jeanne mance is high

by addisonschwarz

Jeanne Mance. A perfectly average name for a building that was never meant to be known to the vast populous. Unfortunately, the behemoth has been shoved into the limelight this past academic year. In it’s conversion to an isolation dorm, it’s hard to imagine it as an actual university-sponsored residence hall. I can imagine in its conception in 1962 the architect was likely attempting to create a home that restored the former glory of the Roman coliseums, not build a pandemic quarantine prison. At the very least it was definitely meant for a time when kids were able to socialize or make out in hallways if they felt so inclined. 

In my endless speculating about the origins of this building, I decided to do some research and see if I could find the architect. Alas, their name is conveniently missing from the “timeline of UVM architecture” webpage, so we are left to theorize what was going through the madman’s head. However, I think it’s fairly obvious, the genius designer was simply an accomplished stoner. 

Oddly enough, most of the questionable architectural choices have occurred in the bathroom. Allow me to give you a run-through of the mysteries that lie within these sanctities of “sanitation”. Upon walking through the gendered doorway you are immediately faced with a bathtub directly opposite the door. Just one, after all this is a communal place. I can only imagine this was a result of a weed-induced power thought to include jacuzzis in the bathrooms (later to be shot down by some lame-ass UVM advisory team, thus settling for bathtubs). 

addison schwarz

An even weirder aspect of the room is the graffiti covering the stalls. Upon careful investigation, it’s clear that all of it is from 2017, despite the building existing for 50 years before that. Clearly, the only possible explanation is the architect snuck back in one night after one too many hits. They defiled the bathrooms with “RIP Harambe” sentiments and poems about how Tom Brady is the scum of the earth. I’m assuming these interior design alterations were planted because there’s no way anyone has had an organic thought about Tom Brady since 2017 (harambe on the other hand holds a constant presence in my psyche). 

Additionally, I believe in moments of clarity, when the smoke cleared, that the architect was looking out for their fellow stoners. For example, the out-of-place bathtub has a window about 6 feet up directly in the middle of the wall. The genius knew that even decades into the future kids would need a surplus of windows to smoke out of and nothing is more inconspicuous than standing in an empty bathtub. 

Lastly, in the communal showers, there is a cut-out that looks perfect for placing a bar of soap. Yet, no one in their right mind would use bar soap let alone place it on a communal shelf! Instead, I propose this is a place to rest your joint while showering. Lord knows eventually you gotta use two hands to scrub something down and those new to shower smoking might need a place to set down their precious cargo. 

Thus concludes my analysis of the glorious mound of concrete some call home. I’m certain I have not covered all of the oddities that lie within that building, these are just what I was able to observe in my 5-day stint in the fall of 2020. If you ever find yourself in Jeanne Mance, I implore you to take a look around for yourself and see if you can find any more traces of the designer. While we may never know their name, their spirit can be felt with every bong rip, and if you look closely enough sometimes the smoke will take the shape of a vaguely human form. The constant stench of weed will forever be an homage to the architect who was definitely not-sober while designing our lovely Jeanne Mance.

Categories: April 20th 2021, around town

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