Shedding some light on the hill

Tufts, like so many other colleges, is located atop a hill. Although the vast majority of Tufts students, faculty, and staff simply know it as “the Hill,” University tour guides claim that its official name is Walnut Hill.

While the hill undoubtedly plays an important role in shaping each Jumbo’s college experience, I would argue that it most greatly affects the members of the debate society. They of all people should be thankful for the Hill.

Without it, our thriving debate society would never have been able to reach its current level of international prestige. For it is the Hill that enables the debaters to hone their skills by arguing about the most divisive issue on campus: the legendary uphill-downhill feud.

Whether the topic of conversation in the dining halls or in a foreign language class, the hill is always on students’ minds. And in contrast to most other subjects, Tufts students do not drift to the middle when voicing their opinion about the Hill. Like New Yorkers are with the Yankees and the Mets, you’re either uphill or downhill, but never both.

I for one am sick and tired of the hullabaloo surrounding the Hill. That’s why I have decided to set the record straight, once and for all. The following analysis is the product of three and a half years of grueling work and countless hours of research. So, without further adieu, I give you my definitive study of…THE HILL.

Issue #1: Food. Dewick, Hodgdon, and the Campus Center comprise the three downhill eating establishments while Carmichael and Trios are both located uphill. Despite Carmichael’s stir-fry, Belgian waffle, and omelet specialty nights, the centrally located Dewick is undoubtedly the superior dining hall. Providing more options, better quality food, a larger physical space, and an alcove, you’re more likely to find an uphiller at Dewick than to find a downhiller at Carmichael.

With a newly renovated patio, equipped with outside tables and scenic landscaping, not to mention a cool secret tunnel that connects to Dewick, Hodgdon take-it-away gets the obvious nod over Fletcher’s Trios. Hotung Caf?©, the Campus Center Commons, and the student-run coffee shop, The Rez, can all be found in the Campus Center. I highly recommend the Rez’s day-old muffins, the Commons’ sun-dried tomato spread on deli sandwiches, and Hotung’s chicken parmesans (but be prepared to wait half an hour and try to hold back the laughter when they ask the moronic question, “do you want sauce with that?” Who doesn’t want sauce on a chicken parm?!).

Advantage: Downhill.

Issue #2: Dorms. Just to let you know, I am using the library as the uphill/downhill divide. Thus, uphill is defined as Miller, Carmichael, Houston, Wren, Hill, Hillsides, West, and Carpenter House, and downhill is Lewis, Hodgdon, Tilton, Haskell, Bush, South, Latin Way, Stratton, Metcalf, Richardson House, Wilson House, and all of the specialty houses. As uphillers have the pleasure of rolling out of bed and walking 25 yards to class, downhillers are forced to make multiple trips up and down the hill each day (Note: Avoid the deadly hill to the side of Hodgdon at all costs! Each week I see at least three downhillers hunched over, gasping for air as they attempt to ascend this mini-Kilimanjaro). Uphill loses points as a result of the rampant Wren bugs, but wins them all back thanks to Miller, the most social dorm, Hill, the dorm with the largest rooms, and most importantly, the oh-so-desired West, host of the Naked Quad Run. The only real redeeming quality of downhill dorms is that they are closer to the Campus Center, Dewick, and Davis Square and hence, the rest of Boston. Honestly though, how many times a week do you go into the city?

Advantage: Uphill.

Issue #3: Random Buildings and Facilities. Uphill’s Dowling Hall is by far one of the best additions to the Tufts campus over the last few years. The prominent white pillars are the trademark of the University’s oldest building, Ballou Hall. Resting at the summit of the President’s lawn, students walk past Ballou a minimum of ten times a day but never enter the building. Furthermore, most students have no clue what, if any, purpose Ballou serves. (In case you were wondering, the admissions office claims that Ballou houses the offices of the president, provost, and former provost Sol Gittleman.)

Downhill’s Aidekman Arts Center, however, is by far the largest and most important building on campus. Aidekman is made up of the esteemed Alumnae Lounge, the beautiful Remis Sculpture Court, the high-class Tufts University [Art] Gallery, Balch Arena Theater, and Cohen Auditorium, which is utilized to host famous guest lecturers, comedy shows, concerts, Cheap Sox and Hype shows, and the TDC, Spirit of Color, and Sarabande dance performances. Moreover, located below Cohen is one of the best-kept secrets at Tufts, the Music Library. Just as if you were checking out a regular book, you can browse through the Music Library’s extensive collection and take-out CD’s.

Advantage: Downhill.

There you have it. Finally, a decisive answer has been reached; downhill is superior to uphill. I understand that some people will have a hard time accepting this and that they may doubt my reasoning. But I stand by what I have written. Not only is it what I believe, it is also the truth. So, if you see any uphillers on campus, be sensitive to their feelings. Embrace them and remind them that it could be worse. They could be uphill members of the debate society.

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