Res Life Adapts to House First Years

The Office of Residential Life and Housing, with the Big Class Planning Committee, allowed more seniors to move off campus, created more meal options and opened up space in Allison Hall to accommodate for an extra 128 unexpected students in the first-year class.

“My first concern when I learned that many more students deposited than expected was the residential experience of a large class,” Angie Harris, director of the Office of Residential Life and Housing, said. “We intentionally house first-year students together, and it was important to create a plan that maintained that programmatic priority.”

The committee devoted to solving the residential dilemma included representatives from Student Life Division, Facilities Management, Finance and Administration Division and the Division of Enrollment, Marketing and Communication.

“It was a committee and campus-wide approach,” Harris said.

Harris and the committee had to find new living arrangements for sophomores living in Conway and Buchanan, halls normally designated to first-years. Some sophomores were placed in Conway and Buchannan during the spring housing lottery, and Residential Life and the BCPC called for a second housing lottery over the summer to house the displaced students.

“We worked with Facilities Management to convert faculty [and] staff housing to student housing, and granted more seniors permission to move off-campus,” Harris explained. “That created the bed space to allow sophomores to go through a second lottery in July, where they picked a new housing assignment.”

After sophomores were redistributed, first-year students were placed into the open dorms in Conway and Buchanan, on floors that had only other first-years.

Residential Life and the Facilities Department were able to work together to find solutions for other campus-wide worries, such as dining hall space, social space and furniture.

“The committee created more social space in Allison Hall, developed an option for meals to be served in The Underground (with new furniture coming soon) and ordered additional room furniture,” Harris said.

Facilities and Residential Life work very closely together, but despite their close relationship the two departments are responsible for separate things on campus.

According to Harris, “Facilities Management is responsible for the physical spaces within the residential facilities and Residence Life and Housing is responsible for the students that live in those spaces.”