Brooks Hall: Welcome to The Big B

by Ama Debrah

Regularly referred to as the dorm with the most “character” (whatever that means), you may understandably be a bit nervous about being assigned to the hallowed halls of Brooks. However, never fear. You will soon learn that, despite its flaws, Brooks is the most superior dorm in the Barnard Quad. Here’s a brief introduction to the world of Brooks.

The bay windows! That porch! Now that’s a dorm!

What’s not so good:

Even though this will seem like a MAJOR issue during the heat wave that always coincides with NSOP, it will get much cooler by the second week of classes, rendering AC completely useless. Although it might feel like you’re living in a sauna for the first couple of weeks, it’ll soon be so cold that the idea of AC will seem laughable. Word to the wise: befriend someone in Sulzberger who doesn’t mind you escaping to their room on those particularly hot days. Also, bring a fan. Or two.

Although Brooks does have some very eclectic interior features, such as the lofted ceilings on the eighth floor and colorful trim around each room, age hasn’t been exactly kind to certain parts of Brooks. Exposed plumbing along the walls is the norm, and after heavy downpours paint may start to peel from the ceiling. However, these little quirks give Brooks a really warm and homey vibe, which is distinctly different from the sterile atmosphere of Sulz.

Living in Brooks
Most rooms in Brooks are set up in either doubles or quads, with several singles reserved for upperclassmen on the seventh floor. While the doubles are tiny and narrow, the four suitemates within a quad live in three-room arrangements in which the center room is a common space for desks and the flanking rooms are two-person dorms. Despite the extra space, quads can get cramped easily, especially if your suitemates invite friends over.

Lewis Parlor: the closest Barnard will ever be to Hogwarts.

What’s awesome:

Lewis Parlor
The Lewis Parlor study space was opened the year after I moved into Brooks, and I am livid. If you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, head down to the first floor of Brooks as it’s pretty much a mini-Butler study room. What’s even better is that unlike Lehman Hall and the Diana Center, Lewis Parlor is open 24/7, perfect for those late nights before finals.

Telephone Booths
If you are lucky enough, your Brooks floor will have one of the sacred telephone booths that were used way back when. One of the first orders of business on our floor was to decorate our telephone booth, which was a nice bonding exercise and a break from the pure insanity that is NSOP. Our telephone booth was quickly renamed the “Tardis” by our resident Doctor Who fans.

Proximity to Barnard Services
Brooks is by far the most convenient dorm to student wellness and health services in the Quad. You can reach Well Woman, Furman Counseling Center, and Primary Care Health Services easily from the Brooks dorm.

Architectural Flourish
While everyone in Brooks enjoys the classic beauty of wooden doors and the comfort of recently renovated bathrooms, residents of rooms that face the Quad may have bay windows or fireplaces in their dorms. Though fires are against ResLife policy, these nooks can be a handy place to store textbooks and add charm to Barnard’s oldest dormitory.

Check out our reviews of Barnard’s other first-year dorms, Reid Hall and Sulzberger Hall.

Ama Debrah is a senior at Barnard and the Contributing Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of and Barnard College.


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