by Jackson Bicknell, guest writer
Sage Dorm, “a cottage in the woods” as fellow residents now like to call it, has gone through a significant transformation this year. The dorm is working to change its reputation by following new standards of cleanliness and class, and the success of Sage is creating conversation around campus.
“It wasn’t always like this,” said Matthew Grier who has lived in the dorm for three years now. Grier has witnessed a transformation at Sage in the past semester.
“Sage is now clean,” he said. “There was a lot of disorder. Many parties and bands frequently left messes that no one would clean up.”
Current RD Nebiyou Mandefro was apprehensive about moving to Sage. The dorm’s history of rowdiness and uncleanliness would challenge Mandefro to set ground rules from the start.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of structure in the place,” he said.
Mandefro did not want to be the RD in Sage initially, due to its reputation for disarray and uncleanliness, but he was chosen for the position.
Grier can recall many horror stories from Sage’s past.
“The showers smelled like puke and the trashcans were always overflowing with beer cans,” he said.
Sage became a large motivator and challenge for Mandefro.
“The positive side to running a small dorm like Sage is that only a few people live there,” he said. “This is something I could take to my advantage.”
Mandefro hoped to create a clean dorm and provide a comfortable place where residents could feel at home.
“We set a goal to clean up Sage and make it a respectable place,” Mandefro said. “In the first dorm meeting of the year, ground rules were established.”
Cleaning duties were distributed among the residents and a new dorm theme set in place. The new theme, Super Awesome Gentlemen Engagement replaced the former “Sexy Ass Gentlemen Engagement” abbreviation. The new Sage residents resonated well with the Gentlemen’s aspect of the theme and believed it was something that could be continued while getting rid of the “Sexy Ass” element to preserve the classiness of the place.
Mandefro knew from experience that a clean kitchen is crucial for the mentality of a dorm. The kitchen has been fully stocked with utensils, plates, pots, pans and cleaning supplies. All the residents are on a kitchen cleaning rotation to keep the place tidy.
“It’s not only residents who now use the kitchen, but people all over campus,” Mandefro said.
This year Sage dorm has a new record player in the common room with a small record collection forming along the windowsill. The upstairs bathroom was given a speaker system so the gentlemen can listen to music while they primp. The common room has a new rug and two new chairs. The ceiling has been repainted and the hallway rugs are soon to be replaced.
“The cleaning schedule we have set for the dorm has done a great deal,” Mandefro said. “No maggots, trash isn’t full, no unclean dishware.”
Sage’s reformed behavior has caught the eye of Heavy Duty and Recycling crew.
“They have all said they have never seen Sage so clean and put together,” Mandefro said.
Four years ago there was a pool table in Sage that was completely destroyed after a year. Mandefro was able to find a pool table at the beginning of the year and thought it appropriate to give Sage another chance. This pool table would serve as both a challenge and a motivator to keep Sage clean and under control for Mandefro and his residents. Today the pool table is in frequent use and covered when not in use to protect the new felt.
Grier, who enjoys playing the dorm’s public piano, recalled a time when nobody used to relax in the common room, but “now a lot of people come here,” he said.
The turnaround in Sage is a result of a combined mentality and effort of the residents of the whole dorm, according to Mandefro: “They are all doing their part.”