280 College St: A.k.a. “New Dorm” or “New Rand,” the newest and nicest dorm on the Bates campus features big screen TVs, multiple common rooms, along with a spacious fireplace lounge. What it lacks, though, is a real name. Hey you, rich alum, help us out here.
80s Dance: This outdoor dance serves as the unofficial kickoff to the school year. Held the second Saturday after classes start, students dress up in increasingly ridiculous and inaccurate representations of 1980s garb. Complete with a cover band, the whole school turns out for this drunk and sweaty mosh pit, which is also a hell of a good time. Here’s a PSA to all the dudes out there: Next time why don’t you cut your jorts a little longers?
A Cappella: There are five a cappella groups on campus: The Crosstones, The Deansmen, The Manic Optimists, the Merimanders, and TakeNote. There are frequent concerts throughout the year, but the hottest ticket is the Parents Weekend concert in the fall where are the groups perform together. Be sure to show up for this one.
AESOP: Not to be confused with a fable recitation club, AESOP actually stands for the Annual Entering Students Outdoor Program, which is an entirely student-run pro-orientation program for freshmen. Most first-year students who aren’t trying out for athletic teams elect to go on a four-day, three-night outdoor trip the week before classes start. Although the program is undoubtedly a staple of the Bates experience and is great for bonding and certainly memorable, by the end of the trip there is nothing you want more than to take a shower and eat something other than Nutri-Grain bars and Fried Beans.
Bardwell: This house, located right across Russell St and off campus, is always ripe for a party on the weekend…or any night of the week. Watch out for townies and traffic while crossing the busy street, though.
Basketball Games: Games are held in the middle of campus at Alumni Gym, where it has been said that this is one of the most intimidating places for an opposing team to play. The most school spirit you’ll see for any Bates athletics event will be on display here on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon, especially for games against Bowdoin and Colby. An old man who famously attends every home game for the men and women will stand up and lead cheers for the students during breaks in play by spelling out either B-A-T-E-S and B-O-B-C-A-T-S. Sometimes he misspells them, but you just have to roll with it.
Commons: There’s only one dining hall at Bates but it’s huge and if you’re on the meal plan you can have unlimited meals. That’s right, you can go in for coffee, cereal, or anything else as many times as you want during the day as long as the doors are open. Multiple dining options are available, including an expansive vegan section. I still haven’t figured out what tempeh is, though. The brick oven pizza is delicious and is almost always available barring a ten minute wait during rush hour. Don’t forget your ID or else you’ll either have to sneak in through the exit or have a friend guest-pass you in.
The Den: Formerly the late night snack bar, the Den now serves as a breakfast and lunch during the day. It’s a good place to get a cheap sandwich made for you if you are extremely lazy and don’t want to make a “free” one for yourself in Commons. There’s also comfy chairs where you can do work while you eat.
ETH: Elaine Tuttle Hansen, our fearless leader and President of the College, left after the 2010-2011 school year for greener pastures. I guess she shouldn’t even be in the ‘Cactionary anymore…
Feb./Apr. Vacation: Due to Short Term, Bates has odd vacation weeks that make no sense. A week off at the end of February and a week off after the Winter Semester ends in mid-April, you’ll be sure not to see your friends until the summer.
Frye St: Located off of College St. and the main quad, this street serves as home to many Batesies who live in the various small, Victorian houses on either side of the street. On Friday and Saturday Nights there will be swarms of fast-walking students trying to find some shelter from the cold. As one of the main social hubs of the campus, you’ll be sure to find a party somewhere. Don’t forget the 15 Minute Rule; as soon as a party starts, security will break it up within 15 minutes.
Gray Cage: The secondary gym on campus that comes complete with an annoying, slippery rubber floor also houses many intramural sports and other functions. It has served as a venue for concerts by Snoop Dogg and Lupe Fiasco as well.
Harvest Meal: An epic, yet slightly over-hyped meal that is put on by Dining Services in Commons the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Break. There’s so much food that dessert is actually served in another building. Dining Services pulls out all the stops here, but all everything they serve, save the chocolate fountain, can most likely be found at other points during the year. Get there early or go late because it is an absolute zoo if you show up at 5:00.
JB: This dorm, consisting of upperclassmen suites, is a great place to find a party on a Friday or Saturday night. It also has a reputation of housing mostly athletes. Regardless of whether or not that’s true, it’s probably not going to be the quietest dorm.
Ladd: Ladd Library is the main library on campus and is one of the go-to places for studying and cramming. The higher you go, the quieter it gets, so if you have the sniffles or like to talk, don’t you dare go to the third floor or you’ll get enough dirty stares to last a lifetime. When approaching Ladd from the outside, you wonder who designed such an ugly building. Supposedly, it is supposed to look like the profile of a Bobcat while looking from the side, but in reality it just looks like an architect was designing the building using a seismograph. With limited computer space, the library is on my short list of buildings to be replaced at Bates.
Late Night Breakfast: During finals week and Winter Carnival, Commons opens up once for a late night food fest full of French toast, eggs, bacon, and huge omelets. It’s a great study break but get there early or you’ll have to wait in massive lines.
Milt’s: The only place on campus to buy food late at night. On Friday and Saturday nights, most of the drunk student population converges on this bar in the Commons building to satisfy their need for greasy foods like mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, and the ole’ classic, the Bates Burger.
Oak & Elm: an off-campus house located at, you guess it, Oak St. & Elm Street. Underage drinkers have been known to come back to campus with a court summons.
Omelet Day: The only certain things in life are death and taxes and omlets on Tuesday and Thursday morning. You can always count on Brad to make you a satisfying treat before that three-hour seminar later in the day.
Outing Club: Founded in 1920, the BOC is one of the oldest in the country. Sign up for constant emails about any kind of outdoor trip you can image. Maine is the ideal place to come for anyone who is remotely outdoorsy and the BOC will have all kinds of opportunities for you to take advantage of the woods and also the snow.
The Palace: An off-campus house near the end of Frye Street. It usually becomes really crowded once word is out that there is a party there.
Page: Home of the Page Rage, this dorm houses mostly first-years in doubles. It’s across the puddle from Commons, so expect to be near frozen by the time you reach any destination.
Parker: Centrally located on the main quad and one of the original buildings on campus, this dorm houses mostly first-year students in doubles, like Page. There tends to be a pretty good social scene here.
PGill: Built in 1999, Pettengill Hall houses almost all the departments of the humanities at Bates. The Perry Atrium on the first floor has an amazing view of Lake Andrews with wrap around windows and natural light. It’s an ideal place for studying or snoozing at any time of the day or night. During finals week, every chair and every classroom will be occupied, so get there early in the day to find a spot. There are approximately five outlets in the whole atrium, though, which doesn’t make any sense when every student has a laptop these days.
The Puddle: Lake Andrews, which is virtually a pond, is located in the northwest corner of campus and is surrounded by Page, Olin, Adams, and PGill. Nicknamed the puddle, all of Bates’ water runoff used to find itself there. It was cleaned up in the mid-90s, but there are definitely still submerged bicycles and mutant goldfish that patrol the murky depths.
Puddle Jump: A long-standing tradition at Bates where the Bates Outing Club cuts a hole in the frozen Puddle during mid-January’s Winter Carnival and students take turns jumping in. Students will dress up in wacky outfits or just standard bathing suits while jumping into the icy water. The water is numbingly cold, but that’s nothing a nice beer blanket can’t fix. It’s a rite of passage for each student to do the puddle jump at least once before graduation, so eventually everyone has to bite the bullet. Beware of the streakers who jump in.
The Quad: The main thoroughfare of campus, surround by College St and the Chapel on the west side, Parker, Hathorn, and Dana on the north side, Coram Library and Carnegie on the east side, and Campus Ave. on the south side. The foliage on the quad during the fall is as picturesque as it gets, rivaled only by a shot of the trees covered in snow after a blizzard.
Root– It’s also known as Beer Pong. Some other schools call it Beirut. Well at Bates we like shortening words. We call it “root,” which comes from the ‘rut of Beirut. It’s a common fixture at Bates parties which mostly take place in rooms or hallways. It’s not necessarily the most fun to watch four people play while you stand around but it’s inevitable that that will happen so make the most out of it!
Security: Very friendly folk and are extremely reasonable if you show respect and aren’t stupid. FYI: They do carry pepper spray. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
The Silo: The Benjamin Mays Center, nicknamed the Silo, is the home of the Village Concert Series every Thursday night during the school year and also hosts dances on the weekends.
Short Term: When explaining Short Term to people who aren’t familiar with it, they usually just tilt their heads in confusion. I can also be explained as a Jan Plan in May. Batesies know it as is an alcohol-infused party which lasts for five weeks while only signed up for one class. Whether or not students attend that class is up to them. Fact: we know how to enjoy the only warm weeks we’ll have in Maine all year.
Smith: Four people living in under 300 sq. feet. Add in your beds and four desks and you have a nice…cozy…existence during your first year of college. This dorm, centrally located and close to Commons, is home to only first-year students and has a reputation of being pretty rowdy. With so many people living so close to one another students will never have to go far to find somewhere to socialize or party. This dorm is great for those who love that. If you want something quieter or more low-key, don’t stay here!
The Village: Suite-style housing for upperclassmen. There are no kitchens but it’s definitely a great step up from the normal dormitory style to which Batesies are accustomed. All rooms have a common room shared by up to six people. It’s a great option for people who want the privacy of a single but also want the ability to entertain at the same time. Composed of three buildings and inhabited by mostly 21-year-olds, the weekends are fun at the Village to say the least.
Winter Carnival: A weekend towards the end of January which is comprised of many events but headlined by the aforementioned Puddle Jump and also the 90s Dance. This weekend, although it takes place two weeks after Winter Semester classes start, kicks of the term the right way and makes you forget the nearly unbearable temperatures for at least a couple of days.