Renovated Little Building welcomes freshmen to campus

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A move in assistant helps a freshmen move into a renovated Little Building. Chris Van Buskirk / Staff

By Flora Li

Decked in blue T-shirts and colorful makeup, orientation leaders danced on Boylston Street to welcome the first group of Little Building residents since its reopening.

More than 900 freshmen moved into the Little Building from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m on Monday and Tuesday. The move-in car line began outside of Piano Row on Boylston Street. 

Students went inside to grab their key, guest passes, and student IDs when they reached the Little Building entrance on Boylston Street. Then cars turned onto Tremont Street, and families could drop off their student’s belongings into carts. Move-in assistants and OLs who used the building’s freight elevators helped to take the carts to their room.

Resident Director of the Little Building Britt Locklin compared the move-in process to a well-oiled machine. 

“I didn’t see many backups, maybe a car waited for ten minutes at most,” she said. 

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Throughout the day, OLs shifted through multiple positions such as pushing carts, greeting families, and working the elevators.

“I love it,” OL Reid Berman said. “We get to greet all the new students and we get to meet all of them … so we know all of them even before orientation starts.” Berman is a sophomore and it was his first OL experience. 

An incoming freshman, Andrew Brooks, finished his move in with his family around 12 p.m. He said in an interview that he arrived at 8 a.m. and was surprised that the process only took four hours.

“I think it [the move in] is really well organized,” Brooks said. “The people that greeted me were so nice, and we got everything done really fast. We filled everything in four carts in five minutes.”

Brooks said even though Little Building was newly renovated and not yet finished, most parts of it were nicely done. The second floor of the Little Building is still under construction.

“I am so excited to live here and I cannot wait to start this semester,” Brooks said.

Locklin said the Little Building’s design is catered to first-year students. 

“If you are walking to the back corner of a floor, you have to walk through the lounges or the cross-hallway, so you are going to run into people and be able to interact with people,” she said. “LB was designed with that experience in mind—the other buildings are great for older students that have established friend groups and social interactions.”

The Little Building features singles, doubles, triples, and one suite on each floor. 

Communal bathrooms are located on each floor. There are a female-identifying and male-identifying communal bathroom, and there is also an accessible and gender-neutral bathroom where one can close the door, similar to a suite bathroom.

Every odd-numbered floor holds a kitchen and two common rooms with desks and couches. Every even-numbered floor contains only three common rooms but also provides access to the lower level lounge via a small staircase.

Common spaces are either orange, green, or blue, Locklin said.

Orange rooms were designed as living rooms that have comfortable seating and social spaces. The kitchens, with stovetops, a refrigerator, and seating, are painted green. The blue rooms were designed as a quiet study space, with furniture such as pod chairs, which are semi-enclosed spaces.

Freshman Michael Isaacs said he likes the view through his window and clean carpets on the floor.

“I think that I am pretty lucky to have this [room] as a freshman,” Isaacs said in an interview. “It’s a historical landmark and at the same time it’s fully renovated.” 

Around 90 students live on each floor of the Little Building, which is more than the other residence halls, Locklin said. About 55 students live on each floor of the Paramount Center, 25 in 2 Boylston Place, 50 in Piano Row, and 50 in the Colonial Building.

Because of the higher volume of students per floor, there are three RAs assigned to a group of about 30 students, and they work as a team, Locklin said.

“We are trying to keep the team aspect in mind,” she said. “Ultimately, Emerson is a very team-oriented school, a lot of careers are not solitary experiences, [so] we are really trying to make a collaborative culture.”

Max Straubinger, a Little Building RA who previously lived as a resident in the old Little Building, said the new Little Building is more spacious and brighter than the old one.

“I felt like the whole building was falling apart around us while we were living in it,” Straubinger said. “But this is a lot nicer now. ” 

Straubinger said the Little Building now has common rooms facing Tremont Street, unlike the old ones which faced the Colonial Building. Also, the kitchens in the old Little Building didn’t have fridges or tables.

“When I saw the new Little Building, my first thought was, it looks like they took 2B and the old Little Building and combined [them],” Straubinger said.

The Little Building also features more social space on each floor, Straubinger said. There was only one common room on each floor in the old Little Building. He said even though it could be challenging to take care of about 90 students on his floor with two other RAs, the space would make it easier to get to know his residents.