Students returning this year found that the reserved space for freshwomen in Orchard Meadow Hall had expanded from just one wing on the lower level to the entire first floor and part of the second.
Director of Residential and Commuting Life Moire Bruin said the number of freshwomen living in OM is not a result of “spillover” or “overflow,” but part of a planned living/learning community. The first floor of OM is devoted to a community known as Leadership and Social Justice, which is open to both freshwomen and continuing students. “So it was a natural decision to place it in OM,” Bruin said.
Some upperclasswomen, however, are disappointed.
“OM used to be something you worked toward,” said senior Amanda Glasser, who lives in OM. “Now it’s like you can live in OM, all you have to do is go back and be a freshman.” She added that OM used to be a “chill environment” where seniors could concentrate on graduating, and presence of freshwomen has changed that.
“Freshwomen are loud,” observed junior Rachel Gordezky, who lives in OM. “They don’t know all the rules yet, it’s their first time away from home-they’re excited. I was like that.”
Not all continuing students are resentful of freshwoman presence in OM.
Senior Grace Campbell said she was a little put off at first, but now has no problems with the freshwomen. “They’re not diseases,” she said. “They’re human. They’re the same as we were [when we were freshwomen].”
Most of the freshwomen enjoy living in OM, though they had no idea that they would be entering a mixed-class dorm. Those who have little to no interaction with continuing students, like freshwoman Shelby Phillips, on other floors are ambivalent about the influence it has on their lives. “I don’t see why it matters,” she said.
Freshwoman Claudia Burgarin, however, interacts with continuing students on a regular basis and says she sought advice on classes and found their experience helpful. “But, if I were living in Olney, there would’ve been someone else working on chemistry tonight,” she said.
Freshwoman Paige Gardener agrees. “Olney’s where it’s at,” she said.
Warren Olney Hall, a dorm adjoining OM, has been the freshwoman dorm for the past several years. The majority of the freshwomen still live there, and the rest live on the first and second floors of OM.
“It’s cool to have all the frosh together in one place,” said Gardner, “’cause you can make friends and everyone’s the same.” She added that it’s difficult to visit her friends in Warren Olney because she does not have the keys to the building.
“There’s more interaction in Olney,” said freshwoman Michaela Mitchell, who lives in OM. “But it’s cool to mix people up, maybe have more frosh, but more upperclassmen, too.”
Kate Peck, a residential assistant on the second floor of OM, has 19 freshwomen and 19 continuing students in her wing. She says it can be strange, but also beneficial as the freshwomen have role models to emulate instead of being surrounded only by their peers. In fact, she has taken advantage of the situation to “buddy up” her residents, pairing one continuing student with one freshwoman. She thinks it’s good for freshwomen to become more integrated, but also believes that an all-freshwoman environment makes it easier to make friends.
“Everyone is new, everyone has the same problems,” Peck said, “and there are no previous cliques.”
“I think it can be good not just for frosh, but for upperclassmen, too,” said Stacia Mills, a senior living in OM. “Older students who’ve been here a while can get tired. The freshwomen can lift morale,” she said.