New students bedding down in a south lodge

New students bedding down in a south lodge

Peijia Zhang

Freshmen a south lodge (from left to right:) Bryan Reyes, Jonathan Randolph, Amanda Lenor, Brandon Naveiro and Salmon Jadeed watching TV.

Eden Cohen, Managing Editor

Slightly fewer than 20 freshmen are enjoying higher quality housing this year, compared with their classmates’.

A total of 633 freshmen requested campus housing this semester, according to Housing Director Mark Dougherty. This is 17 percent jump from last year’s 541 freshmen.

When housing staff members filled the freshman dormitory occupancies, they looked to housing options traditionally reserved for upperclassmen.

“It did require us to think a little creatively about how we would house first-year students,” Dougherty said.

Housing staff members decided to place the freshmen overflow into Buckhorn Lodge, near the campus police station.

Buckhorn resident Amanda Polk said she likes living there. She said the rooms are bigger and nicer, and it is close to the gym. She also said living in Buckhorn is fun, and that the 18 freshmen living there have grown close.

She said that they collectively asked to stay in Buckhorn for the remainder of the year, and were approved.

“We were in the process of moving out,” she said. “A bunch of us emailed (Student Affairs Vice President Shawn) Brooks asking to stay.”

Now, South Lodges’ resident housing staff will be in charge of overseeing different students than they bargained for.

South Lodges’ resident director Becky Shaw said she was apprehensive at first, since freshmen usually need more attention. But she has come to like having freshmen under her care.

“It’s actually been a blessing in disguise,” she said. “This opportunity will give me insight of how both types of students interact and live.”

South Lodge resident assistant Jessica Taylor agrees.

“We are able to enjoy the joys of having both upper[classmen] and [underclassmen], which no other residence halls have the privilege to experience,” she said.

As for freshmen living in the traditional freshman dormitories, they are enjoying the company. Hemlock Hall resident Katie Wilson said having so many freshmen is a benefit.

“There’s more people to get to know and connect with,” she said.

As to how many freshmen there are to connect with, Admissions Director Therese Grimes said more than 950 new students enrolled for this year compared to more than 850 last year.

“2014 to 2015 is the second largest class in 10 years,” she said.

Grimes suggests new programs, recruiting approaches and a marketing campaign could be the cause.

A justice administration program and special education certificate were offered this year, Grimes said. A new marketing campaign launched in Fall 2013 likely also contributed.

As far as recruiting, Grimes said they targeted students who did not visit campus, and traveled to more high schools and college fairs. They also increased communication with potential students by using several platforms, such as social media.

Whatever the reason they enrolled, freshmen can look forward to memorable times.