Residence halls drop in numbers from low enrollment

Jackson Mortka , Staff Reporter

With the recent drop in enrollment, students no longer deal with the same competition to secure a room in their preferred residence halls as they did in the past.

Mark Hudson, the director of housing and dining, said with the decline in enrollment, on-campus housing has seen a uniform reduction in resident population across all buildings.

He said the makeup of each residence hall is reliant upon the hall’s “critical mass,” a term that describes the amount of people required for a hall to run an efficient hall council and to host events in the hall.

Hudson also said that in many halls, empty rooms have been refurnished to be used as common areas and study areas for students living there.

For transfer students, Stevenson Hall is a popular choice. Emma Ross, a junior health administration major, said her decision to request Stevenson was primarily because of the hall’s requirement of 60 credit hours.

“The hall requires 60 hours, or for residents to be at least 21 years old,” Ross said. “I didn’t really know anyone coming here, so it seemed like a more mature community.”

Additionally, the hall’s suite-style rooms and more private bathroom facilities are also major motivators.

Stevenson is a big draw for transfer students, but Taylor Hall also has a large percentage of students who are recent transfers.

Residents in Ford Hall cited the newly renovated facilities as a motivator for requesting to live there this year.

“The renovated bathrooms feel more adult,” said Resident Assistant Casey Kasperowicsz. “Residents don’t have to walk their significant other downstairs to the bathroom anymore.”

Many Ford residents cited the smaller size as their motivation for remaining in the hall from year to year.

Kyle Workman, a senior English major, said the hall has a more intimate feel than others, partially because of its size.

“Probably 80 percent of the hall council is people who were here last year,” Workman said. “People spend a lot of time in the lobby, and it’s easy to know everyone in the hall.”

Kasperowicsz said Ford has the second highest return rate for residents on campus, and attributed much of that to the community.

She also said this semester the hall is more close-knit than in previous years while each floor seems less communal.

Hudson said the decision to incorporate co-ed floor designs in McKinney, Lincoln and Ford has been approved by the residents of all three halls.

Hudson said the university plans to renovate the other residence halls in the North Quad to the more privatized bathrooms, including Pemberton and Weller, the last of the Triad buildings to have the more traditional style bathroom facilities.

Thomas Hall RA Marino Castillo said students respond to a generally positive environment in a residence hall.

This is achieved by having good RAs in residence halls, Castillo said.

“When I was an RA at Douglas, we had a lot of RAs who were about making the dorm experience fun for residents,” Castillo said. “I saw a lot of repeat residents from year to year.”

Jackson Mortka can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]