Penland Hall’s ‘Dirty Third’ lives on

Men on the third floor of Penland Residence Hall continue the reputation of being rambunctious. Ava Sanborn | Photographer

By Ava Dunwoody | Staff Writer

The “Dirty Third” of Penland Residence Hall continues another year through notoriously messy pranks, a tradition rumored to have begun back when it was an all-men’s dormitory. Nobody seems to know how or when it truly began, but the freshmen are continuing the legacy.

Mobile, Ala., freshman Parks Moore said he stayed with second floor Penland boys during one of his visits to Baylor and heard rumors of the floor above. He said that’s how he knew where he wanted to live the following year.

“It was where the most fun happened,” Moore said. “I’m a pretty outgoing person, so I really wanted to be around that fun.”

So far, Moore has stumbled upon hay bales stacked in the showers and an indoor slip and slide that went viral on social media. Past Dirty Third residents said there has been a toilet paper-wrapped Christmas tree in a third floor toilet, spilled kiddie pools in the hallway and many accounts of broken ceiling tiles.

McKinney senior Jacob Gerard is a Dirty Third legacy, as both he and his father lived there as Baylor freshmen. When Gerard moved in, he knew he was going to grow close to everybody through the “chaos of the third floor.”

During his freshman year, Gerard said the “favorite” CL of the Dirty Third was fired for employee misconduct. In revolt, “the third floor threw a riot,” Gerard said.

“Family-sized bags of cereal and every kind of trash you can imagine was thrown out from end to end of the third floor,” Gerard said. “You couldn’t walk without stepping on something. It was insane. It was like a revolution.”

Like this year’s slip and slide, Dirty Third shenanigans that break Baylor rules do not go unpunished. Moore said many students who headed the slip and slide went through disciplinary actions.

“We want to have fun,” Moore said. “We just want to do it so that it doesn’t break any rules or damage any property. Just harmless fun.”

Gerard said he is still friends with many of his Dirty Third hallmates and they like to reminisce about their first year. For him, living on the third floor became a “big sense of community” that brought together a group of men who were all going through the same experiences as new college students.

“Just to be able to come together and do these little traditions is something that can have a drastic impact on your freshman year and really help you get comfortable and learn to have fun and love the people around you,” Gerard said. “I think it entirely changed my freshman year and I’m very thankful for it.”

Especially in the year of COVID-19, Moore said, he is also thankful for the community he has found in the Dirty Third. As a freshman trying to have the full college experience during this time, dorm life is one of the few normalcies he gets to take part in.

“I’m glad that I got to be a part of the Dirty Third,” Moore said. “It’s been hard to find traditions that are still going on right now. Everything has been suppressed as far as our freshman year with COVID-19 restrictions in place, so it just presents an opportunity for us to have one more thing to make memories with.”