Story by CHRISTOPHER LUY, for The Muleskinner / Photos by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor
Students returning to the residence halls will see many changes in many of the buildings. Overall, the changes are being made to help accommodate and give the students a better place to live.
Enrollment has been going up for the past few years and it is continuing to rise. With the rise in enrollment, there is also a rise in the students living on campus. “We have more students, especially first-year students who will be living on campus so we have to make many changes for them,” said Brandon Kesler, former residence hall director of Houts-Hosey Hall.
Even the residence hall itself will be changing. Where there once was the residence hall Houts-Hosey, one building with one staff, Houts and Hosey will now be separate halls, despite it being connected together as one building.
Houts and Hosey will have the most changes the upcoming school year. “There used to be GPA requirements or you had to be in the Honors College in order to live in Houts or Hosey,” Kesler said. “The Honors College wanted to get more involved with the halls so there’s now a new partnership. Third and fourth floor of Houts will now be the Honors College SHIP with a mix of freshmen and upper-class.”
With this change, the first and second floors of Houts be for traditional upper-class students. As for Hosey, which used to be all freshmen, the first floor will be upper-class, and the other three floors will be freshmen floors.
Staff members also have changes coming their way. With more first-year students are moving in, residence halls will need more community advisors. Originally, each floor in Hosey only had one community advisor because of the size, but now the three freshmen floors will have two community advisors each. Things have changed administratively as well, with Houts and Hosey now having separate residence hall directors.
“Those returning to Houts-Hosey will definitely see the changes,” Kesler said. “But it will be good.”
Houts-Hosey is not the only building receiving changes. Other residence halls across campus will be going through renovations and cosmetic work to provide for the incoming residents.
A change in demographics has also been made. Aside from Yeater Hall, the all female residence hall, all floors will be co-ed and will no longer have any single-gender floors. This is mainly because of the increase in enrollment and to accommodate the incoming residents.
“It’ll be really interesting to see what this year will look like,” community advisor John Plummer said. “There are a lot of changes going on but I think it’s for the best.”
Plummer will be a community advisor in Nattinger Hall for the upcoming year, which has received many cosmetic changes during the summer, including a new front desk, made to look more inviting and reflect the UCM spirit.
Administratively across campus, returning community advisors will see a change as well. Of all the residence hall, there will only be two returning residence hall directors.
“I think it’ll be a bit rough for the new RHDs because they don’t have many returners to turn to for help,” Plummer said. “But it’ll be interesting to see what they bring to the table.”
Kesler added, “I think it will be really good bringing in new blood because you’re bringing in new ideas. The RHDs coming in will be a great mix of people. What I really like about our program is that we get so many new ideas every year because we get graduates from all over the country.”
Returning students will notice the changes being made on the housing side. They may also be around to see changes in the making. The Master Plan, as seen on the University website, features plans to renovate buildings around campus, building a new fraternity complex and even building a new residence hall to accommodate with the rise in enrollment.
“I think the changes are a lot all at once, but I think it’s good.” Kesler said.” Everything is done with the intention to increase our student success rate as well as to increase our efficiency in customer service in responding to students and also to help accommodate the staff. I’m excited to hear about what changes are still to come because I know there are more on the horizon.”