Despite undergraduate protests, UR implemented freshman housing in the 2001-2002 academic year, in hopes of promoting class unity and improving programming. I am part of the first class to live as one on the Residential Quad, and I have been part of the revamped program as a Freshman Fellow in both Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls and Gilbert Hall. I’ve seen this program from three distinct perspectives, and although improvements have been made, I believe freshman housing is far from the solution Residential Life intended it to be.

After the pilot year, it was apparent that freshman housing needed considerable renovations. Realizing this, ResLife did its best to heed the dissatisfaction. The creation of the Freshman Fellow program increased the presence of older students in the freshman dorms, and by relocating the program some singles that rightfully belonged to upperclassmen were returned.

However, all these “fixes” essentially did was move the real, inherent problem of freshman housing out of the Quad and into Sue B. Freshman housing still drastically inhibits integration amongst the classes – and this is becoming increasingly detrimental to the UR community.

ResLife programs, while excellent in terms of helping students become acclimated to college life, are far from an adequate means of networking freshmen throughout the university. There is just so much that a Residential Adviser, Freshman Fellow and D’Lion can do, no matter how committed they are to their roles. Three or four upperclassmen on a hall are simply not a replacement for 10 or 15, which was often the norm in mixed housing.

When this year’s senior class lived together on the Quad, upperclassmen were not only responsive but extremely enthusiastic about bringing the freshmen right into campus life. As each class lives separately for a year, this enthusiasm has disappeared. I believe that the most successful way to unite the student body as a whole is to fully submerse freshmen in the college community while at the same time providing support systems for adjustment. This has been hindered by freshman housing.

It is said that freshmen can meet and network with upperclassmen by joining clubs, organizations and groups. Not every student wants to join such groups, and a club is often only a small gateway into the UR community.

Freshman housing has essentially accomplished some of what it set out to do – create a strong, united freshman class. The overall picture, however, is continually being misinterpreted. Class unity has been achieved, but school unity has been severely compromised.

Sokol can be reached at jsokol@campustimes.org.



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