2018 has been year of fresh starts and new-beginnings over at the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter house. Decade-old disciplinary sanctions have been lifted, large-scale renovations/donations have been procured and substantial membership growth has been achieved. And yet, amidst all of this excitement, there is one new development in the big red house on West Broadway that has gone tragically overlooked. I’m talking of course about the grand re-opening of the infamous basement bedrooms.
Uninhabited (by humans) for the past year or so, the two bedrooms in the Lambda basement had slowly evolved into two quasi storage units, resembling a cross between a thrift store and a dumpster. Not all living situations in college residence halls or chapter houses are created equal, and to the untrained eye this particular living environment appeared especially underwhelming. However, not unlike Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side, where most people saw a lost cause, I saw untapped potential.
And now, after two professional cleanings, three repainted walls, and 100% new
furniture, people still ask me how I do it. They say, “Caleb, why would you willingly subject yourself to such a living environment?” or “Caleb, how do you sleep? Caleb, how do you study?” My answer to all of the above is, simply put, easily.
And trust me, if it weren’t easy I wouldn’t do it. I seriously could have chosen to live in any number of other rooms in the house. I just genuinely knew that it wouldn’t be as bad as people assumed. That, and we needed someone to live down here in order to fill the house and I was absolutely positive that nobody else would volunteer themselves as tribute. Which is understandable, however, it’s really not that bad. In fact, it’s pretty great. Here’s why.
- It’s the biggest single in the house. I’m barely joking when I say that even with all of my furniture in the room, there’s still enough space to play a modest game of Spikeball.
- Five-ish days out of the week, it’s the quietest part of the house. On days when the basement isn’t being used for good old-fashioned organized fun, it’s actually very peaceful. Most of the socializing and foot traffic during the week is concentrated on the first two floors.
- The room is uniquely receptive to DIY projects. Since it’s the basement, people don’t really mind if you make the space your own. Our house is privately owned, and I personally like to paint stuff, even though I’m bad at it, so it’s a great space for me to flourish creatively. So, if you want to live somewhere where you can paint your walls with minimal (or in my case nonexistent) repercussions, the basement is a perfect place to be.
I spoke to an alum from the 90’s who told me that back in his day the guys who lived in my room were known as the “lords of the underworld.” To me that sounds scary, kind of aggressive and incredibly dark. I do appreciate the energy though. In fact, our very own Joe Gurreri used to live down here! What a guy! Either way, I’m happy to report that the “underworld” is back and better than ever. So please, allow me to assuage you of your concerns. The basement boys are alive and well.