Corbin Ellery ’77, Swarthmore’s Director of Edifice Erection, unveiled the blueprints of a new dormitory early this week. The dorm was designed in response to a growing need for housing on the Swarthmore campus. “This year, [the Housing Committee] had to put a large proportion of students in emergency triples, converted lounges and so on,” said Residential Assistant Andromeda Williamson ’09. “It’s really affecting quality of life, and even after the addition of David Kemp, we’ll be facing some major housing challenges next year.” Thankfully, students won’t have to wait too much longer; construction on the newest dorm is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2009, made possible by a timely and extremely generous donation from Erasmus Yi ’84.
The new dorm, Lucy Burns Hall, will be named for a colleague and friend of American suffragist leader Alice Paul. “We were very concerned when we heard students using the name ‘New Dorm’ with reference to Alice Paul Hall,” said Ellery. “As a consequence, the value of Paul’s legacy has been heavily suppressed on campus. By honoring her confederate, Lucy Burns, we hope to once again emphasize the importance of Paul’s civil rights efforts.” Does Ellery foresee any playful nicknames for Lucy Burns Hall? “Don’t even think about calling this building ‘New New New Dorm,’” he responded emphatically. “We will continue naming dormitories after Alice Paul’s associates until these inappropriate nicknames die out.”
The most surprising aspect of Swarthmore’s latest building project is its location: Lucy Burns Hall will be erected on the outskirts of Media, three miles from the center of the Swarthmore campus. “We’ve actually had a number of complaints about the close proximity of the existing dorms,” said Sabina Buckworth, Head of the Housing Committee. “For Swatties seeking silence and isolated housing situations, even ML [a 15-minute walk from the center of campus] is too close for comfort. Our students are among the most withdrawn in the nation, and we owe it to them to accommodate their unique pyschological needs.” A student-operated shuttle line, much like the ML shuttle, will take Lucy Burns residents home in the evenings; these students will also receive SEPTA passes so they can take the Regional Rail to and from campus at a minimal cost. And what about dining? “Media has some great restaurants,” noted Ellery. “There is also a Wawa near the construction site, and we are hoping to work something out so students can use their meal points there.”