Point/counterpoint: Orchard Hill is the tops

By Harrison Searles

The time has finally come for another battle between aspects of the University of Massachusetts; while last year it was the battle of the Dining Commons, today begins the battle for the mastery of the residential areas and we all know, whether consciously or not, that Orchard Hill is clearly the superior of all of them. Of all the residential areas to live on the UMass Campus, it is clear that Orchard Hill (colloquially known as “O-Hill”) not only triumphs in terms of the best location, but it also provides the best living conditions by far.  

Let’s begin by noting what Orchard Hill does better than every other residence area (I shall not be including Sylvan here since even trying to compare Sylvan to O-Hill is to blaspheme). Unlike Southwest, Orchard Hill actually provides a spot that someone would actually want to live in on days that are not weekends and yet, unlike Northeast, it still has people that one would want to hang with during those same weekends. While it may be fun in the short term to live at the ground zero of party central, it is not exactly the place one would want to be while actually trying to finish college with an actual major and grades that would actually help one to get an internship or job once graduation is over with.

It is surely important to enjoy what society calls the four best years of anyone’s life, but let’s remember that life actually continues after graduation. Furthermore, the only thing that either Central or Northeast can boast that it has over Orchard Hill is that they are in closer approximation to the rest of the campus, but all that this boils down to is merely saving around 10 minutes a day walking. However, such a critique is fallacious because it does not take into account a hidden variable: the health benefits of those extra strides, plus the walks up and down the Hill also work on the thigh muscles that are so often neglected. Ironically enough, what would seem to be a detriment to the desirability of O-Hill only serves to further illustrate its superiority over other living areas.

In addition, O-Hill is a beautiful place, definitely the Garden of Eden of the University of Massachusetts; a residence area where one can actually see the green of the Earth on a daily basis and not just the concrete jungle that so characterizes the rest of the campus. While it may have that dreary gray Stalinist concrete architecture we all love to hate, the plaza between the four buildings provides a great location for enjoying the beautiful spring weather, a place to play Ultimate Frisbee in the bowl and where activities like Bowl Weekend ‘10 also happen. For those who would prefer to enjoy the radiance of an April’s sun while working on a tan, the Hill is a perfect place to bring out a towel and enjoy the day sunbathing while watching the sun take its daily course across the azure sky. Indeed, if one wants to escape UMass for a day, thankfully enough one need not walk a half an hour to the nearest parking lot for Orchard Hill provides one a mere minute’s walk from the buildings. Plus, the dorms themselves provide a great amount of space along with closets that provide more temporary privacy within the room for changing and other such affairs, and they also provide desks at the end of the room so that there’s no need for desks placed awkwardly in the middle. For those who have a television there is always the option to loft the two beds to create both a perfect spot for the 36” your roommate brought on which to play the latest first-person shooters as well as extra space for Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution and another spot for a couch – a perfect setup indeed. In the end, the facilities and location of Orchard Hill are simply the best of all in UMass.

Without a doubt, Orchard Hill is simply the best residential area on the UMass campus, what more need be said? Not only does it provide the quality of life and social scene that students are looking for, but it also provides a beautiful place to get away from the UMass campus while still technically being on it. There is simply no competition, O-Hill is simply the greatest of them all.

Harrison Searles is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]