Thumbnail image by Maya Mukherjee / North by Northwestern

Weinberg first-year Dillon Scheuer ushered me through the corridors of Jones Hall to the laundry room. He apologized for making me wait, but it was a rare occasion: a washing machine was about to free up.

As he loaded his clothes into the machine and set a timer for 34 minutes (two minutes before the cycle would end, out of respect for the cutthroat laundry situation), he explained that there are only three washing machines in the whole building. In fact, the lack of washing machines in Jones inspired Scheuer to join the South Area Council as the dorm’s Building Representative.

The building is widely considered one of the unluckiest housing assignments on campus. Despite his grievances about the amenities in Jones, Scheuer and several other residents have learned to love their home and formed a tight-knit group.

“I think Jones could be miserable,” Scheuer said. “But we really have found a community of good people and dear friends.”

Scheuer said he did not rank Jones in his building preferences and was alarmed to read negative comments about it after getting his housing assignment over the summer.

Now, though, Scheuer and his friends on his floor in Jones call their group the “Jamily,” and lovingly refer to the dorm as their “Jome.” He said Jones’ poor reputation helped the Jamily bond.

“It was the fact that we were stuck here together and we learned to live with it,” Scheuer said. “The more people hate on Jones, the more we're like, ‘That’s our Jome!’”

Communication first-year Shreya Saini (another member of the “Jamily”) also said living in Jones caused her friends to “trauma bond,” especially because of Jones’ remote location.

“I'd say the fact that we're kind of isolated from everywhere causes people to bond,” Saini said. “Especially in the Winter Quarter, when you don't really feel like leaving your dorm.”

Bienen fourth-year Sophie Denhard is Scheuer and Saini’s Resident Assistant and said her residents in Jones differ from students she has RA-ed for in the past. The Jones residents have formed a friend group and regularly participate in her community-bonding events such as snack nights, she said.

“It’s genuinely really nice, hearing people talking in the lounges and seeing them out and about with other people on the floor,” Denhard said. “Seeing them do that was very fulfilling in a way I haven’t really experienced before.”

Saini and Scheuer both said the building is not nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. Since Jones used to be the Fine and Performing Arts Residential College, it has music practice rooms and rehearsal rooms. Scheuer touted these features plus the homey lounges and the “Great Room,” which is a large space with couches, a piano and a TV.

“No, this is not the Ritz Carlton,” he said. “The Four Seasons is not taking tips from Jones – but it is not that bad.”

Denhard also said that the conditions in Jones are not as bad as she had thought, especially due to recent renovations, such as the switch from manual keys to electronic keycards.

The Jones residents emphasized living there is what you make it, and it can be a great experience if you focus on the positive aspects.

“Granted, right now there's a plastic bag over one of the toilets in the guy's bathroom,” Scheuer said. “But, there's still three more functional toilets, and at the end of the day, it's about the toilets that work, not about the toilets that don't work.”