The Heartbreakers of Willets Hall

To its inhabitants and some select ex-habitants, Willets Hall is infamously known as a den of thieves. Its scratched plaster walls are alive with larceny. Its shady tendencies have even extended to the local wildlife, as rats prowl the dank Willets basement and nibble from abandoned snack wrappers at night. Earlier this year, residents received numerous emails — some even before they arrived on campus — about student thefts that had occurred in their soon-to-be home away from home, such as the disappearance of an EVS technician’s air fryer and the swiping of another EVS technician’s credit card. There have been no further updates to Willets residents regarding these two thefts; for all we know, these two cases remain unsolved. It’s common knowledge that stealing from such tireless workers — who are so vitally important to everyone’s well-being on campus — is shameful and completely unacceptable. According to Pennsylvania state law, credit card fraud can even land you in jail. But surely there was some great and worthy justification, like burnt french fries or Air Jordans or something. 

However, the Willets Hall residents aren’t your everyday burglars. Though some may say they steal kitchen appliances and other people’s money, one thing is for certain: they will steal your heart.

Every resident of Willets Hall is a certified catch. Throughout the past summer, the Swarthmore Housing Committee painstakingly sifted through hundreds of newly enrolled students to select the Class of 2026’s most charming and attractive students, imprisoning them in the rat dungeon to humble them a little. Because everyone in the Class of 2026 is so hot and talented, the Committee had the nearly impossible task of choosing the best of the best to cram into the all-freshman dorm, resulting in multiple understandable delays in the announcement of housing information.

At approximately 3:45 a.m. on September 12, 2022, the Willets residents were awakened — or had their homework grind interrupted — by the blaring of smoke alarms, and the students flooded into the courtyard under the large willow oak in front of the building to wait for Public Safety. There is only one possible explanation for this pre-daybreak evacuation: the Willets residents were so hot that the decrepit old dormitory couldn’t handle the fire in its heart and finally gave in.

It isn’t difficult to sympathize with the building’s internal struggle. After all, the people of Willets Hall are major snacks. Here are some of their charm points — try not to swoon.

“I once bested somebody four times my size in one-on-one combat,” said an anonymous freshman. They further explained to me as we ascended the smoky Willets south stairwell that they once beat up a fourth-grade bully as a kindergartener, and they were so puny that nobody believed the older kid when he asked for backup. This strength might have carried into college. Hopefully. So if you’re ever in need of a hero, know that there’s a Willets beefcake out there ready to swoop in and save the day.

“Each time I spot a basement rat, I am supercharged with the ability to do a triple backflip,” says Tate Garcia ’26. Garcia lives in the basement, and there are holes in the ceiling from when she has backflipped through the first floor, evidence of her powerful leg muscles and her spontaneous triple-flip mechanism. Worry not — Garcia personally repairs all the holes she makes in the basement ceiling, as she also possesses incredible carpentry skills.

Nathanael Brown ’26 calls himself a “modern day Herodotus.” Need I say more?

“I can crack my right knuckles an infinite number of times,” says Elijah Santos ’26. “And I can have five or more crushes simultaneously.” It takes a big heart to love so much and so deeply, and a man of great courage to admit to the fact. Santos once told me on a walk at night that he falls a little in love with everyone he meets, a heart-filled statement befitting the brilliant young poet. I don’t know what to make of the knuckles thing, though.

“One time, I ran so fast I wormholed to the center of the universe and spent twelve eons working my way back to Earth,” recalls Gabriel Hines ’26. “Just kind of a Willets thing though.” This is true; three other freshmen in the dormitory told me similar stories of wandering in cosmic nothingness for eternity until some higher power freed them from the chains of causality and granted them a new corporeal form. Hines was always human, though. When I asked the other three what they used to be, their eyes turned black, and I woke up on the second-floor lounge with my roommate shaking me by my shoulders, begging me to come back to her.

When asked about her unique heart palpitation-inducing talents, Mikaela Gonzalez ’26 told me, “All I can think of is my Minion impression. It is pretty fantastic if I do say so myself.” Highlights include “pobre gru” and “san panpisco,” as well as the classic “banana.” Such a vocally talented individual is hard to come by nowadays. As Gonzalez puts it, “I think [my Minion impression] speaks for Willets as a whole — a wildly talented, multi-lingual, enthusiastic group.”

So let me guess: you’re completely enamored, itching to run down to Willets and see these epitomes of beauty and talent for yourself. Well, get ready for some bitter disappointment, because they don’t have time for you.

You see, the residents of Willets Hall aren’t just thieves — they’re bona fide heartbreakers. The freshmen in the Class of 2026 came from every corner of the world to Swarthmore to chase their dreams. Exploring the various opportunities this new environment offers them little time for anything else. Whether it’s academics, athletics, or building a community after three years of school behind a screen, they’ve got enough to think about, aside from the fact that they’re all super hot. 

In other words, they’re taken. Sorry!

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