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A day in the life in the dorms: Blackwell Hall, Foothill and Unit 3

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Congratulations, newly admitted Bears! Now that you’ve officially been accepted to the No. 1 public university in the WORLD, it’s time to start thinking about one of the most important aspects of your freshman year in college — where you’re going to live! From the older, high-rise “units” to the newly constructed Blackwell Hall to the more secluded, spread out living space of Foothill, among others, including Clark Kerr and Stern, we at the Clog are here to capture what a day in the life is like in each of these dorms to help give you a better idea of which dorm you might want to call your home next year!

Blackwell Hall

Daniela Cervantes/File

Blackwell Hall, named for David Blackwell, UC Berkeley’s first black professor to receive tenure and a distinguished statistician who passed away in 2010, is the campus’ newest dorm which opened in 2012 and houses over 700 students.

What’s the best thing about living in Blackwell? Definitely the proximity to main campus! If you want to skip breakfast and snooze a bit, you can sleep in until 10 minutes before your class starts and still make it on time. If you’d prefer to grab some food before class, you can walk to Cafe 3 which is right across the street from Blackwell Hall.

Once you’re done with classes, you can make your way back to your dorm and rejoice in the plethora of study spaces available to you: two study lounges and one social lounge per floor, a student center (complete with whiteboards and printers) and plenty of private study rooms that you can reserve if you want to meet up with a group. These amenities certainly come in handy if you don’t feel like fighting for study space in Moffitt.

David Rodriguez/File

After studying, enjoy some much deserved downtime in one of the social lounges. Enjoy a game of pool on the bottom floor, play a round of Ping-Pong or watch a movie on one of Blackwell’s flat screens. If you’re feeling like a workout, head on down to the building’s state of the art gym! With full length mirrors, weight and cardio equipment, you can have the workout of your dreams in your very own private gym. You’ll appreciate the peace and quiet of the Blackwell gym even more once you step foot in the mayhem that is the RSF (Recreational Sports Facility).

After working out, you can either pick up the books again or start winding down for an early bedtime. Microwaves and mini fridges are included with your dorm in Blackwell, so why not whip up some popcorn or a mug cake while watching Netflix?


Ethan Epstein/File

Foothill, known as the “engineering dorm” for its popularity with engineering students due to its proximity to the College of Engineering and STEM buildings, is a coed residence hall that sits atop the Hearst Avenue hill on the eastern side of campus near the Greek Theatre and is comprised of suite-style rooms.

And the best part about living in Foothill? You basically live in a giant treehouse. Surrounded by red-shingled buildings and squirrels, you’ll either be waking up at 7 a.m. for your 8 a.m. class or sleeping in until 1 p.m. After grabbing a meal at Foothill’s very own dining hall, you’ll make the long (but downhill, yes!) trek to the center of campus where your classes are located. Side note: if you’re a STEM major, Foothill (and Stern), are basically the only convenient dorms because all the STEM buildings are within a five-minute radius of your room.

When you finish your classes, you’ll probably stay on Southside since that’s where almost everything on campus is, and because most of your friends will probably be living there too. You might choose to go to Moffitt to study, or (more likely) the far nicer and mostly empty Blackwell study lounges.

Jessica Schwabach/File

When you’re done with studying for the day, it’s time for the only type of workout you’ll ever have the time for — the uphill climb back to Foothill. After collapsing into a chair in the high ceiling Foothill dining hall after struggling over two hills, you’ll proceed to fuel up for the rest of your night — a chill Netflix marathon with your roommate.

Unit 3

Jessica Schwabach/Staff

Unit 3, the oldest of the collection of dorms called “the units,” is located on Durant Avenue and is made up of five different buildings. Although it’s old, it’s known to be social and it still has a lot of charm, we suppose.

So, what’s the best part about living in Unit 3? It’s the closest dorm to campus — er, correction, it WAS the closest dorm to campus until Blackwell came into being. Well, at least it’s still the closest dorm to the RSF — oops, it WAS the closest dorm to RSF, until Blackwell. Essentially, all of the redeemable qualities of Unit 3 have been overtaken by Blackwell. However, Unit 3 is the closest dorm to Cafe 3, which is great if you enjoy world-class dining. Ha.

Despite Unit 3 no longer being the closest dorm to campus, it is still very close, allowing you to spend that extra five to 40 minutes in bed, and still make it to class (thank you, Berkeley time). Also, because Unit 3 surrounds Cafe 3, as long as you leave your dorm by 9:27 a.m. you can make it to breakfast before they close at 9:30 a.m.

Once you finish your classes, you can head to Unit 3’s most unique feature, the Unit 3 all-purpose room, or APR, which resides below Cafe 3. In the APR, there are multiple study rooms, including an academic center equipped with tutors, a “library” (there are no books, yet it is still called a library) and other group study spaces. The APR also includes somewhat soundproof music rooms as well a large laundry room — yes, that makes Unit 3 unique, as it is the only unit that has a laundry room that isn’t in the same building as your very own room, so bring an umbrella and hope your clothes don’t get soaked if it’s raining!

Besides studying, Unit 3 has some old pool tables and clearly worn Ping-Pong tables on the ground floor of each hall that could be fun as well as some fireplaces that may be functional but have yet to be lit (this year at least). While there aren’t many fun things to do in Unit 3, its prime location on Durant Ave allows easy access to all the shops, restaurants and general bustle on Telegraph, Durant, Bancroft and Channing.

While Unit 3 may not be the nicest, newest, flashiest or even cleanest dorm, it definitely grows on you.

There you have it! These are just three of the dorms here at UC Berkeley, but we hope we gave you a general sense of what a day in the life at the dorms is like. Wherever you end up next year, don’t forget to make yourself feel at home!

Contact Jazmin Cubilla at [email protected], Chandini Dialani at [email protected] and Zachary Abuel-Saud at [email protected].

MARCH 20, 2019