Buildings earn reputations at BYU

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Freshman  hang out in front of the Cannon Center near Helaman Halls. Many buildings that belong to freshman housing hold alternate nicknames that come with the creative culture at BYU. (Chris Bunker)
Freshman hang out in front of the Cannon Center near Helaman Halls. Many buildings that belong to freshman housing hold alternate nicknames that come with the creative culture at BYU. (Chris Bunker)

Students are introduced to campus rumors and reputations for certain BYU buildings as they enter college. These reputations may affect where students sign up for housing, where they study and where they eat on campus.

Some students who have older siblings, friends or cousins hear about these reputations by word of mouth and mold their stereotypes accordingly.

Sarah Collins, a freshman currently living in Helaman Halls, decided her senior year of high school to live in Chipman from the advice of her older siblings. “My older sister had talked about Stover and David John being really social while Hinckley was really separate, kind of like a ghost town. I chose to live in Chipman because it seemed pretty neutral and my cousins loved living there,” Collins said.

Freshman Emily Watts who also lives in Helaman Halls, said she had heard reputations of each building but decided other factors were more important when making a final decision.

“Sure, there are halls, such as Building Nine that for years have been known as ‘The Tool Shed.’ … I’m not sure how these gained their names, but most of the building names are just catchy assimilation and have no meaning,” Watts said.

Collins and Watts both agreed that their friends perceive the David John residents as the “popular girls” from high school and the Stover residents as exclusive or BFFs.

(BYU Memes)
A BYU meme created by Mark Fillmore depicts different campus buildings and their stereotypes. (BYU Memes)

“The majority of girls in Stover came with their best friends,” Collins said. “They formed really close friendships within their hall and now even talk about wanting to form a secret sorority.”

Kylie Lewis, a former resident, said although most of the names given to each building have no actual meaning, a few do. “I’m not sure if the athletic department places all of the athletes in Building Nine for a reason, but it seems that they always end up there. These are the guys that tend to be a little more into themselves, more confident to ask girls out and, yes … much more likely to have an ample supply of protein powder stocked in their dorms,” Lewis said.

The Helaman Halls dorms may be the most recognized buildings with reputations and stereotypes. But they are not the only ones. The Harold B. Lee Library also has reputations for individual floors and sections within.

Students may receive suggestions or hear rumors about the best places to study or socialize in the library. The fifth floor has been known for picking up a good date and running into friends.

Mikey Caplin, a senior majoring in global studies, chose the fifth floor after returning home from his mission two years ago. Caplin became a frequent visitor to the floor and returned every day.

“The most effective place for me to study is completely alone in a cubicle … but I knew I would see friends on the fifth floor. It was 25 percent social,” Caplin said.

Students study on the fifth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library. The fifth floor used to be a more social area for students. Rumors about finding a date on the fifth floor still circulate today. (Stephanie Rhodes)
Students study on the fifth floor of the Harold B. Lee Library. The fifth floor used to be a more social area for students. Rumors about finding a date on the fifth floor still circulate today. (Stephanie Rhodes)

He never considers studying on the fifth floor this year; he studies in the periodicals on the second floor instead. He said the fifth floor became too noisy. “There was no excuse left of wanting to study there; it was too much. The fifth floor is like a black hole now. Don’t go. You will get stuck.”

The fifth floor has bbeen known for being a social hotspot in years past. This year it appears relatively empty. The periodical section on the second floor, however, is full, some would call it the “new fifth floor.”

Christopher Cutri, a professor in the communications department, teaches “the consumptive cycle” in his pop culture class. Cutri explained the cycle: “As soon as marketers find or represent cool, it’s not cool.”

This theory applies to the shifting social status of the library floors. Once the fifth floor was cool to everyone, trendsetters began moving to a different floor, and their friends followed.

Dave Wright, a sophomore studying business, said last year his friends recommended the fifth floor as the best place to study. Wright studied there all year last yea, but has not been back since.

“Last year the fifth floor was a more relaxed environment where you could meet a few new people and study together. This year, it’s like everyone has moved to the periodicals. Although it’s more quiet, it’s the same social atmosphere the fifth floor had last year,” Wright said.

The dorms and the library are not the only places that pull particular groups and maintain reputations. Campus dining options also have reputations.

Collins said she and her friends go to the MOA for lunch every Monday and often see other circles of friends similar to hers. “I feel like certain crowds of people go to the MOA to eat — usually girls that are more conscious of eating healthy and that want a Zupas environment,” Collins said.

Watts said guys and girls have different dining preferences. “If you want to go out to eat with guys, you go to the Cannon Center. If you want to eat out with girls, you go to the MOA.”

The Cannon Center has received some negative feedback among some women for serving “cafeteria food” and great feedback from men for having an endless supply of all-you-can-eat food.

Watts claimed that there is a difference in crowds between the MOA and the Cannon Center. She also stated that Blue Line and Jamba Juice are seen as “cool restaurants” on campus among most of her friends.

Other campus reputations connect the Tanner Building to Nordstrom department store because of how well dressed the business students are. The Testing Center lines resemble the DMV, and the Hinckley Tower bears a resemblance to Hogwarts Castle.

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