’ll soon discover. When a relationship ends, they’ll be the ones to take you out for a night on the town or bring over some wine and listen for hours as you analyze what went wrong. Romance will come and go, but those people who held your hair back as you puked after your first W.I.L.D. will always be there for you.

You will be surprised how much fun you can still have being single for awhile and just living life as a collegian. This is a year for you to enjoy and explore before the Career Center starts sending you reminders that you might want to think about how to make money after college or your advisor stops being subtle about reminding you to fulfill clusters or long-term relationships start requiring post-graduation planning discussions.

So don’t race into a relationship that will probably just be a 100-yard dash, but instead, enjoy your beginnings at Wash. U., and someday you might just find someone to run the marathon with you.

The not so necessary dorm room shopping list

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Felicia Baskin

When you’re out shopping to outfit your dorm room, everyone wants to tell you what to buy. Furniture stores, office supply stores-they all have lists of dorm room essentials. Yet, there is always something you need to buy that wasn’t on any of the lists. So, while checking off your list of mundane items-shower shoes, extra long twin sheets, waste basket-consider these less thought of, but just as necessary, items for a well-equipped freshman year.

Apple cutter: Yes, it sounds completely unnecessary, and in all reality, it is. Still, owning an apple cutter will make your life a lot easier. Apple cutters are cheap and the benefits of these slick devices are many. First of all, it is a lot easier to divide an apple into pieces with one of these bad boys than with a plastic knife from Bear’s Den. As a hidden perk, the core slides out neatly, too. Second, guillotining an apple has stress relieving qualities during cram time. One final perk of these strange tools is their ability to attract floor mates to your room. When you’re the one with the apple cutter, everyone (or at least those who eat apples) will be knocking on your door. Instant friend-maker.

Vibrating alarm clock: Alarm clocks are obviously vital dorm accessories. In fact, having multiple alarm clocks is advised, because it is highly likely that at some point in your college career you will accidentally sleep through that important class. One of your sleep disturbers should definitely be of the vibrating variety. For some models the entire clock goes under your pillow; others include vibrating disks to place under your pillow that are attached to a larger clock unit. Either way, the clocks literally shake you awake, and are amazing because they don’t beep in an annoying way that wakes up a grumpy roommate.

Flashlight: Continuing on the theme of “things that help you avoid roommate tension,” a flashlight is an incredibly useful thing to have in a dorm room. Flashlights are great for those nights when you come back to find your roommate already asleep and you need to find your homework that is due the next day. Additionally, flashlights are rather handy for late night adventures and for dramatic retellings of scary stories. For greater versatility, check out the hands-free flashlights that are worn on head bands, often found at outdoor supply stores.

Moccasins: Any form of slipper can protect your feet from the floor while you are in your dorm. Moccasins, however, have a touch of class in addition to a high comfort quotient. Perfect for those late night hall gatherings, moccasins are comfortable, warm and chic.

Boy band/ teen queen pop: Please note-this music is not to be used as background music for parties, to woo an attractive co-ed or as inspiration for that poem you have to write for EComp. Rather, this music is to be utilized to encourage floor bonding. You may come from all over the world, and from all different backgrounds, but once you turn up some *Nsync on your iTunes, differences are forgotten and spontaneous dance/song parties begin. Instantly, New Neighbor Fear syndrome goes bye, bye, bye.

Microwave safe containers: These are probably on the lists you’ve seen everywhere else, but they are nonetheless incredibly important to mention because, strangely, Residential Life doesn’t like it when students blow things up in the microwaves. Actually, there is one thing even more important to have than the containers themselves: knowledge about what is and isn’t microwaveable. Cup of noodles? Microwaveable. Oats that were supposed to become oatmeal, but you forgot to add the water? Not microwaveable.

Electric tea kettle: Having one of these in your room will save you those oh-so-long trips down to the common room microwave, and will make tea parties much more practical. These beauties heat up water in minutes, and are thus excellent for tea, hot chocolate, soup and just about anything else that says “just add water.”

Tap light: Sometimes, it’s just really hard to climb into bed. Enter the tap light, a marvelous creation that is both practical and fun to use. Tap lights often come with adhesive and can be easily attached to a bedpost or other convenient surface. At night, all you have to do to ensure that you don’t trip on piles of dirty clothes and books is gently tap the top of the light. Ta-dah! A safe path into bed is instantly revealed. Also, due to their stationary nature, it is really, really hard to lose a tap light.

Toys: Stress balls are so clich‚. But let’s face it-college is going to involve a little bit of stress. For those hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing moments, it is awfully nice to have something around that makes you happy. The solution? Invest some dough in some toys to go on your desk. Stock up on childhood favorites like Play-Doh, water games and Legos to make those cramming breaks slightly more bearable. For more active stress relief, consider investing in some dart guns for yourself and floormates. Chem lab goggles can double for protective eyewear when the dart wars get a little intense.

Of course, you also should consult some of those regular lists to make sure you have sheets, towels and all that jazz. Just don’t forget the little things that are less necessary, because it is the little things that really make your dorm room feel like a home away from home.

Life on the Loop-what to do off-campus while near campus

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Willie Mendelson

Freshmen year is all about possibilities, exciting new opportunities and the chance to explore everything that Washington University and St. Louis have to offer. Not surprisingly, Wash. U. students work extremely hard during the week. Come weekends, however, students put away their books and let loose. For many freshmen, frat row is the place to be every weekend; others take the shuttle over to the Galleria, the local mall, for shopping or a movie. Still, neither of these options may be the best for a given weekend.

So now, you may be wondering what else there is to do without a car, since, as you probably already know, freshmen are not permitted to have cars. The answer, literally, is right in Wash. U’s backyard-the Delmar Loop, or more affectionately termed, just “the Loop.” Located conveniently in University City, the Loop just a short walk of about ten minutes from campus.

Just what is the Loop? The Loop is made up of six blocks that offer a large selection of diverse restaurants, unique shops and arts and entertainment opportunities. On any given night, you can usually find the same guy who plays the piano right in front of the old theater or you can stroll along checking out the eclectic array of specialty shops. Just walking around the Loops is a treat. Check out your feet and notice the abundance of stars and plaques describing famous St. Louis citizens that make up the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Looking for some new CD’s or just want to catch a flick? Have no fear, because you can find everything for your entertainment needs at the Loop. A Blockbuster is located right across the street from Coldstone Creamery and you can then head over to Vintage Vinyl, well-known for its large selection of new and used CDs, records and hard-to-find music. Farther down Delmar is the Tivoli. The Tivoli Theatre, originally constructed in 1924 and fully restored to match its original appearance, features foreign and independent films.

In addition to entertainment needs, the Loop also has a variety of offbeat clothing and thrift stores, offering cool, unique clothes for low prices. Best known is Rag-o-Rama, which has a wide selection of fun and funky clothing and is also an excellent place to go for a Halloween costume.

The Loop also features many eclectic restaurants, including some award-winning cuisines. One famous restaurant, and the first one you will see as you walk into the Loop, is Blueberry Hill-none other than Chuck Berry’s own restaurant. Featuring live music from many well-known artists, this is the perfect place to go for a delicious burger and a good time. Fitz’s is another good restaurant that is known by St. Louis citizens, and Wash. U. students in particular, for their delicious, homemade root beer. The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant that offers a lively atmosphere, is another highlight. This is definitely a good place to go for a night of fun or a romantic outing, though a pricey one. The Loop is particularly known for its delicious Thai cuisine which pops up in numerous locations along the Loop. After dinner, be sure to grab some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s or Coldstone Creamery, or if you’re craving some bubble tea, check out the St. Louis Bubble Tea Co.

For music, you need only walk along the Loop to catch the sounds of St. Louis. Often there are street musicians and many restaurants feature live music on the weekends, including Brandt’s and its Red Carpet Lounge, as well as the Red Sea, which features alternative music, reggae and blues. For more of a concert setting, the Pageant is an intimate nightclub-style venue that features concerts from a wide range of artists.

The real attraction of the Loop, however, is its vibrant atmosphere. In such an exciting, stimulating atmosphere, it’s truly no wonder why each weekend Wash. U. students and St. Louis citizens alike flock to the Loop. So the next time you’re stumped as to what you should do on a weekend night, grab some friends and head on down to the Loop, where there’s always something to do.

Transforming the dorm: making the most of your personal shoebox

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 | Indu Chandrasekhar

It’s pretty safe to say that most of Washington University’s incoming freshmen enjoyed full rein over their rooms at home. And I can state with confidence that a room for one at home is a few square feet larger than the room waiting for two or three in Wash. U.’s dormitories. For some of you freshman this sacrifice of personal space might be what you loathe and fear the most. I, for one, missed my closet severely.

Like all things college-related, adjusting to your room size and limited space is easy if you have the right attitude and some creative ideas. In my extensive travels through the South 40 dorms, I have witnessed organizing and decorating schemes that range from convenient and cute to truly outrageous, and I will share all of what I learned with you.

University dormitories, no matter their appearance, age or location, are all essentially the same. Each student gets a closet, bed, dresser (traditional dorms) or bookshelves (newer dorms only), desk, chair and wall-mounted shelves (traditional dorms only). There are quite a few ways to arrange these humble objects, even in single-occupant rooms, depending on which wall the bed rests.

In a common Wash. U. dorm room, there are three main places of large-scale storage: under the bed, on the desk and above the closet. The most commonly used space is where those monsters once lurked (never fear, there are only dust bunnies under Wash. U. beds). If you are willing to set the mattress frame of your bed to the highest rung (you can get a pretty large range in bed height), you can easily fit several rolling storage units with pull-out drawers. Even the dressers belonging to the older dormitories fit under those beds, although stashing them under the bed means losing a great place for makeup, jewelry, toiletries, pictures and the general mess.

Desks in University dorms can also be quite accommodating. They sport extra leaves on the side and back which you can prop up, adding to your desk space immensely. And if you feel these leaves are too cumbersome they can be removed to allow for that extra inch of wiggle room needed in tight quarters.

Finally, there exists an expanse of space above the closet that most students grossly under-use. Dorm chairs fit quite nicely up there, as do televisions, microwaves, stereos and extra storage units. The closet itself is expandable too: canvas shelves that Velcro onto the hanger rod can hold a multitude of clothing and clear up the shelves in your dresser.

Most students stick with the provided layout of their dorm room, experimenting only with the orientation of the desk, which can face the wall or the window, and the dresser, which fits in the closet or under the bed. Students frequently place their fridges between the two desks. While this system always works, it doesn’t stand out. Those looking for unique layouts should keep reading.

Starting with the simplest suggestions, there are two things that can instantly transform your room’s atmosphere from an echoing prison-cell into the warmth of a living room: bookshelves and potted plants. For as little as $20, you can purchase full-sized bookshelves that fit quite nicely by the dorm desk (just keep the side leaf folded down). Hardy plants are preferred as the tight quarters of a dorm room aren’t always accommodating to those needy greens.

For those of you willing to try more daring arrangements, here’s a fun fact: Wash. U. doubles are the exact length of two beds aligned head to head (in older dorms, one bed must rest partway in the closet). So, if you and your roommate decide you’d rather have an entire wall for some other large contraption, say, a ping-pong table, get ready for a lot of togetherness.

Another fun fact: the chairs provided in several new dormitories are able to rock back and forth. For the clumsy student, this means that you will be falling out of your chair quite often. You can take advantage of this chair, however, through a more convoluted scheme.

Here’s how it once worked: two young men, eager to have a larger space for their television, videos, games and music, decided to use the beds themselves as an entertainment center. They bunked the beds, removed the mattresses, placed a wooden plank on the lower bed frame, turned a bookshelf sideways and stuck it next to the TV (for all of their movies) and sentenced their mattresses to the floor, the perfect location from which to stare at a screen. The best part: when they finished their homework, they could tip backwards in their rocking chairs and land with a comfortable wumph, right onto a waiting mattress. True story.

You might decide to stick with the tried and true methods of stretching your space, or you might invent an even crazier way of organizing your space. Either way, you can always add and rearrange as the year goes by, albeit settling into a room basically locks everything tightly in place. If your roommate is willing, try something outside of the box-it doesn’t hurt to be notorious within the first week.