Dorms are Dorms

Written to SDSU's school paper

Christopher C. Taylor---January 1992

Last week I was daydreaming in class. I dreamt that I had gone home and my mother told me that from now on our home would be know as the family interaction and mutual edification center. She went on to explain that even though many other families still used the word home, it was outdated and had bad connotations. Since this was my mother's idea, and since I didn't live there anymore, I decided I would go along with it. A couple of weeks past (which can happen quickly in a daydream) and we had guests at our family interaction and mutual edification center. We had a great time, but it got rather annoying having to correct them whenever they called our place a home. That night my mom realized that this was going to be an uphill battle. The next day she pulled out our address list for Christmas letters and started writing letters. She wanted to make sure that everyone on the list knew that we didn't have a home anymore. We had a family interaction and mutual edification center. Just then one of my classmates looked over at me and said dorm.

The last five minutes of the lecture had just been semantics, and my astute classmate had drawn a parallel between the semantics in our class and a game played by residential life. The game I speak of is the attempts made by some to rename the dorms to residence halls. Some say that the word dorm reminds them of barracks---a place to sleep and that's it. I personally don't have that memory, but even if I did, a rose by any other name is still as sweet. As incredible as it may sound to those in residential life, I have called my living quarters a dorm for the last three years and am on my fourth year of happily living in them. I consulted Noah Webster and found that residence hall is a definition for dormitory. Why such a big deal? Another more recent argument against the term dorm is that it is out of date. Who decides when a word is outdated anyway? I always thought that a word was outdated when people quit using it. If that were the case we would have people worrying about other people using it. Both my brother and sister went to schools where the on campus housing was called dorms. The fact is that people still use the term dorm.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not writing this to get back at residential life because of their "new" bedboard policy. I just think that they could be spending their time and efforts in a more useful manner than trying to convince us that residence hall is a better term than dorm. Fortunately, the beginning part of this letter was just a daydream and my mom isn't that silly, but if she were, it wouldn't seem like home if I went home and kept getting corrected for calling the place where I lived the wrong thing. I think most of us who live on campus are old enough to decide for ourselves whether we prefer to say dorm or residence hall.

Chris Taylor---Senior Electrical Eng. Major

This letter is copyrighted 1992 and I retain this copyright. You may freely copy it as long as this copyright notice remains intact.