Prior to my acceptance, and then move into the University of Connecticut this year, my mom, a former student, would refer to a place called "the Jungle". I never knew what she was talking about and kind of just glossed over it and acted like I knew what she was talking about. I lived in Towers for a few weeks, but after some complications with my former roommate, I moved into a different cluster of dorms, now known as North. After a day or so of finding out my new room assignment, I finally found out where she was talking about all along, but I still had no clue why it was called the Jungle
So, I set off to pursue more information about the topic and discovered quite a bit.
In the 1940's, America was starting to settle back into it's newly laid foundations post World War II. Along with this came a lot of young people looking to be educated and start their lives.
The University of Connecticut was no acceptation to that fact. In 1950 the University had built a total of 11 new dormitories to house the huge influx of future alumni that were eager to be Huskies. Many of these students were Veterans from the war that were attending the school as a part of the G.I. Bill.
Currently, if you find yourself in one of the 11 halls, you will have to brave whatever type of New England weather is being thrown at you to go into the laundry room, common area, or dining hall (with the exception of Baldwin and McConaughey Halls). When the dorms were originally built, however, they were not like this.
Originally, all of the halls were interconnected and shaped a whole, continuous "U" shape.
Imagine this, 1,000 freshmen with ease of access to each residence hall. Drunkenly stumbling to the wrong door, screaming through the halls, wild partied, and many other shenanigans birthed the name "the Jungle", a legacy that would live on for decades to come.
During the 60s-70s the next batch of vets from the Vietnam War had some interesting way to continue the tradition of partying. At the time, the Jungle was still freshman housing maintaining the reputation of crazy parties and such. To bring the craziness to all new heights, these Vietnam vets would disassemble their motorcycles outside, bring the parts indoors, reassemble and ride them through the halls. Talk about a joy ride.
It was almost as if each decade a new antics were challenged and it was left up to the newest Huskies to make their alumni proud in finding new ways to continue the tradition of insanity within the Jungle.
I have not been able to figure out when exactly the dorms were no longer freshman housing or when they were sealed off from each other. However, my mom attended in the mid-90's and was able to enlighten me. It wasn't until within the past twenty-ish years that they started doing housing truly by year level and the Jungle was still in it's prime of being open flow.
However, some time in recent history, the legacy of North has subsided quite a bit. When the building was still one large interconnected masterpiece, it was often hard for officers and other emergency services to get into the appropriate building and get to the source of disturbances and to reset whichever fire alarm got set off.
While the legacy of the Jungle will live on in the hearts of those who were able to participate in shenanigans forever, we can only hope and aspire to appreciate North in it's Golden Years.