College Lodge has been many things — a hotel, a historical landmark, a geek culture hub and one of the most coveted dorms at the College of Charleston. The character and distinctiveness of this elusive residence hall cannot really be summed up into words, but the most accurate description I received my freshman year was that it is “the projects of the College of Charleston.” Lodge sits on top of the College’s overpriced bodega, Market 159, has graffitied ramp featuring a crazy alien, an Obey brand building art by Shepard Fairey, rooms with questionably operational fixtures and is equipped with a basketball court and grilling area combo. While these quirks make it hard to believe that College Lodge is even a real place people pay to live, these features and more make it the most requested dorm on campus.
Upon receiving a golden ticket to my residency at the Lodge, I was glad to know that I was going to fit right in. Lodge houses an eclectic mix of CofC students ranging from nerds and geeks to hipsters and outsider queers. I fell into the latter two categories. Maybe it’s because all residents share such a small community space or because all the residents seem like former high school rejects that College Lodge has such a strong community.
“Lodge is so weirdly unique due to its community. It may seem a little closed off from others on the outside but it’s fairly similar to a fraternity I would say,” said Rashad Thacker, a fourth-year resident and worker at Market 159.
While Lodge is intended to be a freshman dorm, Thacker and many other upperclassmen prove that a low price and good community makes it hard to leave. In fact, College Lodge has the highest retention rate of any CofC dorm. Thacker has also been the “big brother” of the dorm, teaching everyone in the game room about what makes a good anime and the philosophy of being a Drake fan.
Those freshmen who are lucky enough to land a room in the dorm learn that they can never really know what to expect. “The nerds, the geeks, the outsiders of normal society come to Lodge, full of dungeons and dragons, anime, passive aggressiveness and friendship,” said loveable first-year resident and burly-voiced-slim-jim, Abram Stewart.
These newcomers also learn that they are walking in the path of famed former residents…who make regular appearances in the game room after their departure. “There are power rankings within the Lodge community and crew of people that lead things from within,” said Thacker, “It’s fairly easy to insert yourself into the Lodge community, you just have to be comfortable with yourself.”
College Lodge may be the most disjointed environment in all of Charleston, but it has given students a sense of unity. “It’s the place where I met my best friends” said Thacker. “To me, Lodge isn’t just some ‘grody old building’ as I’ve heard some perspective freshman label it. It has given me a home and a family.”
Lodge reminds us through the fire drills, communal kitchen and endless Smash Brothers matchups that once a Lodger, always a Lodger. “I picked Lodge randomly, but I think it was fate,” said Stewart. “At Lodge I have found friends, a place to spend my free time and the time I should be doing something else, and a place to embrace my inner nerd. Lodge has made my first year here unforgettable.”