“Coming soon,” read the door to an empty studio on the north side of New College West. Just across the sidewalk, in cheerfully-lit Addy Hall, groups of students chatted, studied, or listened to the grand piano a classmate was playing.
“Everybody moved in this past weekend, on the third,” said AnneMarie Luijendijk, head of New College West, in an early-September interview with PAW. She beamed as she recalled getting the news that move-in was ahead of schedule. “When I saw that email, I read it twice. I was so happy!”
Luijendijk’s new home in the college was still under construction, alongside practice rooms, performance spaces, and a much-anticipated ceramics studio (the empty studio across from Addy Hall). Recently completed Feliciano Hall houses freshmen who moved in from temporary housing after attending orientation programs. Despite the ongoing work, many students seemed in high spirits.
“I thought it would be more unfinished and rough around the edges, but it’s been really nice so far,” said Charlie Nuermberger ’25. “The dining hall is crazy.”
Nuermberger is an employee of NCW’s Coffee Club location, which was slated to open Sept. 20 in the Commons of Addy Hall. He hopes the café will grow into a bustling community space for students living in the college; he and fellow sophomore Alessandro Troncoso said the Commons is already its most popular area.
“Sounds like the freshmen are getting a whole lot of mileage out of this piano over here,” Nuermberger remarked, gesturing across the room.
“We’re hoping it dies down,” Troncoso said.
Across the green, NCW’s sister college also had its fair share of spaces marked as “coming soon.” Head of Yeh College Asif Ghazanfar said he believes that the soon-to-be-completed outdoor performance space will be a hotspot of communal activity.
“One of the exciting things about starting a new college,” said Ghazanfar, “is that the students get to start new traditions and form a new culture through the activities and programs they choose.” Luijendijk agreed, pointing to the student-led transition committee that serves that purpose for NCW — and whose first mission was to elect a college mascot.
“They chose the fox,” said Luijendijk, referencing the famous campus fox often spotted slinking everywhere from New South to Firestone.
As for Yeh’s mascot, things are still unofficial, but Ghazanfar said he’s seen a lot of student support for the “Yeti.” Yeh’s college council began meeting in September to discuss programming ideas for the upcoming year.
In NCW, college staff carried over from the old First College, and so will some of its programming. Events such as Coffee in the Commons and freshman dinners at Luijendijk’s house are among those expected to return, but the rest of the college’s culture will be built from the ground up.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to form that, to be very deliberate about the way we want to be in making new traditions and finding out our identity,” Luijendijk said. “And, of course, because we’re so close — literally paired with Yeh College — we expect that our students will collaborate also.”
Walking around the two colleges, doors were closed off and sidewalks lined with orange tape. Even so, students hadn’t noticed an abundance of noise or construction teams in residential spaces (“Shockingly little,” said Troncoso). Though students were going to have to wait a few weeks for common spaces to open, dorm buildings are operational and staff are optimistic.
“Down the line,” said Ghazanfar, “I hope that everyone part of this first year at Yeh College remembers that they helped build a brand-new community.”