OSL Enacts Changes

By
May 6, 2004

A very important aspect of campus residence halls is the room
draw process which takes place every spring. This year’s was held
on April 4, and left many students with questions about why they
were unable to have the rooms they originally planned for.

“Room draw is a complicated process,” said Mary Kay Chin, a
senior RA currently living in Warren Olney Hall. It’s like going to
the DMV, nobody wants to do it but we all have to.”

This year, picking rooms was a little bit different from years
past due to changes made by the OSL. Lael Sigal was a part of room
draw from start to finish, working along side all of the resident
advisors.

“One of the biggest changes that impacted this year’s draw was
the fact that people were only allowed to pull up one person rather
than two,” said Sigal. This then led too fewer friends being able
to live close together. Pulling up refers to the practice in which
a student of higher class standing can select others to draw with
them.

“We changed this so that we could build more of a community,
integrate students more,” she said. It seemed necessary by many on
campus who believed that students were living in too many
close-knit groups, she said.

Another change made to next year’s housing arrangements included
reducing the number of rooms in the 24-hour quiet wing. There were
36 rooms in the wing this year; there will be only 16 spaces open
for next year. This change was put in place as a response from
decreased student interest in the wing, according to OSL
records.

“I know a lot of people who were dissatisfied about not being
able to be in Orchard Meadow,” said freshwoman Helen Vance.

The reason many residents felt that their top choice rooms were
not available for them was mostly due to the difference in senior
room preferences. The majority of seniors this year chose to live
in Orchard Meadow, rather than in years past when they have
normally chosen to live in the Prospect Hill apartments, according
to OSL records.

“Ten more seniors chose to live on campus this year in
comparison to last year, of whom mostly chose Orchard Meadow
rooms,” said Sigal.

Several other important changes were made to residence halls
that will be put into effect next year. The third floor of Warren
Olney, originally designated as the freshwoman dorm, will be
converted into a Wellness Floor. Sigal worked closely with Moire
Bruin, director of residence and community life, to set up the
program.

The new floor will consist of special programs for residents
focused on mind, body and spiritual wellness. Yoga classes will be
offered to residents along with weekly health talks and other
exercises. Resident assistant Gloria Espinosa will be in charge of
the new idea and will carry out its programs.

“I’m really looking forward to the new floor next year, I have a
lot of good ideas and I can’t wait to see how it works,” said
Espinosa.

Another important change made to the residential life on campus
for next year consists of the creation of a residence hall task
force.

The committee, composed of Bruin, Elisabeth Burwell, vice
president and treasurer; Myrt Whitcomb, vice president of student
life and Shirley Weishaar, dean of students will work toward
preparing Mills for more students in the future, respond to student
concerns surrounding housing, and integrate more students into the
dorms based on what they need and want from on campus housing.

Focus groups and student discussions are currently being
conducted by the committee to begin this process.

“The committee wants to increase the number of students on
campus by increasing their options here,” said Sigal.

OSL is also looking toward the future in making changes to their
residence hall policies. In terms of accommodating more students in
the next few years, Mills is already prepared for a large increase
in student body.

Currently, Mills is at 80-85 percent capacity in the residence
halls, making the school able to accommodate another 20 perccent
before they will have to consider building more housing, according
to OSL statistics. This unfilled 20 percent of housing already
available will allow the school to make way for a possible increase
in student body without having to build any new housing
accommodations in the near future.


OSL Enacts Changes was published on May 6, 2004 in News

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