50 Boys Found in Berg. Nobody in Trouble.

In early August, Northwood students received an email that made returning girls cheer. They were moving to the main building.  All girls would live on First and Second West and he Bergamin Dormitory would house younger males. The email from Dean of Students Mr. Gino Riffle said the change was made in order “to better serve our female population.”

dorm change

The announcement sparked mixed emotions among the student body. The Mirror spoke to a returning girl currently living in Main, a returning boy who lives in Berg and a faculty dorm parent in Berg.

Describing living in Main, Elise Loescher ’21 said, “It is a lot different than life at Berg. Although we’re still living with the same girls, it feels like I’m more unified with the school because I’m up at Main more and talk to more people this way.” Loescher said that when she lived in Berg, “after classes, I would always have to go down to Berg and change for sports, and then I would end up just staying there. So, I feel like I’m socializing a lot more, living here and, also, the rooms are a lot nicer.”

Even though all of the dorm rooms in Main have been renovated in the past year, Loescher says it’s not all good in Main. “I think it’s better, in most ways, but the bathrooms are a lot grosser…at Main. But I think it’s better because the rooms are bigger, and Berg is really dark in the rooms, whereas here, it’s brighter and nicer.”

In addition to bathroom renovations, Loescher has other improvements in mind. “I would love to have a water fountain on our hall because it’s inconvenient to walk all the way to the dining hall to get water, especially when our doors are locked and alarmed,” she said. “And even a printer so we can print off assignments easily,” she added.

Martin McDonough ’20 is in his third year at Northwood and lives in Bergamini as one of the Resident Assistants. He’s finding living at Berg enjoyable. “It is not as bad as I thought it would be. I actually enjoy being at Berg,” he said. “Being a junior at Berg is beneficial because, as an R.A, kids look up to me,” added McDonough, “and I like that.”

McDonough sees the amenities at Berg similar to those at Main. “Main is renovated now, which makes it a little better heat-wise. But other than that, I think they are pretty equal,” said McDonough. “The showers at Berg are the same as I remember up at Main. The beds are the same. It’s a little bit colder at Berg, but I don’t mind that. I think it’s also better for study hall. Nobody talks at Berg and it’s really quiet, which is nice.”

McDonough thinks moving the girls to Main could lead to trouble. “I think that the call that the administration made…was a bit risky. I wouldn’t have done it because I think the mixture with [the girls] and the boys in the same building just doesn’t go together. Something is definitely going to happen.”

As much as he likes living at Bergamini, McDonough will jump at the chance to move back to Main. “If it’s possible, I would love to live in Main again,” said McDonough. I’m a third year junior right now, so I think when I’m a senior next year, it will be great for me [to live in Main]. I love Main and its community. It’s also easier to go to classes, or if I need to grab something in my room [during the day].”

Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul has been a dorm parent in Bergamin for six years and was apprehensive about the change. “I was nervous about having all the young boys there, but, for the most part, they’re incredibly respectful and really friendly,” she said. “And it doesn’t hurt that I have a three-month-old puppy. That’s been a really good icebreaker. I’ll hang out in front of the dorm and talk to [the boys], and they’ll play with the puppy. There’s a lot of really nice kids,” added Paul.

Dr. Paul praised the RAs for starting the year positively. “The RAs are doing a really good job. There are so many young boys here, so they have to be super active,” she said. “I’m really proud of them that they’ve taken a lot of ownership of the culture of the dorm–being leaders, hosting their own meetings…It’s important to have those older boys in the dorm.” Paul added, “I wish there were more [older students] there to be role models for the younger boys.”

Paul had a diplomatic response when asked if she would prefer to go back to girls in Berg. “I love both. I don’t want to choose…I think they are both great in their own respects,” said Paul.

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