For many University students, the residence hall is simply a place to make a few close friends and poignant memories.
But once in a while, a floor takes dorm-hall camaraderie to a different level.
In 2004, for instance, the residents in Markley’s Fifth Scott house decided to become the Fifth Scott Pirates. They made it official with a Facebook group and T-shirts.
But with a legacy of rivalry inherent to being a Michigan Wolverine, higher-than-average dorm hall solidarity can’t exist for long without a challenge from another group.
Every year, on the night of the first substantial snowfall, West Quad and South Quad battle each other in a snowball fight. But at other times, dorm hall rivalries develop more spontaneously.
Michael Fromm, a sophomore at Michigan in 1982, can recall a frequent “late night game of chicken” between people who lived in Alice Lloyd and Mosher-Jordan. Fromm wrote in an e-mail that “students who lived on the MoJo and Alice Lloyd wings that faced each other would alternate screaming ‘MoJo sucks’ and ‘Alice Lloyd sucks.’ ” The only real objective was to see who could get the loudest.
“It always began (the) same way with one room on each side, but of course it never ended there,” Fromm wrote. “And the sound was impossible to ignore, so as the game wore on and the competitive juices started to flow, students from across both dorms would flood the rooms on these wings in a show of solidarity. My recollection is that the empty space between the two dorms made the sound resonate like it was coming over the PA system at The Big House.”
In South Quad this year, there is an intense rivalry between the two honors houses, Taylor and Hunt. Living in South Quad means competing with your floor house in the South Quad Olympics and perhaps some group activities. But if you live in Taylor or Hunt, it’s a bit more serious.
It started with an alcohol and drug free rave hosted by Hunt House that sparked a competition over which house was more fun, said LSA freshman Josh Buoy, a Hunt resident.
“That was kind of the first time that Hunt would be the dominant house,” Buoy said.
Another Hunt resident, LSA freshman Mike Zerbib, added: “And Taylor was really, really jealous.”
Since then, Hunt and Taylor residents have paid attention to any event that pitted them against each other. During the annual South Quad Olympics, Hunt and Taylor competitors monitored the progress of the other house jealously.
Hunt House came in first and Taylor came in third — a placement that Taylor residents resent because it is based on attendance and sportsmanship instead of just the number of wins.
“They beat us in the South Quad Olympics, but it was B.S.,” said LSA freshman Robbie Kornblatt, who lives in Taylor. “Because we had more gold medals than they did, but we didn’t show up to one event at all (and) they won because we lost all our participation points for not going to that event.”
Playing FIFA 2009 with other Taylor residents, Kornblatt ripped on Hunt to the glee of everyone in the room: “Hunt kids are often in-bred.”
Kornblatt said the rivalry isn’t strong enough to elicit revenge for the Olympics defeat, but everything isn’t quite rosy between the two houses.
“We don’t like hate each other or anything like that, but like in South Quad functions we might like yell at each other,” he said. “It’s kind of like a sibling rivalry — like we still love them because they’re in our building, but we just want to beat them up sometimes.”
But ill will between the two houses may soon melt away. Buoy said some Hunt residents are planning a Yule Ball in the spirit of the one in “Harry Potter” that should bring the two houses together.