Old and new friendships reside in a boys quad in Wharton EF2. First-year roommates Frank Wu, Salman Safir, Bryan Green and Craig Earley have created a multifunctional space that houses memories, fosters friendships and allows homework to be done. Aside from the beautiful view of Wharton’s courtyard, the dorm’s location is noted as one of the major benefits of living there. “It is close to everything,” Earley explained, and while the occasional mouse has invaded the dorm, the engaging hall life in Wharton definitely makes up for it. From birthday parties to study breaks, the overall atmosphere “is very nice,” Earley said. “We [also] have the best RA,” Wu added. “Seth [Udelson ’13] treats us like adults. He is just another great friend that is always here for us.”
Wu and Safir share the double in the quad. Safir’s bed is parallel to, and lies against the back of the room where three large windows are located. Wu’s bed is perpendicular to Safir’s and is directly adjacent to the end of his bed. With each other’s desks and dressers at opposite corners the center of the room is left open, creating a very large space. The set-up is relatively new, Wu explained. Up until fall break the room was more “symmetrical … the typical college room.”
Not everyone was happy with the change though; Safir noted that “some friends begged us to change it back.” Safir and Wu explained that their room has become an open gathering space for the hall. “We try to keep our door open,” Wu said, allowing their friends to come study, hang out, or even nap on their beds. The only negative consequence of this arrangement has been the array of items left behind on an everyday basis. This led them to create a ‘Lost & Found’ area. “We have a spoon there right now,” Wu said, but shoes, phones, socks and even soy sauce have been seen there.
This interesting room dynamic would have been impossible if all of the roommates had not gotten along. “The four of us have matching personalities,” Wu said. There have been no problems yet, “except for Salman’s alarm clock,” Earley added jokingly. “He sets about ten alarms in the morning but none ever get turned off.”
Earley occupies one of the singles and likes that they allow him to be as social as he wants to, while also allowing him to be “really productive.” Although his room might seem small to most, Earley argued there is plenty of room for all that he needs, including his books. “I love to read,” he asserted. He has a “wall of important things” that holds important Swarthmore phone numbers, a white board, and random notes from friends including two abstract origami pieces. “These are origami donkeys that my friends started,” Earley explained. “They were not able to complete them, but I love them anyway.”
For Green, the best thing about having a single is that “you can be alone for long periods of time.” Green noted that he and Safir are currently working on a chemistry paper together and that it is very “convenient that he is right outside.” Green’s room is adorned by empty plastic bottles lining his windowsill, on his desk, and the floor. “I leave trash in this corner” he said, pointing to the area behind his door. The pile is composed of cardboard and paper along with a few wrappers. Green did not say why he clings to any of this “trash” or the bottles instead of disposing them, so it shall remain a mystery.
Meanwhile, Safir decorated his part of the room with objects that take him back to Ohio, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, places that are “part of who I am” he said. He has a Cleveland Indian baseball cap, a football program designed by a friend for his high school, a Green Bay Packers teddy bear called Jamal given to him by his sister and a high school graduation picture of his two best friends from Oklahoma, Wade and Leah. “I miss [my friends] very much. That is why I keep these mementos,” Safir explained. He does have a large cheesehead hat and a Batman mask that are simply “fun to mess with” and of course Febreze to ensure the room remains “smelling fresh at all times … a good idea since we’re all boys.”
Wu sticks to photographs he has hanged near his bed. They depict “memories from senior year” Wu said. “It can be hard to stay in touch with friends after high school” he explained, which is why he and his closest friends made a pact to not let that happen. Despite missing old friendships like Safir, Wu has been able to form new ones with his roommates and hall mates. As a new member of Swat’s Rhythm n Motion, Wu has also gained new friendships there.
The most notable aspect of their room is probably the “wall of memories” and speaks of the roommates’ value for friendship. Near the ceiling on the left wall is a large collage of photographs showing silly faces, gentle teasing, genuine laughter and companionship. The plan is to continually add pictures throughout the year until it goes around the room. “Like a timeline,” Safir explained.