Story by Sarah Fulton
Photo by Luke Nankivell
During the first-ever J-term, only one residence hall, Goodwin-Kirk, was open. The decision came after the committee reviewed student surveys on J-term committee member Lorissa Lieurance said.
“Once all the feedback was back it needed to be complied and reviewed,” Lieurance said. “The committee needed to be able to discuss what the outcome of it was and to create some recommendations.”
Committee chair Arthur Sanders said the decision will greatly benefit students and the main complaint about housing. Last year, students had to select a roommate that was also taking a J-term class, limiting their choices.
“It was constraining for students. Students who wanted to take J-term classes and had to live in the dorms did not have complete freedom where and with who they wanted to live,” Sanders said. “That probably had an impact on student’s willingness to take J-term.”
Sophomore Jamie Carpenter said she had issues finding enough roommates to participate in J-term.
“The problem was that they required you to have two people that were doing J-term per room. So that was the biggest problem otherwise we would have been fine,” Carpenter said. “It was just me at first, and finding another person was difficult.”
For this reason, Carpenter was pleased to hear about the changes.
“I think it is good because last year it was really stressful,” Carpenter said. “I think freshmen year a lot of times you do not know what you are doing for rooming until right before.”
However, Sanders said the decision to only open one residence hall came after concerns about student “safety and environment.”
“There was great concern that you might get two people living in Carpenter and 60 living in GK,” Sanders said. “Residence halls with a small number of people (are) not the environment that you want.”
While the concern about environment is still there Sanders said that opening more halls was the only option.
“We did not have any way around it expect opening up all four residence halls,” Sanders said.
While students will benefit from the change Lieurance said there is a risk for the school.
“From the student perspective I am not sure that there are any negative aspects as it reverts back to how we have done it in the past,” Lieurance. “The impact for the institution is financial, the additional cost it takes to have additional halls open and to pay the staff that it takes to operate those buildings.”
The financial cost was a major factor Sanders said but how much it will cost is still unknown.
“In the end it was a question of financial estimate,” Sander said. “Opening up all four residence halls is going to raise the cost. We do not know how much, but not too much.”
The increase in cost will also allow for stream lining according to Lieurance.
“Tremendous benefit for the students and for the faculty,” Lieurance said. “By not having the restrains to one building that allows us to move it all to one registration session. Which I think is more time effective for both students and advisors.”
It could also allow for some students who do not take J-term to stay on campus.
“We may be able to allow other students, who are housed on campus, who have University Business to stay in their dorms,” Sanders said. “Basketball is in season. Athletics has had to put them up somewhere. At least many of the underclassmen athletes will get to stay in their room.”
Sanders said the larger effects of the change are still to be seen.
“We will not know any of that until registration,” Sanders said. “It is still a new thing we are still trying to figure it out.”