Freshman housing is officially moving. With this move comes a variety of programming changes intended both to strengthen the freshman experience and to give upperclassmen increased housing options. The Freshman Advisory Committee has developed the Freshman Fellows Program and Theme Clusters ? two innovative ideas that have the potential for success, but that need to be carefully implemented and monitored.

The Freshman Fellows Program will add a desperately needed element to the freshman housing environment ? maturity. “Role model” upperclassmen will aid resident advisers by providing information and guidance. The fellows will also promote interclass unity by serving as an introduction to upperclassman life. Adding upperclassmen will enhance rather than dilute the freshman experience. First-year students need guidance, and a single RA should not be the only source of support for a hall of 30 new students.

A potential concern with this program, however, lies with the willingness of upperclassmen to live away from their class. Next year’s sophomores may find a guaranteed single appealing, yet they are the current freshman class. These students hardly know life outside of their enclave on the Residential Quad, and members may be belligerent to the idea of leaving that bond. The program may benefit from offering additional incentives.

Theme clusters, similar to special interest housing, allow a group of six students to create a theme-based living environment for a year. Each cluster needs to find a faculty adviser, and inevitably produce a brief program for their hall or building to share their discoveries.

These clusters provide a creative outlet for students on this campus hoping to find a niche. As long as the program compliments rather than competes with special interest housing, every student should benefit from this unique opportunity.

We congratulate the administration on its willingness to answer the concerns caused by freshman housing. These new programs are an attempt to remedy complaints that the student body has loudly voiced. With time and careful observation, these programs could accomplish all they set out to do.



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