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September 18, 2010

Snell-Hitchcock Hall

What could be better than living in beautiful neo-Gothic and Prairie style dorm buildings, one of which (Hitchcock) is listed in the National Record of Historic Places? Maybe living directly on the main quads? Well, Snell-Hitchcock boasts that as well.

And while residents walk home for a 25-minute nap in the half hour before their next class, Snell-Hitchcock’s century of service as a dorm provides many more perks. Although residents can’t legally use the fireplaces in their rooms, they make great bookshelves. The desks might be the same ones at which Carl Sagan (room 116) or Thornton Wilder (room 523) studied years ago. And the “Fermi Room” normally goes to the fourth-year with the highest slot in the lottery; rumor has it that Enrico Fermi lived there while working on the Manhattan Project.

Like a fine wine, Snitchcock’s character is well-aged, strong, and makes some people vomit. The dorm’s mascot is an armadillo, a reference to its Latin motto which translates as “ugly but useful.” Last year, Snitchcock broke a Scav Hunt record by winning the competition for the fourth year running. The dorm has won 12 of the 24 hunts to date, and the common room (“The Green Room”) turns into a glorious catastrophe of wood, electronics, and replicas of ancient chariots during Mother’s Day weekend, when Scav is held annually.

Other traditions include SnoBQ, which celebrates the first snow with hamburgers and hot dogs, the Tea Room lectures held in Snell’s common room, and a winter jello wrestling competition that features hairy chested men instead of topless women. House meetings top Schindler’s List in length, magnitude, and, according to the House president, bloodshed.

The two houses, Snell and Hitchcock, have their own kitchens and laundry rooms, and share a recreation room with pool and ping-pong. There is also a TV that’s guaranteed to be in use for either Super Smash Brothers or Bad Movie Night, where people gather to watch some of the worst movies ever filmed. Snell is mostly singles, and some residents emerge only during fire drills. Hitchcock is twice the size of Snell and has doubles, making it a more social place.

One of the best parts of Snitchcock is the community. Residents are normally early action admits, many of whom are so enthusiastic about the U of C that they applied to live in Snitchcock the first day that the Housing office let them. Whether you need a helping hand with Calc or Scav, or a buddy to go to a party or watch Dr. Who, Snitchcockers are always there for you with their amiable armadillo pride.

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