Haverfilth: Behind the Couch

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By Elizabeth Gray

What happens when your mom isn’t around to harass you about cleaning your room? For some students, a new dorm room to decorate provides an opportunity to unleash their inner Martha Stewart. Others live in a way that could merit eviction by the state health department.

In the nonjudgmental, Quaker spirit of equality, both lifestyles ought to be embraced – and thus was born the Bi-Co News Dorm Room Contest. Though the winners will not be announced until the next issue (gift certificate prizes will be awarded to Bryn Mawr’s/Haverford’s Best and Worst rooms), the vast majority of submissions for the contest were from Haverford students vying for the honor of most slovenly or awful dorm room. Some Haverfordians, it has been found, truly live in squalor.

Rob Mullowney ’05 entered and acknowledged that his messiness can be traced all the way back to freshman year. “In my opinion, my room is even worse this year,” he admits. “As a senior I have accumulated a lot of stuff. And it just gets left out. I give credit to my organizational method: everything goes on top [of something else].”

Mullowney’s roommate from freshman year, Aaron Rosenberg ’05, also entered the contest, but for a different honor: the best dorm room. Rosenberg describes the room that he and Mullowney shared freshmen year as “amazing.” “My side was organized – by preference, not because I’m anal,” says Rosenberg. Mullowney’s side, on the other hand, “was messy – by laziness, not by uncleanliness.  There was literally a line down the middle of the room, and Rob’s stuff was piled often as high as two feet up, right up to the line, but never crossing.”

The upperclassmen boasting pigpens for rooms say that the situation hasn’t changed much during their time at Haverford. Mullowney confesses, “My sophomore year, at one point, I could not see any floor and stuff was piled as high as my bed. I could only do one of the following at a time: use the bed, open the door, sit at the desk, or open the closet.” Remembering his first year with Rosenberg, he says, “I had to run from my roommate’s side of the room and jump/dive onto my bed and then crawl across to get to my desk.”

Roommates Emily Kopilow ’08 and Michaela Doyle ’08 had been planning to submit photos of their small double on Barclay’s second floor for the messiest/worst room contest. The surprise flood in Barclay third and second south on Friday, November 12th, first appeared to ruin these plans, because the two had to remove almost all belongings from their room in order to protect them from water. Days later, though, after the flood damage had been repaired, the floor of the room was once again buried under layers of clothing. Doyle remarks, “It really didn’t take very long to get the room really messy again. If we can’t win this contest, I’ll be really disappointed.” Grant Scribner ’08 notes that Doyle’s and Kopilow’s room is “the dirtiest room I’ve ever seen—yesterday I couldn’t see the floor.” Almost on cue, while rummaging around her littered desk, Kopilow exclaims, “Our room is molding!”

Kopilow’s and Doyle’s room is not the first Haverford dorm room to reach such a state of filth that mold is growing. A junior male, who would like to remain anonymous, describes his freshman year Customs suite in the apartments as “horrific. We wouldn’t go into the room because it smelled so bad.” Opposed to taking out their trash, the Customs people allowed a heap of garbage to accumulate in their apartment. “They weren’t making any effort to clean it,” says the junior male. Finally, the freshmen had had enough. Offering to clean up the mess, the students “found six chicken bones under the couch and food everywhere and stuff growing out of the sink. I would never want to live with someone like that again.”

While Mullowney has not reformed his ways, and Kopilow and Doyle have yet to clean up their acts, not everyone known for his or her messiness freshman year has maintained these vile habits. Tyler Richie ’06, who claims to have had “the messiest kitchen at Haverford” his freshman year, says, “It’s gotten a lot better over the last couple years.” On his shift to the side of cleanliness, Richie tells it like it is: “I got sick of living in a hellhole.” If only other Haverfordians would follow suit.

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