Living with Communalists

IMG_6716I know, you probably think that dorm living is all about staying up late to debate Trotskyism versus Stalinism or post-apocalyptic poetry or the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother.  But there is another side of living on campus at Marlboro that is fantastic preparation for life beyond college, whether that’s sharing an apartment with flesh-eating zombies or starting a family of little compañeros. I’m talking about the dorm charter, that hallowed document that is drafted at the beginning of each year to help define the behavior and expectations of residents. You know, like who takes out the recycling when, and how late you can stay up noisily debating popular television.

IMG_3320For Exhibit A, I present to you the dorm charter adopted last fall by the Farm Cottage, which not surprisingly gives particular attention to food and cooking. These guys know what it takes to coexist happily and with gusto.

  1. Thou shalt drinketh thine fine tea or coffee as one wakes in the sunshine of the forest. Existeth not in the dark depths of thine cave! (i.e. spend time in the common room.)
  2. Thou shalt watch at least one episode of Doctor Who in good company every fortnight.
  3. If thou art watching weird cooking shows, thou shalt do so in one’s cave because it stresses Mia out.
  4. When feeling solemn, one shalt remember Father Philip.
  5. Thou shalt always feed thine sourdough starter and eat a weekly dose of sauerkraut.
  6. Thou shalt not neglect thine vegetables—save and preserve the vegetables!
  7. Thou shalt cook and eat meals with thine brethren.
  8. Thou shalt spend a sufficient time in laughter with thy brethren (and without).
  9. Thou shalt remember and honor the compost.
  10. Thou shalt turn off the lights (within and without thine abode) if thou art the last one to bed, and turn off lights when not in use in general.
  11. Thou shalt store up the riches of egg cartons and milk containers!
  12. Thou shalt get sufficient sleep and take care of thine health.
  13. Singing Saturdays! Thou shalt sing and dance and do handstands.
  14. Applying soap to cast iron pans is punishable by immersion into the compost.
  15. Spontaneous contact improv is compulsory (for all residents who are not Clare).
  16. Baked goods shall be regularly produced and shared with all cottage residents.
  17. Keep the galley clean!
  18. The spilling of balsamic vinegar is punishable by mandatory push-ups.
  19. Thou shalt maintain and honor thy dorm charter, and adjust it as good judgment demands.
  20. Thou shalt invite thine friends over for merry gatherings and sushi making parties.
  21. Thou shalt not forget to eat ice cream.
  22. Thou shalt inquire into the well-being of thine brethren.
  23. If the mood striketh thee, thou mayest sweep any floors or clean any surfaces as compels thee.
  24. Put not the pickling spices in thy beans of dill, or they will be wreckethed.
  25. Do as the Cheerios box doth instruct: smile!
  26. Inviteth thine friends over for cookies, and share cookies with thine neighbors.
  27. Judge not thine fellow friend who drinketh pickle juice by the glass.
  28. Thou shalt use plenty of butter and garlic.

IMG_3378Okay, so maybe all dorm charters are not so quirky and food-obsessed and fluent in archaic English. But just like this particularly mouth-watering example, all dorm charters help students live together in understanding and harmony, a worthy habit that several world leaders would probably find useful.

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One thought on “Living with Communalists

  1. I think I still have a copy of the Dorm Charter from my senior year in Schraeder – I’ve actually used it as an example when working with youth groups that have to write an agreement about how they’ll be together during their time together.

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