Next year 13 students in Wilson College will be able to sleep, eat and study without ever stepping foot outside of their dorm building — Wilcox Hall.
The Housing Office recently announced that the third floor of Wilcox will be converted into dormitory rooms for the upcoming academic year, one of several ways to accommodate the larger-than-anticipated Class of 2016. In May, University officials confirmed that the number of students who enrolled in the Class of 2016 was 50 to 65 students more than they had expected.
Over the course of the summer, the University had to find rooms for these extra freshmen in addition to placing the 109 students on the waitlist who had not yet been assigned a room.
The 13 spots on the third floor of Wilcox are part of Housing’s plan to make an additional 51 beds available for students to meet the increased demand for rooms. Housing also plans to use three lounges in Forbes as triples, nine lounges in Whitman as singles and doubles and Whitman’s seminar room and game room as triples. Housing also hopes to add an additional dozen beds by converting the largest singles in Forbes and Whitman into doubles for freshmen.
Manager of Undergraduate Housing Angela Hodgeman said she does not expect these changes to alter the dynamics of student life in the residential colleges.
“There are still plenty of recreational and study spaces in all of the colleges,” she said in an email. “Before converting any activity space to bedrooms, we made sure there were other venues available for that activity.”
Wilson College Director of Student Life Michael Olin explained that, while the art studio on Wilcox’s third floor will be taken “off-line” for a year and that the yoga studio will be relocated to the second floor of the building, Wilson will continue to make improvements to its remaining social spaces, including the Julian Street Library, ceramics studio, dance studio and Blackbox Theater.
Meanwhile, Rockefeller, Mathey and Butler colleges will not undergo any housing changes. Dean of Mathey College Steven Lestition said Mathey is not capable of creating additional dorm rooms.
“We don’t have those kinds of spaces where we can say, ‘Ah, those could be converted into dorm rooms,’ ” Lestition said.
Rockefeller College Director of Student Life Amy Johnson said the college previously upgraded several rooms a few years ago to accommodate extra students and now can no longer take on any more.
“Those changes have been factored into our current housing plan,” she said in an email. “Therefore, we have already made changes to maximize our capacity in Rocky.”
Hodgeman said it was most logical to create additional living spaces in Whitman and Forbes because these colleges housed the smallest number of freshmen. She also noted that using the third floor of Wilcox was an “obvious choice” since those rooms were once dorms several years ago.
While the rooms in Wilcox will be assigned to a dozen freshmen and one residential college adviser, the other additional beds in Whitman and Forbes are intended both for freshmen and for sophomores on the housing wait list. The new suites in Whitman might also be used as gender-neutral housing in the future, according to Dean of Whitman College Rebecca Graves-Bayazitoglu.
Housing Services hopes to have room assignments for all students on the housing wait list by Aug. 10 at the latest. Hodgeman said that Housing Services will continue to use the same protocol for the wait list as has been used in the past.
At the same time, in an email sent out last week to students currently on the wait list, Hodgeman said, “Housing is EXTREMELY tight this year — more so than any other year.”
In the email, Hodgeman strongly encouraged students to fill vacancies in peers’ suites.
“We will be using every single bed on campus this next year, so the opportunity is there for you to make your own choice to live with someone you may know rather than have us place you,” she said.
Kandasi Griffiths ’14, who received the last upperclass housing draw time, said that Hodgeman’s email initially “made me a little worried.”
“But there is the disclaimer about guaranteed housing,” Griffiths said. “So I then put things into perspective.”
Griffiths hopes she will be able to room with the group she drew with, but she said this “possibility gets smaller as the summer goes on.”
“At this point we don’t really have a choice,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll get a room in a location I like.”
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/07/05/31038/