During my freshmen year, I lived in Birnkrant, a dorm-style housing option open to admitted students who have received a scholarship. Birnkrant is USC’s honors dorm. It is located on the “North” area of campus, adjacent to a dining hall (EVK), 24-hour Leavey Library, and actually has a Starbucks inside the building.
Birnkrant also faces McCarthy Quad, which is a hub for a lot of USC events right outside your door, like Springfest, Conquest, and tons of tailgating before gamedays.
When I was considering my housing options, I worried that being in an honors dorm would result in having nerdy or competitive roommates and floor-mates. Visiting campus dispelled all those fears for me because I got to meet Birnkrant students and saw how social the environment was. “Eight floors of open doors,” is actually the motto for Birnkrant, referring to how open the community is. I felt this same atmosphere as soon as I moved in, and made fast friends with my three of my best friends, and coolest people I’ve ever met. I also felt like my floor had a really strong community, and I enjoyed always having the option to socialize with one of my forty floor-mates.
Now for the bad: Some of you may have heard that Birnkrant does not have air-conditioning, and this hurtful rumor is unfortunately true. You will burst into flames. (Kidding, but it does get uncomfortably hot for first two or three weeks of the semester). Honestly, looking back the heat literally opened us up as a community. The most effective way to keep your room cool is to open the windows and the door, which at the very beginning of the semester was actually a really effective way of physically keeping people’s walls down, and contributed to a much better freshman year experience for me as a whole.
Overall, some of my best memories from my time at USC happened on BK5, and some of my best friends were made in my freshman year dorm. I wouldn’t trade my freshman year dorm experience for anything, but I will say I know people who are this passionate about Parkside, and New/North, and Pardee, and Marks, and Fluor so I wouldn’t stress too much about picking the “right” dorm; it’s more about having the right attitude!
Fight on for shelter!Meet Maria