The university?s landmark decision to implement freshman housing on the Residential Quad has left many special interest housing groups struggling.
For all the freshmen to fit on the quad, the special interest groups that were housed there have had to move elsewhere. Freshmen will no longer be able to live in special interest housing, a factor which will sap away a sizable portion of the groups? memberships.
The Aug. 12, 2000 decision counters the Residential College Commissions? spring 1999 recommendations, which praised special interest housing as ?the cornerstone of the present-day campus community.?
But for some freshmen to live in special interest housing, away from the rest of their class, would ?undermine a single principle of residency,? said Dean of the College William Green, co-chair of the Freshman Housing Implementation Committee.
The decision springs from a desire to unify the freshmen as a class instead of immediately stratifying them by interest.
?We are trying to create a common experience for a whole class. Dividing them among different interests would defeat the purpose,? committee member and Professor of Political Science Gerald Gamm said.
But some groups are already feeling the sting of the decision. The Tiernan Project, Interclass Living Center and four Greek communities ? Sigma Nu, Kappa Delta, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Delta Tau ? had to move off the Quad.
The Foreign Language Floor will no longer exist next year because it did not meet its quota, attracting only seven or eight people.
?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,? said junior Laramy Enders, who lived on the floor last year. ?I and others believe that the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the initial results of freshman housing. Basically, our special interest has been screwed.?
Enders said she received 10 e-mails from prospective freshmen interested in living on the floor and had to turn them away.
Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen said at least 16 people are needed to make half a floor. If the group can attract more people in the future, Residential Life will work with them, Hazen said.
?It wasn?t an official decision on their or our part,? he said. ?We wanted them to survive.?
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. Dimmick was co-chair of FHIC?s subcommittee on special interest housing and speaker of the Students? Association Senate last year.
?I think it?s a tragedy that special interest housing is suffering due to freshman housing,? he said.
The Interclass Living Center, now the Transfer Living Center, will also be dramatically affected. The group has literally had to reinvent itself, changing from an interclass community to one that will help transfer students adjust. It will live on the third floor of Morgan Hall.
?We will always miss our 20 years of ICLC, but feel that we can make a new niche in university life,? sophomore and president Laura Cowan said.
The International Living Center, on the sixth floor of Anderson Tower, is also feeling the sting. It has had to heavily increase its recruitment procedures.
?In the past, ILC depended on incoming freshmen to fill about a third of its 32 spaces,? said sophomore and president Hannah Kastenbaum.
Some groups didn?t quite recruit the membership they had hoped for, but are not experiencing major problems. These include the Tiernan project, displaced from Tiernan Hall to the sixth floor of Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls, and Health and Home, on the ninth floor of Anderson.
And other groups have had no difficulty at all, such as Community Living Center, Computer Interest Floor, Music Interest Floor and Drama House.
Sophomore Rebecca Altmann, internal chair of CIF, thinks freshman housing is a detriment to special interest groups.
?I feel that freshmen should be offered the choice to live in special interest housing or on the [Residential Quad], because it truly provides a unique opportunity to meet upperclassmen and learn about the university from a student?s perspective,? she said.
However, groups 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 uavoidable,? Kastenbaum said. ?But if it works, it will 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.?