The Residence Hall Brawl

Ever since I first visited Emerson my junior year of high school, I’ve been no stranger to the on-going conversations about the residence halls. I’ve heard students around campus talk about the suites in Piano Row, the social aspect of Little Building, the distance between Paramount and the rest of campus and the ovens in Colonial. While about half of Emerson’s students live off campus, that still isn’t enough to stop the conversations.

I decided to set the record straight once and for all. While there’s no objective way to tell which residence hall is “the best,” I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of information, both subjective and objective, about each of the four residence halls. I will go through each residence hall and have the bio of each building (taken from Emerson’s website), pros and cons taken from Emerson students who have lived in these building, as well as my opinion and experience with each building.

Little Building

Little Building

“A 12-story residence hall that houses 748 students, the Little Building at 80 Boylston Street is located in the heart of Boston’s Theatre District at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets. Residents are housed in single, double, triple, and quadruple rooms off a corridor, as well as in single and double rooms within four-, five-, and six-person suites that share a living area and bathroom.”

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I lived here as a freshman last year and I agree with most of the things above. While a lot of students often say that Little Building is the worst building because it’s “noisy” or “dirty” or even “too social,” I enjoyed living there. Living in a room that isn’t a suite and using communal bathrooms isn’t for everyone, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. I spent a lot of my time in the common room on our floor and that’s how I made most of my best friends. It’s definitely the best building for freshmen to make friends and get the stereotypical first year college experience. It’s conveniently located, and a lot of the decor is really beautiful. It was a good first home.



“Newly renovated, the upper floors of this 10-story building house 354 students in single and double rooms in four-, five-, or six-person suite-like environments that include a shared bathroom. Residents share common lounges with kitchens and a centralized laundry facility.”


I’ve never lived here and I also don’t have many friends in the building, so other than visits to the mailroom, I’ve only been in this building about three or four times. It is a nice building, and I see the appeal of the privacy, but I would have a hard time with how anti-social it is. It must be very hard to be a Freshman in Colonial because there really isn’t any floor community. Last semester, I heard someone who lived in Colonial say he hadn’t even met his suite mate yet because he had just moved in a week ago after spending a semester at the castle. That’s how anti-social this building is. I see the appeal of the ovens, however, there are no other food services in this building, so it’s pretty inconvenient if you want food but you don’t want to cook.

Piano Row

Piano Row

This 14-story building houses 554 students in double occupancy rooms within four- and six-person suites that share a living area and bathroom. Residents also share lounges with kitchenettes on alternate floors and a centralized laundry facility. Piano Row also houses the Max Mutchnick Campus Center and Brown-Plofker Gym.

Piano Row

When I visited Emerson the first time on my tour, I was sure I wanted to live in Piano Row. I liked the building, and I liked the suites. However, when I visited again for Picture Yourself at Emerson I decided I wanted to live in Little Building because I was told more freshmen lived there and it was social. I’ve never lived in Piano Row, but I am there pretty often because I have friends who live there. I like that there are common rooms in the suites, because I live in Paramount and we don’t have that. It’s also convenient that the Max is right there. While Piano Row is more social than Colonial, I agree with a few of the responses that it’s still not that social. A lot of people don’t come out of their suites and barely ever try to make friends beyond their pre-existing friend groups.



“The Paramount houses 260 students primarily in double rooms in four- or six-person suite-like environments with a shared bathroom. Some stand-alone doubles are also available in the Paramount. Residents share common floor lounges with kitchenettes and a centralized laundry facility. The Paramount Center is also home to its renovated main theater, a black box theater, and multiple classrooms and practice rooms.”


At first, I wasn’t excited to live in Paramount. I applied for suite selection with three of my friends at the end of last semester and we didn’t get it, so Paramount was our only option if we didn’t want to get split up. I do like Paramount though because we have suites. It’s nice to be able to shut your door and have privacy sometimes, and it’s nice to have your own bathroom. It does stink that we don’t have common rooms in the suite, but it’s not as much of an issue as I thought it was going to be. I actually think it makes Paramount a little more social because instead of staying in their rooms, I often see people in the common rooms studying, hanging out and cooking. I think the common rooms are nicer than Little Building’s and even Piano Row’s in some aspects. I cook more this year, so even though a lot of times it’s inconvenient that P-Cafe closes so early, I can always cook. It is a bit inconvenient that it’s farther from everywhere else, but a lot of times it makes me more motivated to get up and get things done because I know I have to leave early in order to be on time when I’m going other places.

I think this list serves as evidence that no residence hall is perfect. Every place has its pros and cons and often it depends on the person living there. Some people prefer Little Building because they don’t mind the doubles and they like the social aspect. Some people don’t mind that Paramount is farther than every other building. No matter where you end up living, each building gives you a unique experience and a lot of times living in a residence hall will only be as good as you make it.

(Photo credit: Jesse Pamintuan)

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jessica Morris says:

    Amazing article! 🙂

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