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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

A definitive ranking of the Commons Houses’ signature events

After visiting all of the Commons Houses’ signature events, we compiled descriptions of each one to establish a definitive ranking.
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Alexa White
A group of students share a large sandwich at a Commons signature event. (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

As the weights of academically rigorous work and balancing a social life amalgamate into a stressful lifestyle, the prospect of free food after a long day is always a draw-in. For first-years living on Commons, one of the most convenient places to save a meal swipe is a house signature event. These events serve as a study break and a time to mingle with fellow first-years from across Commons. First-year students are elected to their House Programming and Advisory Council (HPAC) by residents to help lead these events, among other responsibilities. Over the past couple of weeks, we ventured across Commons to bask in the free treats and see which of the 10 study breaks will be crowned the best of the best.

10) Hankerings

Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m. CST

Our first study break is Hankerings hosted by Hank House. Hankerings receives about 200-250 people on average, which is significantly more than all of the other Commons Houses signature event attendance. Due to a calculus exam the next day, Hankerings gave out bags of chips and sweet tea so people could just grab something on their way to study. Even though this gesture was considerate, the idea of a grab-and-go stop in the lobby defeats the purpose of a study break, since it takes away the social aspect of the event. We acknowledge that Hankerings is likely to be a more social event in other weeks, but we unfortunately had to push it to the bottom of the list for this week. 

9) West Fest

Wednesdays, 8:15-9:15 p.m. CST

Next on our study break journey is West Fest. Offering delicious chocolate chip waffles with syrup to satisfy breakfast lovers, West Fest certainly covered the cuisine right. However, due to a lack of guests and overall West pride, this study break left us craving a stronger sense of community. We unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy the outdoor events and yard games West Fests typically offer, and these activities definitely would have contributed to a better atmosphere.

8) Murray Munchies

Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 p.m. CST

The first thing we noticed about Murray Munchies when we walked into the lobby was the loud music coming from a speaker. This feature seemed to be both a pro and a con: A hangout is always better with music in the background, but in this case, it was so loud that it made it hard to have a conversation without our voices being drowned out. Although the selection of Domino’s Pizza varieties was a delicious second dinner, Murray lost points for the overly loud music and lack of originality. 

7) East Treats

Mondays, 8-9:30 p.m. CST

East Treats was held in the Faculty Head of House’s apartment on the ground floor of East House. This setting provided a comforting, homey environment to which college students aren’t often privy. However, the downside of this location was the lack of accessibility, especially for non-East residents. Neither of us are from East, and when we entered the lobby, we spent about 10 minutes hovering near the couches and checking East’s Instagram page to see if they’d publicized any information about the location (they hadn’t). However, the event itself was characterized by a relaxed atmosphere with former East residents and now-upperclassmen giving first-years advice about everything from academics to social life. East also gets bonus points for having special homemade bread from Elizabeth Meadows, the Faculty Head of House. 

6) Gillette Gelato

Mondays, 8-9 p.m CST

Contrary to its name, Gillette Gelato doesn’t always serve gelato. In the past, they’ve dished out everything from sandwiches to hot chocolate. But, on the night we attended, Gillette provided a multitude of ice cream flavors—something that other houses don’t generally do. They even had chocolate chip cookie dough, both of our favorite flavors. Gillette Gelato took place in a relatively hot seminar room in Gillette, which wasn’t the most comfortable location. Upon talking to the Gillette HPAC officers, we learned that Gillette sometimes hosts student organizations, such as Hidden ‘Dores, during its study breaks. Its biggest leg up compared to the other houses was that the HPAC officers emphasized their goal of constantly trying to improve the study break by getting new food and board games to entertain the attendees. After making these improvements, Gillette’s signature event has the potential to move up the list.

5) Sutherland Social

Mondays, 8-9 p.m. CST

Out of all the Faculty Heads of House, Sutherland’s Dr. Chezare Warren was definitely the friendliest. Although attendance was sparse the day we went to Sutherland Social, bonding with him over being Northerners definitely made up for it. Sutherland Social’s hallmark activity is the coloring pages in the seminar room that make you feel like a kid again. On top of this, they’ve also had other events like cookie decorating. As for food, Sutherland Social offered cupcakes and cookies, and the HPAC officers even pushed us to take extra treats to go. Overall, Sutherland had great vibes and a perfect mix of throwback songs and current tunes playing over a speaker, making it fifth on our list.

Student adds to the chalkboard wall in North House during the signature event, SNorthasborg, as captured on Nov. 16, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
Student adds to the chalkboard wall in North House during the signature event, SNorthasborg, as captured on Nov. 16, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan) (Laura Vaughan)

4) Crawford Hive

Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 p.m. CST

On the walk back to Commons from our evening chemistry lab, we always pass by Crawford Hive. This study break has a great ambiance and tons of energy, with cornhole, frisbee, spikeball and other games every week. In fact, they even had a light-up frisbee! Additionally, this study break featured colored lights and a great selection of music. The food choice wasn’t anything special compared to the other houses, but the spirit of the people compensated for this flaw to make Crawford Hive a very enjoyable experience, even for non-Crawford residents.

3) S’Memorial

Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m. CST

The name doesn’t lie—Memorial House has had a fire pit and s’mores ingredients laid out every Wednesday night. There’s something homey and warm about a fire pit that reminds us of Fourth of July celebrations, weekend get-togethers with hometown friends and cuddling up with hot chocolate in the winter. In addition to this happy feeling, Memorial adds an element of excitement with its brightly colored strobe lights and pop music. It’s the perfect place to go on a Wednesday night, whether you feel like jamming out to some good music or reminiscing on wholesome memories. 

2) StamSweets

Tuesdays, 9–10 p.m. CST

Our visit to StamSweets was an anomaly compared to the rest of our experiences in the other houses. After talking to the HPAC officers from Stambaugh, it appears that StamSweets receives 160 people on average. On the night we attended, despite there being only one flavor of ice cream (vanilla), there must have been more than 200 people. The line even went out of the lobby into the hall, almost reaching the other side of the building. We both recognized many non-Stambaugh students at the study break, but this didn’t stop the environment from radiating some Stam pride. With great music, a dog sitting next to the line for students to interact with and copious ice cream toppings, StamSweets was hard to top.

1) SNorthasborg

Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 p.m. CST

Although we just said StamSweets felt hard to top, SNorthasborg proved that it wasn’t impossible.

A smörgåsbord in Swedish refers to a Nordic buffet with an array of traditional Swedish dishes. In English, a smorgasbord is a buffet of a variety of dishes, not necessarily of Swedish origin. This definition accurately describes SNorthasborg, but North’s study break is much more. SNorthasborg was hands-down the most unique of the 10 houses’ study breaks, bringing everything to the table with its light-up speaker, a fire pit and Pitbull songs to boost the mood. 

Instead of marshmallows, we roasted cinnamon rolls and Pillsbury dough over the fire—a unique experience for sure. North House also definitely wins in the hospitality competition—everyone there was approachable and welcoming to the non-North residents present. We owe a huge shout-out to the HPAC president for offering to throw away our wooden roasting sticks for us on our way out and wishing us a great night. As the smorgasbord-inspired name implies, SNorthasborg lives up to having a cornucopia of food. An Instagram post by North House on Nov. 9 even states that there was a colored chocolate fountain for that week’s study break!

North House HPAC welcome fellow housemates and students to their signature event, SNorthasborg, as captured on Nov. 16, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
North House HPAC welcome fellow housemates and students to their signature event, SNorthasborg, as captured on Nov. 16, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan) (Laura Vaughan)

The beginning of the week is always the hardest to get through with the prospect of the weekend seemingly ages away. With delicious treats, high spirits and new friends hanging out at the house signature events every Monday through Wednesday night, what’s not to love? Even though we have our personal favorites, we can promise you that each signature event guarantees a well-deserved break and a good time. 

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About the Contributors
Isabella Bautista
Isabella Bautista, Life Copy Editor
Isabella Bautista (‘26) is double majoring in mathematics and psychology and minoring in biological sciences on the pre-medical track in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Easton, Pa. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found spending hours alone in a piano practice room, photographing Vanderbilt squirrels with her Canon camera or poring over research papers in the lab she works in. She can be reached at [email protected]  
Aiden Salk
Aiden Salk, Former Staff Writer
Aiden Salk ('26) is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Spanish in the College of Arts and Science. He is from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Apart from The Hustler, Aiden loves learning foreign languages, exploring new music and is always open for a game of tennis or ping pong. Aiden can be reached at [email protected]
Alexa White
Alexa White, Former Graphics Director
Alexa White ('23) is from Traverse City, Michigan, and is double-majoring in secondary education and English. When she isn't writing for The Hustler, she is probably teaching, reading or creating art. After graduation, Alexa plans to be an English teacher and hopes to inspire kids to love reading, writing and exploring their creativity in all forms. She can be reached at [email protected].
Laura Vaughan
Laura Vaughan, Senior Staff Photographer
Laura Vaughan (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science studying mathematics and economics. When not out on an assignment for The Hustler, she can be found studying in the Schulman Center, having lunch at Frutta Bowls or trying to clean her file structure. She is available at [email protected].
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H
heehee
1 year ago

GOOD JOB!

H
heheheha
1 year ago
Reply to  heehee

Thank you ?