Rodney C (duh) as seen from Hillside Road, in May 2013“The Rodjects.” That was almost the name of this chapter.
Rodney opened in 1966, and was the first dorm complex with floor lounges and AC. The latter made it, like, way popular at the time, until Pencader and the Towers slowly started to steal kids away. And get this: the Rodney Mart space was supposed to be for a dry cleaner! As I understand it, the intention for Rodney was to almost be like a self-contained thing, with some classes taught on-site, various student services, etc. It simply didn’t work.
During the early '90s, UD did put some effort into amping up the place; new furniture in the rooms, overhauling the lounges, re-doing the courtyard and landscaping. All that stuff. Though, despite the efforts, you can only do so much with the detention center look of the place. But as with Pencader, there are legions of UD grads who have fond memories of Rodney.
From the Goodbye to West Campus event at Alumni Weekend 2015Goodbye to Rodney! After years of rumors -- and years of building new dorm complexes around campus -- UD finally confirmed that the 2014-2015 school year would be the final year for Rodney, Rodney Dining Hall, and Dickinson as well.
Many thought that UD would simply redevelop the land for other uses, but it turned out all the West Campus property would actually be sold off. As of this writing, the Town of Newark is the most likely buyer of the Rodney land, with a plan in place to reshape the property into a stormwater pond.
Rumor I: The guy who designed the Rodney Complex actually did design prisons.
Dude, this is: True, apparently…
“The reason why the Rodney dorms are zigzag in design, was because the builder was a builder for prisons. The builder used a similar layout to his prisons; the zigzag would help the guards catch anyone who tried to escape. That is also why the rooms are so small. I didn't find this out until '02 - '03, when I volunteered for DelaWorld, and was in the Rodney rooms answering questions for incoming freshmen.”
- Jackie L, UD '04
Rumor II: The “Rodney Bug” can survive a nuclear attack.
Dude, this is: True.
“I cannot, to this day, listen to Bob Marley without thinking about the Rodney dorms. I lived in an ‘Economy Single’ in Rodney A, in the Spring of '96. The university hosted a big cookout for us in the courtyard near the end of the semester. It was hot, and the smell of charbroiled burgers and hotdogs wafted into every open window. My guy friends from the third floor put their stereo speakers in their windows and blasted the ‘Best of Bob Marley’ CD. Whenever I listen to it, I am momentarily transported back to the time I spent in Rodney A, burning candles and incense illegally to mask the scent of another banned smoky substance, while chilling with a black light on.”
- Angela, UD '00
“I did laundry in Rodney E /F '89 - '90, and that trick of putting the dryer sheet in the coin slot was for real. I did a ton of free loads that year! I also would pull peeps clothes out of machines (mine were pulled out many times as well), but only after the cycle was done, and I was neat about it, putting the clothes on a table. Something else; some kind of ‘washer ball’ was introduced just before I started college. You threw this thing in with the wash, and it contained the soap and fabric softener in powder form. That damn thing ruined so many of my clothes. Why was it so hard for me to just use liquid detergent and liquid fabric softener? Sigh.”
- Stephanie, UD '93
“I lived in Rodney B in 1995, and it was a nightmare every time it rained! Going under the Rodney Underpass to cross the street -- you practically had to SWIM through it.”
(Digger’s Note: Yep, I remember seeing a trashcan or three floating in Lake Rodney!)
- Kristen, UD '99
Sleepus Interruptus: Train Yourself
“I think I lived in the corner of Rodney closest to the train tracks. But I did learn to sleep through it eventually, which was pretty cool.”
- Shannon, UD '99
“We had a massive Rodney bar crawl in the Spring of 2006, a couple of weeks before graduation...all of the people who were graduating who had lived in Rodney showed up. Like, hundreds of people! It was amazing, we all wore our bar crawl shirts with pride, 'We Survived the Wrong Side of the Tracks!'”
- Keri F, UD '06
“We found out that one of our friends was doing laundry down in Rodney…we decided to pull a prank, and I got my laundry bag from my room and took all his clothes. To say the least, he was pissed when he found out someone stole all his stuff. I told him that’s what he got for being so vain and buying expensive shit. Yay, for Goodwill! Anyway, I felt bad for the guy after about 20 minutes, and decided to give it back and paid for the dryer. He was mad, but relieved that all his underwear wasn’t lost.”
- Woody, UD '09
“Rodney was an animal house. We launched bottle rockets down the hall, puked on the carpet, left beer cans out, wreaked havoc on the girls upstairs, and generally disrespected everybody who ventured on our floor. This was a year of my life I will never forget. It was also the year when I failed out of college. It was insane. I was happy to move out, but I miss my room in Rodney C. I also remember selling my bowl to a janitor when I decided to clean up my act. How funny is that?”
- Chubbs, UD '96
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