The South 40 (literally, forty acres of living space located directly south of the Danforth Campus) is home to about 3,200 students in twenty-three residence halls. Generally, all freshmen and many sophomores live on the 40 – so as a junior who still calls the 40 “home” (and, no, I’m not even an RA), I’m something of an anomaly.
But, I could not imagine living anywhere else. Beyond the currently ranked #2 Best College Dorms and #3 Best College Food in America, the South 40 offers a sense of community that has been an absolutely integral part of my college experience at Washington University.
Here’s just a few things that make living on the South 40 so special:
Certainly, a description of life on the 40 would be incomplete without mentioning the dorms. Modern or traditional, each dorm has a unique history and charm about it. I consider myself lucky to have experienced both modern and traditional dorm life – freshman year I lived in Dauten (traditional), sophomore year I lived in SoFoHo (modern), and this year I live in Eliot B (modern).
Of course, each has their pros and cons: Dauten had balconies, while SoFoHo and Eliot B have elevators, for example. But, as a freshman who lived in a traditional, I’m a huge proponent of traditional-style dorms (at least for your first year). Our RAs encouraged an “open-door” policy, in which the doors to our common rooms were kept propped open so as to create an inviting community where anyone could take a second to pop in and say, “Hey!”. It took some getting used to, but because some of my closest friends are, to this day, the people I shared Dauten with freshman year – it was totally worth it.
From volleyball tournaments on the Swamp to movie marathons in Ursa’s, there’s always something happening on the South 40.
One of my favorite events each year has been
Woodstock WuStock, an afternoon concert that literally brings the likes of MKTO and BØRNS to your front door. This year, Grammy Award-winning artist Daya will be performing during the festival, which also includes guest performances by student bands, free food, and inflatable couches!
You can take the Tempurpedic out of WashU, but you can’t take the WashU out of the Tempurpedic.
At least … that’s my way of explaining just how pervasive the WashU community is – a community whose building blocks can be found on the 40. It all begins from the moment you wear your ResCollege’s colors to Convocation. Suddenly, you find yourself exploring the city of St. Louis with a new set of friends you feel like you’ve known for a lifetime, you find yourself taking selfie-stick photos with your RA, and, soon enough, you find yourself wearing those same colors to represent your dorm during the spring Residential College Olympics.