Part 3: Housing
Elizabeth Bonham, staff writer
The oversized incoming freshman class this fall saw Wilson “bursting at the seams” most clearly not in class or at work, but in their own bedrooms (or lack thereof). But with housing adjustments made by Housing already and a new Residence Life plan in the works for next semester, perhaps the positive results balanced the surprise.
When the new class arrived to begin the fall semester, some students found themselves without a place to sleep.
Director of Housing Sherolyn Hopkins had the solutions.
One option was for older students enrolled or transferring in to become day students, and live and work off campus.
Twelve percent of student population are currently day students.
Students were set up for temporary residence in the study rooms of dorms including Sunderland and the Ballfields, and in St Clair Guest House. By the end of the first week of school, said Hopkins, the guest house was empty of students. Some students elected to remain in the study rooms permanently.
According to Hopkins, by this time, students housed anywhere but dorms are not there for lack of space, but because of personal choice or because the spaces that are open will not accommodate the individual students. Numbers are not the problem, she says, because the matching of students is more complex.
In addition, two campus houses were opened up to make room for about twenty students each: Preston and Canon Houses. While these houses were opened to students this fall purely because of numbers, they will continue to stay open. Preston House had not housed students for three years. These dorms are themed to a communal purpose of their residents.
Currently, Canon House is Spanish speaking and hosts Spanish department events, while Preston House functions as a co-op.
Housing options like this that originated to solve an overpopulation issue have also opened up opportunities for students, and will continue into next fall in the regular dorms with changes in the Residence Life program.
Tawan Perry of Residence Life says his plans for next semester will take a “community-based approach” as the first priority. Perry hopes to continue a student-faculty dinner series that has recently begun.
In addition, Perry expresses a hope to get residents more directly involved in dorm life but “featuring talents of individuals in the programs.”
He mentioned the idea of skill trading workshops within the dorms to incorporate the uncommon abilities of students into existing programs.
What might have seemed an inconvenience early this year may prove to be a step in the development of community and the expansion of opportunity with housing on campus.