September 25, 2008


Location, location, location. Snell and Hitchcock halls occupy some of the most coveted real estate on campus, sitting comfortably on the northwest corner of the academic quads.

Students in these halls, which abut Searle Chemistry Laboratory and Culver Hall, gloat over the fact that they can grab a 25-minute power-nap with only half an hour before the start of their next class.

Set apart from the nearby bustle of the University, Snell-Hitchcock enjoys its own enclosed courtyard equipped with picnic tables, benches, a tire swing, a hand-carved wooden swing commemorating the dorm's centennial, and a resilient flower bed that is prone to bursting into bloom well before spring actually arrives. Each house has a kitchen and laundry room, and they share recreation facilities complete with TV, a DVD player, ping-pong, pool, air hockey, and arcade-style video game consoles.

For classier occasions, the Hitchcock Green Room and the Snell Tea Room both offer a glimpse of grandeur, with paintings, carved wooden moldings, and a classical piano.

Although Hitchcock and Snell are typically grouped as a pair, each boasts a distinctive personality. Snell, for example, has mostly single rooms and accordingly provides an atmosphere of serious study, making it an exemplar of the storied tradition of the University.

House community and activity blossoms each year with the advent of Scav Hunt. Snell and Hitchcock are known for their obsession with this U of C ritual that borders on fanatical.

Residents of Hitchcock, whose mascot is an armadillo, can count on 24-hour Tolkien readings and house meetings that last longer than Castro speeches. And, oh—Enrico Fermi lived there.