A dorm can make or break one’s college experience: the room layout, the bed situation, even the kitchenette — which may or may not incessantly smell like mac and cheese — all contribute to the flow of day-to-day life. One of the core parts of dorm identity is the dorm theme. With themed decorations ranging from “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” to designer brands, to Pokémon, here’s a guide to some of this year’s dorm themes:
In Neighborhood S, mainly comprising Wilbur dorms, themes generally follow music or video games. Junipero is Pokémon J-ro (Pokémon GO) and Cedro is “Cedrio Kart” (Mario Kart). On the way to Wilbur Dining, it’s easy to spot colorful paint designs, like “Arrrroyo” or “Okada Market” spelled out in the windows of dorm common rooms.
“It is mid,” said Cedro resident Sebastian Vasquez ’26, when asked about how he liked his dorm theme. Vasquez did not elaborate further.
The second half of Wilbur is in Neighborhood T. Its themes use various plays on words. Many point to Rinconada’s theme, “Rinckini Bottom”, as a clever one. Other puns include “Sotoulmates” and Otero as “Dinotero.” Trancos, the outdoor-themed house, chose “The Great Outdoors House,” a name closely tied to its residents.
Moving down the street to Neighborhood A (mainly Stern dorms) the variety is evident. 650 Mayfield, for example, chose a classic from the Riordanverse: “Heroes of Slav-Lympus: Son of Neptune.” Keeping with the theme of media, Casa Zapata dons the name “Into the Zapataverse,” and Sally Ride is riding the season four wave with “The Ups-Ride Down.”
Larkin’s theme, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” is one of the most popular among campus, with three dorms donning the name. Donner chose “Donneros,” after Domino’s pizza, a.k.a. the most frequently delivered pizza to campus (source: on calls). Burbank goes by “Goose-Burbs.”
Aileen Rubio ’26 details her thoughts on the theme: “Burbank’s theme is Goosebumps. I am impartial toward it. I feel like if the dorm was decorated to be a bit more spooky on each floor, the theme would be more immersive.”
Crossing Escondido Road is the heart of Neighborhood N. Branner, an all-frosh dorm with large corridors, has chosen “The Branny Awards,” with personalized music themes per hallway.
Indira Rosado ’26 is a fan. “I love that each hall has a different theme (genre of music) and that it relates to the people they house. Branner people love music, so it ties in really well as a whole.” Next door, Crothers, or “Mount Crolympus” pulls from Ancient Greece for its decoration.
Milo Golding ’26 likes the theme because it “isn’t too overwhelming. It is minimalistic and comforting, allowing Crothers to be a safe haven.” The upperclassmen counterpart, Crothers Memorial, has also chosen a classic: fairy-tales.
With their theme, Crothers Grimm, the dorm has decorated each part of the hall based on a different fairy tale written by the famed German authors. “Roth-punzel” (Roth) also pulls from a fairy-tale. Haus Mitt, however, is inspired by reality, or at least reality TV, with its theme “Real Haus-Wives of the Row.”
Neighborhood F, based in Casper Quad, has chosen a range of themes. The Humanities-themed house, Ng, pulls from the language-learning app, “DuoliNGo”, for an on-brand theme.
Lantana’s theme, Hannah Lantana, is an intra-dorm favorite. Massiel Melian ’26 says it’s “nostalgic for [her] childhood years.”
Each floor in Lantana has a different subtheme: Hannah Montana, Montana (the state) and Wrecking Ball are complete with customized decorations.
Connected to Lantana is Castaño, or “Fastaño and the Furious.” Moving into Kimball, this dorm is one of two “Everything Everywhere All at Once” themes. On the Row, co-op Kairos has donned a sky theme: “Skairos.”
Moving into West Campus, Florence Moore Hall is divided into two: West Flo (Avatar-themed) and East Flo (Flomoo Farms). Alondairy and Cowdenal compose the eastern half of the dorm, showing off a cow-print exterior in their half of Florence Moore dining. Next door, Palomair, Gavilearth, Firelo and Watoro comprise the four elements best known in Avatar: earth, water, air and fire.
Gustavo Hernández-Luciano ’26 said that “it helps all of West Flo feel like a solid community, since each building is its own element. The decorations around the halls give the dorm a distinct feel.”
Neighborhood R, home to Lake Lagunita and Late Night at Lakeside, boasts a cornucopia of themes. Reaching for the sky, West Lag borrowed Southwest Airlines’s name for the year, becoming “Southwest Lag.”
Upperclassmen dorms Adelfa and Norcliffe respectively take on designer brands through “Pradelfa” and “Diorcliffe.” Row house Xanadu draws from the classic mystery cartoon in their take, “Xana-dooby-doo.”
The popular Avatar theme is no stranger to this neighborhood, as Naranja and Meier are named “Avataranja: The Last Meierbender.” Lastly, the African Diaspora-themed dorm, Ujamaa, has chosen Marvel’s most recent hit, Wakanda Forever, as their theme.
“Ujamaa Forever” seems to have been a success with its residents, as noted by resident Jaylon Jones ’26: “It’s relevant and trendy but also inviting. It uplifts and reinforces the ideals behind Ujamaa, a space for Black people and people of color.”
Neighborhood D, colloquially known as GovCo, hosts a colorful variety of themes. Robinson chose “Baskin Robinson” to decorate their tight-knit dorm. Right next door, Potter went the cinematic route through “Potters of the Caribbean.” Completing the all-frosh trio, Schiff went for “Schiff, Inc.” with a focus on BitCoin and entrepreneurialism.
“I like the dorm’s idea of Schiff Coin, where we get a certain amount of Schiff Coin if we complete some tasks. It’s interactive and fosters great community among the dorm!” said Samantha Dizon ’26. Not to be forgotten is the all-neighborhood EVGR-A, or Duan Hall, which has divided itself by every three rows, including “McDuanold’s,” “Twilight: Breaking Duan” and “Duan The Rock Johnson.”
Erick Rocha ’24, Castaño RA, reminisced on his time decorating Castaño.
“Coming up with a dorm theme name was a harder process than I thought it’d be because my co-staff and I felt it was important that the name we chose would have to be something that all of the RAs would be comfortable with,” Rocha said. “When I suggested the name I remember being super excited about it because I could already see myself designing the shirts with a car on it.”