What’s that smell? Nothing. It’s Lights.

Simon Bloch ’17 and Ian Grant ’17 are living together for the first time this year. While they have many activities and interests in common, their first team effort as roommates was buying their rocking chair. After an early morning trip to Goodwill, the two of them struggled to carry the rocking chair along with a mirror back to campus when an elderly pair of strangers insisted on giving them a ride.


Bloch and Grant share one of the coveted lofts that the Alice Paul dormitory is known for. Bloch and Grant sleep and get dressed at the top of the stairs, and use the bottom floor for socializing and studying. While the top floor is home to occasional clutter, the bottom floor stays relatively neat.  Their stairwell is adorned with lights that change colors, and a vintage couch and rocking chair make the first level of the room a hangout space for everything from music to movie screenings.


As Bloch recalled that morning, he was thankful that the elderly couple had given him and Grant a ride. “We were carrying it [the rocking chair] by hand along with a mirror, and we were struggling because we’re small boys.”


While the couch is Bloch’s favorite object in the dorm room, Grant is particularly attached to the movie projector, which projects films onto the window shade. “We actually never watch movies together for some reason, but the movie projector was actually the reason I wanted to get this room in the first place. When I saw I had a good lottery number and also extra money, I was like ‘we could make a theatre,’ and Simon liked the loft idea,” Grant said.


Bloch and Grant are well suited to be roommates. They have similar styles and have gotten along all year. They spend most of their time in the room chatting and listening to music.

“We like to talk about movies together, and we make each other laugh a lot. We feel comfortable around each other without too many clothes on. We like to dance, we like similar music, and we like to challenge each other in different ways,” said Bloch.


It is clear that music has a large presence in the room, both from the four noise complaints that Bloch boasted of as well as the vinyl records that line the wall by the steps. Bloch explained that most of the albums were a gift from a friend, but his favorite album, by Count Basie, was one he bought at a record store in Florida.


The two also enjoy playing chess when they have free time together. Recently, because of the warm weather, they have been playing outdoors on the balcony, but they usually play in the room. Both of the roommates agree that the string lights on the steps enhance the chess playing experience. A small remote control sits on the dresser and provides the option of changing the lights to twenty different colors. Bloch enjoys changing the colors to fit the mood of the activity.


“We play chess with the lights. At the end of the night? Some relaxing music and lights. Perhaps a nice purple or a funky green,” Bloch said smiling, “What’s that smell? Nothing. It’s lights,” he joked.


Grant also enjoys being Bloch’s roommate. “We indulge each other’s weirdnesses for sure, and we know each other well by now. We tend to enjoy the same things. Chess is the current one.”


While the lights were not Grant’s idea, he believes that they are one of the room’s most noticeable features.


“The lights were really Simon’s thing. His friend had some, and he really wanted the color-changing kind, so he ordered them,” Grant explained. “The funny thing about them is that you can see our room from all the way across campus as a glowing box of whatever color.”


While pleased with the room, both Bloch and Grant were quick to acknowledge the downsides of the room. Bloch was bothered by the fact that to get from his bed to the AP lounge he has to go down an extra flight of stairs, and Grant had some regrets as well.


“Well,” Grant began. “One: that I don’t have my own room, and two: I feel like we’ve never had time to get our shit together enough to actually decorate it to its full potential. And three: it usually smells weird.”


Bloch and Grant have warm feelings toward their room overall, as a space for friendship and appreciation of art and culture. It is a space they both feel passionate about and regret not having the chance to explore more. Bloch added that the room is open to whomever would like to get to know him and Grant.


“The room has potential, and Ian and I are only scratching the surface,” Bloch said, and Grant nodded. “If people are trying to dance or just chat or watch something, please roll through and have a nice time. Our doors are open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as well as every Sunday from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.”

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