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Volume 96, Issue 2

GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLETTERS
Upon what meat have you fed that you can…

No place like the shoreland

The October 17 Maroon reports that the housing office is considering closing Shoreland Hall as an undergraduate dormitory, to be replaced by a new dorm south of the Midway. I was shocked to read of this possibility. I cannot emphasize too strongly how regrettable such a decision would be.

I lived in the Shoreland and enjoyed the experience enough that I stayed there all four years. It was and is the nicest dorm I have ever set foot in, seen, or heard of, at this school or any other.

I still speak fondly of it, earning disbelieving reactions from people whose concepts of dorm life are more conventional and disappointing. What other dorm offers spacious, carpeted apartments, private kitchens and baths, and views of the lake? Vintage architecture, a magnificent mezzanined lobby, cozy lounges, and study rooms overlooking a landscaped courtyard? Perhaps most dorms have a billiards-and-video-game room, but how many have a ballroom? And if it’s a shuttle ride or a few minutes’ extra walk to the quads, that’s more than a fair trade-off for being closer to Hyde Park’s shopping and dining, to the lake and the Point, to the express buses downtown. Indeed, 15 years along, it remains my favorite place I’ve ever lived.

A student living in the Shoreland is part of three communities: the Shoreland itself, self-contained, lively and cohesive in a way few dorms achieve; the University community, with its intellectual ferment and rich traditions; and the larger community of the city of Chicago, from which so many U of Cers are needlessly cut off. No newly built, campus-focused dorm could be an adequate substitute.
In the Shoreland the University has something distinctive and precious, befitting the U of C’s own unique status in American undergraduate education. To close it down, to willfully surrender what is arguably the best undergraduate dorm in the country, would be an irreplaceable loss and a tragic mistake.

Chris Miller, AB’89

For more about the Shoreland, see “College Report,” page 24.—Ed.

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