The Traphouse: What Remains of AUC’s Legendary Party Place after COVID-19?

By Ronja Boer

Illustration by Sabine Besson

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A prominent part of the AUC student experience is the dorms, where all of the university’s students reside. Over the ten years since AUC was founded, hundreds of students have passed through the dorm hallways. Rooms have been passed down generations, with many alumni leaving legacies behind, big and small. These legacies speak to the uniqueness of our bubble. They show students’ creativity, liveliness and most of all the fun they have. They are what makes AUC a special community.

Even more remarkable: the generations of students that have gone have made the origins of the legacies lost in time. Do you know who stuck those stickers on your door? Who decided to hang a collage of album covers in your common room? Who built that ingenious bed/closet installation in your room? These are some of the questions this series will find answers to, along with discovering the personal stories of AUC alumni who somehow left their mark on the dorms.

For many AUC students, first and third years alike, the “Traphouse” is a known phenomenon. Whether you have only heard the name said in conversation or whether you have passed by the door and were fascinated by the colourful exterior, you’ve likely encountered it in some way. The front door of room 1916 sports big letters spelling “THE TRAPHOUSE”, surrounded by a plethora of stickers. Inside, the glass wall separating the living room from the hallway is dubbed the “quote wall”, where random sentences uttered by visitors are noted and the bathroom is decorated with a collage of random pictures. 

Since her first year, Ruby Delaney, now a second-year Humanities student, has lived in the Traphouse. When she picked room number 1916 she wasn’t aware of the reputation of her future home. Today, she describes the house in one word: eclectic.

When Delaney moved in as a first year, there was a third-year student still living in an apartment who threw parties and introduced Ruby to the concept of the Traphouse: a welcoming place where parties and other get-togethers are held. When asked if she feels that she carries the Traphouse legacy on, she seems unsure. “I feel that we don’t really know what the partying culture here was like before COVID-19.”

Two people who do know what this culture was like are former tenants and roommates Iqra Nowshari – also known as Triqi – and Linnea Sinharoy. Both of them moved into the apartment in their first year, back in 2017. The two stayed in room 1916 for their entire studies at AUC and grew to be best friends. As different first-year students moved in and out, Nowshari and Sinharoy stayed. “I don’t think there was a clear beginning to the Traphouse,” Sinharoy says. 

The – now eclectic – interior of the room also wasn’t there when the two friends moved in. In fact, Nowshari describes it as “ridiculously empty, which made me feel pretty anxious, so I literally threw anything I could all over the walls.” This included hanging random posters on the walls and plastering the kitchen door with beer labels. Friends would often hang out in their room, until someone – no one remembers exactly who – called it the Traphouse.  “I used to really like trap music, mostly in an ironic way but also mildly unironically,” Nowshari recalls. After that she drew the name on the door and covered it with stickers.

Though the concept began with Sinharoy, Nowshari and their friends, after a while the room became well known for its “legendary parties”. Sinharoy explains “over time a lot of people saw it and came to know the room. The door was really iconic.” Both Sinharoy and Nowshari describe instances when people would know them or their room just because of the “legendary parties” they threw. “I would tell people that I lived in a four-person room and we sometimes threw parties and they would be like, ‘oh, the Traphouse?'” Sinharoy says. Later, it became a regular place for dorm sessions afterparties, one of which was so wild that, according to Nowshari, they had to throw away one of their couches because people had danced on it for hours. “There are so many incredible memories that I can think of from the Traphouse”, Nowshari says, “each party that we threw was iconic in its own way”.

Another iconic legacy of the Traphouse’s glory days is the instagram page ‘Trapnappers’. This page features photos of people who have fallen asleep on one of the room’s couches. Due to the flow of people hanging out in the room, even now people fall asleep on the futon. Photos of nappers are then posted on the Instagram page, now run by Delaney. For Sinharoy, this little joke reflects the heart of the Traphouse culture: “I like to think that we’re a welcoming community, everyone was always welcome to come and hang out with us”. The Traphouse hosted more than just great parties. The two “Traphousers” also celebrated a “friendsgiving” and organised many dinners in their living room.

What made the Traphouse unique compared to other partying four-person dorms? Sinharoy explains: “People often move out of four persons rooms after their first year once they’ve made friends to have their own room. Triqi and I stayed, so we could kind of built this reputation over time.”  The two became incredibly close through the room and made many friends.

The welcoming spirit and ideals of the Traphouse did not leave AUC when Sinharoy and Nowshari did. Though Delaney wasn’t able to throw the frequent “legendary parties” her predecessors did – largely due to COVID-19 and the lockdown —  she has kept the Traphouse door open for her friends to come over whenever they need some company.

Find the first two parts of the series here:

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