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Written by Mayra Sheikh
Caltech housing is a breed of its own when compared to traditional dormitories. The housing here is a hybrid of a fraternity/sorority house and regular dormitories. There are seven main houses and a few alternative houses. The seven houses are split into the three North Houses and the four South Houses. The South Houses are all interconnected and very old, built in the 1930s. There is a kitchen that connects them, and they have a student activities center (the "SAC") on the basement level. The laundry room is also in the SAC. The North Houses are across a brick walkway, the Olive Walk (named after all the olive trees that line the path), from the South Houses. The North Houses, a few decades newer than the South Houses, are likewise interconnected and have a basement where the laundry room and storage space is. The other houses, Avery and Marks, are less frat-like and a little more like normal dormitories. Marks is pretty small and was built in the 1970s. Avery was built in 1996 and is pretty large. Avery also houses graduate students and professors, as well as undergrads.
All of the houses have their own traditions, murals, slang, and somewhat of a stereotypical personality attached to them, but people in all the houses intermingle in classes and elsewhere (some more than others). The housing is sufficient; there are bathrooms and showers in at least every other hallway. All housing is carpeted, except Marks which has tiled floors. There are sinks in each room and built-in closets, or wardrobes are provided. The bad part about the houses is that some of them were built during the Hoover administration and are extremely outdated. Overall, students at Caltech love the housing system and often become attached to their rooms.
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