Students encounter emptier residence halls


Olivia Swenson-Hultz

Olivia Swenson-Hultz | The Daily Eastern News Caroline Hochmuth (left), a freshman elementary education major, and Jennifer Olmedo (right), a freshman athletic training major, discuss low class numbers as they do each other’s makeup. “When we took our class picture, we only made an E instead of EIU,” Hochmuth said.

Meka Al Taqi-Brown, Contributing Writer

As Eastern’s enrollment goes down, the number of empty floors has gone up in the residence halls.

Starting this academic school year, there are five floors closed in Taylor Hall, one floor closed in Thomas Hall, two floors closed in Andrews Hall and one floor closed in Lawson Hall.

Pemberton Hall is the only residence hall in the North Quad that has only half a floor closed.

Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining, said the Housing and Dining Office was aware of lower admissions for this fall semester, and expected most of last year’s students to resume living on campus.

“We knew we were going to have a lower incoming class this year and that was going to affect the number of people that were going to live on campus,” Hudson said. “A lot of the students that came back were returners.”

Hudson said housing and dining keeps records on how many students come to Eastern over the years. Hudson goes into detail about what happens behind closed doors on the empty floors.

“Once the school year started we (were) going back onto those floors and doing painting and repairs,” Hudson said.

The vacant floors are also used as guest rooms for visitors that stay on campus for different events and are used for the summer conference program.

Junior marketing major Rylee Garrett said the empty floors within the halls do not distract her while living in the residence hall.

She said her floor in Taylor Hall is more peaceful than her former school.

“I feel pretty comfortable with it. I just transferred from SIU and they had 17 floors, and it was very loud all night long,” Garrett said. “So having only four floors, I found it to be very quiet and relaxing, more like home.”

Katrina Thompson, a freshman early childhood education major, lives in the South Tower of Thomas Hall and said she is used to all of the floors and rooms being occupied.

Thompson said she likes how the floors are filled, and she has not encountered any problems yet.

“I really like it; it’s really nice. I don’t have any complaints about it. Everyone is super nice and I haven’t had any noise issues or anything.” Thompson said.

Housing and Dining Services is still making efforts to provide a positive experience for students even though there are closed floors.

Hudson said whether there are 20 residents on the floor or 50, the resident assistants will try to provide a college experience for all of their residents.

“Our goal is to make sure residents have an equal experience no matter how many people are around them,” Hudson said. “We want to make sure that there (are) enough people on each floor.”

Meka Al Taqi-Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].