Having finalized their memberships for next year, special interest housing groups have seen the first glimpse of whether they will survive or suffer in the new era of freshman housing.

Because freshmen will not be able to live in special interest housing next year, groups have had to increase promotion and efforts to enroll upperclassmen in order to meet their quotas.

The Foreign Language Floor will no longer exist next year because it did not meet its quota, attracting only seven or eight people.

Junior Laramy Enders said he felt no one who applied to live there had a genuine interest in the floor ? they just wanted to escape the Graduate Living Center.

?Poor housing options combined with a diminished recruitment base has resulted in the loss of a truly wonderful organization that has been a part of campus life since 1984,? Enders said.

?I and others believe that the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the initial results of freshman housing. Basically our special interest housing has been screwed,? he said.

Enders said he received 10 e-mails from prospective freshmen interested in living on the floor and had to turn them away.

?Those that I have spoken with don?t want to be moved to Towers, the only option Res Life gave us when Tiernan was given priority over us and the sixth floor of SBA,? he said.

Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen said the floor simply didn?t have enough people. At least 16 people are needed for half a floor. A group needs core leadership and substantial membership to survive.

In the future, if the floor gets enough people who want to live there, Residential Life will work with them, Hazen said.

?It wasn?t an official decision on their or our part,? he said. ?We want them to survive.

Trial period

Senior Damon Dimmick said that Residential Life had initially set up a two-year trial period in which interest groups could adjust to freshman housing without penalty. Even if they could not fill their floors, they were to have a grace period of two years, he said.

Dimmick is co-chair of the Freshman Housing Implementation Committee?s subcommittee on special interest housing.

?I think it?s a tragedy that special interest housing is suffering due to freshman housing,? he said.

The Transfer Living Center, formerly the Interclass Living Center, will also be dramatically affected by the changes occurring next year.

?Our membership numbers are down slightly from past years when it has been half freshmen, half upperclassmen because ResLife asked that we only have 12 to 15 members,? sophomore Laura Cowan said.

TLC will be the third floor of Morgan Hall. Members are worried about not having their own space next year and having to share a lounge and kitchen with other groups, but Cowan said all the recruits seem genuinely interested in helping transfer students to become acclimated to UR.

The majority of members will be juniors next year with a few sophomores, but no seniors.

?We will always miss our 20 years of ICLC, but feel that we can make a new niche in university life,? Cowan said.

The International Living Center, on the sixth floor of Anderson Tower, is also feeling the sting of freshman housing.

?In the past, ILC depended on incoming freshmen to fill about a third of its 32 spaces,? said sophomore ILC President Hannah Kastenbaum.

This has caused ILC to recruit upperclassmen more heavily this year and to personally interview people to make sure that they really want to live there and are not just trying to escape less desirable housing.

ILC is retaining nine sophomores, nine juniors and three seniors. The floor is looking into revising its constitution so it can more effectively reach out to freshmen and retain its current members.

Hazen said he knows special interest groups are struggling with new recruiting concepts and fighting to keep their standards high.

?You can?t say they?re declining in interest or gaining in interest because the rules of the game have changed,? he said. ?This is a transition year for ResLife as well.?

Some groups didn?t quite recruit the membership they had hoped for, but are not experiencing major problems.

The Tiernan Project didn?t make its quota, but its 28-year history remains strong.

Community service

Moving to the sixth floor of SBA, Tiernan will be mainly comprised of sophomores next year, with more juniors than seniors.

Tiernan has not had many problems this year because most of the people it recruited are friends of the current residents, sophomore and Tiernan president Romeo Galang said.

Tiernan has its own housing lottery based on a point system in which people get a point for each community service project they attend. The residents see it as a perk that they get out of the housing lottery, but don?t use it to avoid less desirable housing, Galang said.

However, next year Tiernan will have to raise funds for the first time. In the past, the executive board of the Tiernan Project was the same executive board as the hall council, which guaranteed members the funding they needed. Next year, they will have to compete with other groups for funding from the Susan B. Anthony Hall Council.

Tiernan has not yet been told how they will be allowed to recruit freshmen next year, Galang said.

The Heath and Home floor will have 15 people next year, but it still has three open spaces.

The floor, on the ninth floor of Anderson, will have four sophomores, four juniors and two seniors.

H&H members will remain on the ninth floor of Anderson Tower. Sophomore and floor president Lina Nashif said she is excited about having an resident on the floor next year, who she hopes will help to enforce the substance-free rules.

Some groups have not had difficulty at all.

The Community Living Center has had no trouble filling its rooms. Next year, it will have one Take Five Scholar, seven seniors, eight juniors and five sophomores, with two spaces left to fill.

This was the house?s first year and in the future, it wishes to expand its numbers. Senior and house manager Kartik Srinivas said the group?s biggest concern is trying to avoid competition with Tiernan for community service students.

The Computer Interest Floor will have a full floor of 32 people next year and is planning on restructuring its recruitment procedures.

Junior and CIF President Chris Howell-Little would like to establish three types of members ? residents, non-residents and affiliates interesting in joining the floor ? all of whom would have access to the fastest computer connections on campus.

In the past, CIF has accepted 10 to 14 freshmen per year, but this year its makeup will be approximately half sophomores, one quarter juniors and one quarter seniors.

Freshman and CIF Director of Annual Affairs Rebecca Altmann hopes to break the perception that CIF members are just a bunch of computer geeks.

She said current floor members have a wide range of interests and that the majority of them are not even computer science majors.

Interest in Drama House is up this year. Every year it has 19 rooms to fill. Last year they had 15 applicants apply for 12 spots ? this year they had 19 applicants apply for 10 spots.

They even have a waiting list in case current house members change their minds about living there.

House manager Dave Howland is concerned that maintenance crews will be focusing on repairing Towers for the special interest groups and the Quad for the freshmen and pass by Drama House.

?I?m afraid that the Drama House, along with DU?s house and the CLC, will fall by the wayside and not get the attention they deserve as far as repairs go,? he said.

Next year, the house will have one senior, 12 juniors and five sophomores. You must have a huge commitment to the performing arts in order to live in Drama House, Howland said.

?The commitment to the house is rather intensive as far as participation a
nd

project planning is concerned, so if you choose to apply you know that

you?re going to have to work for your spot,? he said.

The Music Interest Floor has filled 28 of its 30 rooms for next year and turned some people away. Next year, their floor will be half sophomores and half juniors.

Sophomore and president Kevin Langlois said MIF plans to have Vice President and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett as a faculty adviser for their floor next year in order to ground them into the music department.

A concern for some MIF members has been that in the past doubles were always given to freshmen and now some members will have to live in doubles for two years.

MIF has also been working with other special interest floors in Towers in a sort of mutual support system between the special interest groups. Langlois looks at the bright side of the change.

?It forces you to look at your mission statement and evaluate why [your organization] exists,? he said.

Though the groups are fighting to adapt to the change, they feel that freshman housing is a detriment to their groups and to the community.

?My biggest regret is that future freshmen will not be allowed to choose to live in special interest housing until they are sophomores,? said Altmann, who lives on CIF as a freshman. ?I feel that freshmen should be offered the choice to live in special interest housing or on the quad, because it truly provides a unique opportunity to meet upperclassmen and learn about the university from a student?s perspective. Having a large number of upperclassmen around helps when it comes time to pick classes or figure out summer plans.?

However, they are working to make the best situation for themselves.

?The policy change will cause problems for and changes in all kinds of campus organizations ? that?s unavoidable,? Kastenbaum said. ?But, if it works ? and I think it might after they get initial kinks worked out ? it?ll hopefully create a fabulous unity and spirit in the Class of 2005. I think all groups, including SIH, will have to just help this happen with outreach programming. It?s too late to whine about the changes. Now it?s time to bear down, put our heads together, and make it work.?



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