The Town Houses

Clifford Clark

The nine townhouses along Highway 19 look, from a distance, like traditional late-nineteenth century houses. Built on the side of a hill, they contain a lower apartment for one student in the basement, complete with kitchen, bathroom, and living room; and an upper, two-story apartment that contains one double and two single bedrooms, along with a two-story living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Designed for students who wish to cook for themselves and be somewhat independent of the main part of campus, the townhouses have been immensely popular since they were built in 2001.

In 2008, the houses ran a competition to decorate their doors with a “Choose your own adventure story” theme as a way of building community. The adventure began on Friday afternoon of the third week of the term with directions such as “You wander on over to the snack bar to pick up an afternoon snack and to see who all is there. You enter into a jam-packed Sayles and search around for friends. You have no luck, so decide to go into the snack bar to pretend like someone is waiting out there for you, and secretly hoping you’ll run into someone you know. While standing in line, you narrow your choices down to three different items on the menu. To order 12,000 mozzarella sticks, go to Dow 100. To order a veggie burger, go to Collier 200. You grab your veggie burger and leave the snack bar to meet up with friends. On the way to your friend’s townhouse you get a phone call from your mom reminding you to vote on Tuesday. If you choose to vote in the presidential election proceed to Dixon 100. If you don’t vote go to Hunt 200.”

Like all adventure stories, there are perils, and you perish if you eat all 12,000 mozzarella sticks.