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:: By Mary Ruth Yoe

:: Photography by Dan Dry

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In Every Issue ::

Editor's Notes:
Lares and penates, c. 2006

The copyright page of my Random House Collegiate Dictionary, like the book’s cover and spine, disappeared years ago. With Webster’s and the OED bookmarked on my Web browsers, I never take the battered volume, a high-school graduation gift, from the shelf—except, of course, to amuse the younger generation. Putting on reading glasses and turning to the letter C, I recite: “Computer, noun. 1. a person or thing that computes.”

photo:  editor's notes
What does it take to make a dorm a home? More stuff than it used to

Suffice it to say I did not arrive at my freshman dorm toting a laptop but a manual typewriter that weighed the equivalent of four 12-inch iBooks. My personal electronics consisted of a travel iron, my alarm clock was a wind-up model, and my roomie and I agreed she’d bring the stereo; one room, one sound source, we reasoned.

To read the to-bring list prepared for the College Class of 2010 by the Office of Student Housing, you wouldn’t think much had changed. Taking a basic view of residential must-haves, the office spends more time enumerating what first-years shouldn’t bring—electric coffee makers, hot plates, halogen floor lamps, weapons—than what they should—bed linens (extra long, 36” x 80”), blankets, pillows, toiletries, and towels.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I helped my junior-year daughter pack up a Boston-bound list that included fondue pots (yes, that’s plural) and a Disney Princess 13-inch color television set with matching pink remote (a hand-me-down from her recently graduated sister). No wonder students in the College Programming Office compiled a complementary, unofficial list of lares and penates, “Things to Make a Dorm a Home.”

The list’s 75 items, subdivided into six lifestyle categories, include 25 “study accessories”—good news for those worried that undergrads living in a material world might forget why they’re at college.

Need proof that the kids are trending up on the possessions curve? Bill Essig, JD’65, forwarded an August 18 Wall Street Journal clipping on dorm decor: “Sales of dorm room bedding, furnishings and accessories are estimated to total $3.8 billion this year, up 47% over 2004.”

More stuff means more time moving it into the dorms. This September, as Hassan S. Ali, ’07, reported for the Magazine’s Web log, UChiBLOGo, the College Orientation staff met the challenge by introducing “purge bins.” Using the large, wheeled, plastic containers, student helpers carted an entire minivan’s worth of gear to the dorm in one trip. Ali noted another plus: “Because the purge bins were too big to fit inside the rooms, movers were quicker to shift items out of the hallways” and into their new homes.

Coming sooner to your home?

If you think your Magazine has been arriving earlier than it used to, you’re right. With this issue, the publication has come into sync with the other bimonthlies in the Ivy League Magazine Network. Issues are now scheduled to mail early in November, January, March, May, July, and September, and the folio dates have changed accordingly: this is the Nov–Dec/2006 issue.