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Beauty in the Dirty Berg

April 8, 2010

Cameron Hanson and Gloria Chang
Beauty in the Dirty Berg

You may know it as the "Dirty Berg," but John Faranda has made it his mission to infuse aesthetics into Berger's reputation. Thus, on Wednesday night, March 31, John hosted the annual Berger Hall Dorm Decorating Contest. Along with Dean Spellman, RA Ruth Calvillo, and SLC chair Grace Cowan, the judges went door to door to assess design implementation. Some Bergerites were all prepared. They had the mood-lighting ready and the air fresheners sprayed. Meanwhile, others greeted the judges in their boxers or had clothes spread out across their floors like a bomb went off! The judges took notes and ultimately awarded four rooms with the following honors (and accompanying prizes!)

Best Overall: Kelsey Rose Weber '13 and Laura Daugherty '13  Prize: Dinner at Elephant Bar

Most Economic: Emily Coleman '11  Prize: CMC Maroon Fleece Blanket

Messiest Room: Brittany Taylor '11   Prize: Target Gift Card for cleaning supplies!

Best Use of Technology : John Oliphant and Nick Rowe '13 / Prize: Best Buy gift card

The motivation behind it all? John Faranda summarizes: "Basically, some years ago someone came up with the idea that each dorm on campus should have a professor assigned to it. I think the alumni office received a donation or came up with a budget to support this. The professor was responsible for carrying out some event(s) with the assigned dorm that was not related to whatever their expertise was. So, for example, an economics professor could not do an activity related to econ. It was not very successful because professors didn't really want to do it and therefore had non-professors also participate, hence John Faranda being assigned to Berger. This idea only lasted for two years but John Faranda decided to stick around and continues to organize activities for Berger."

Here's a quick glimpse into the rooms that stood out.

Kelsey and Laura's room definitely gives off a laid back vibe. Their room is richly decorated with warm colors, Tibetan prayer flags, music posters, and exotic tapestries. John Faranda was impressed with their use of space, and Dean Spellman was tickled by the school spirit displayed above Kelsey's bed nook.

Emily recently returned from studying in Brazil, but that didn't prevent her from making her room a statement of her personality. She won the Most Economical prize due to her bargain hunting prowess and ability to pair fun and colorful objects. "She has a very cute room," says Ruth Calvillo.

Scott Martin '13 wasn't awarded a prize, but his unusual room design and poster layout set him apart from the crowd. You don't have to worry about making your posters straight if you follow this idea.

Aanya Dubash '12 showcases another great example of simple wall décor. Grab your favorite t-shirts and memorabilia - and get started!

We'd love to hear your design ideas and see your room examples! Contact Gloria ( or Cameron (

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